Chevron, Lawrence Livermore seek alt. fuels

January 21, 2009 12:59:53 PM PST
Chevron Corp. and the U. S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have entered into a research agreement to explore the possibility of developing cleaner and more efficient fuels from crude oil.

The partnership aims to innovate fuel technology by applying the atomic methodologies of the national security lab to catalysts commonly used in petroleum purification processes by the San Ramon-based oil firm.

"Atomic Force Microscopy studies in fluid environments can provide unprecedented resolution of catalytic processes," said laboratory senior scientist Chris Orme in a prepared statement. "This is an area where we have a lot of experience and we can help the industry create a better and cleaner fuel."

While acknowledging a commitment to developing alternative carbon-free fuels in the long term, lab officials maintain that the U.S. transportation system and even national security will likely rely on petroleum fuels for decades.

"Energy security is an important mission for the lab," said Doug Rotman, program director for the laboratory's Energy and Environmental Security in the Global Security Directorate. "In the near term, we are actively engaged in developing cleaner and more efficient fuels and transportation systems using conventional fossil fuels."