UA Hosting Workshop on Sustainable Fuels

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Ten nationally-recognized experts in energy will speak as part of a workshop on sustainable fuels at The University of Alabama.

“The purpose of this workshop is both to enlighten students and encourage collaboration in the energy area,” said Dr. Ajay Agrawal, the Robert F. Barfield Endowed Chair and professor of mechanical engineering at UA and workshop organizer. “We want to bring top researchers to the University to both learn from them and display our advanced research capabilities and facilities.”

The day-long technical workshop, “Sustainable Fuels: Production and Combustion,” will be July 29 and is sponsored by the UA College of Engineering, its department of mechanical engineering and the Institute for Sustainable Energy. The workshop will focus on research on production, processing and combustion of biofuels and opportunity fuels.

The workshop begins at 8 a.m. in room 1013 in the South Engineering Research Center on the UA campus. Seminars are suitable for a wide audience with some technical background. They include:

  • Robert Wagner with the Fuels, Engines and Emissions Research Center at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Knoxville, Tennessee, speaking about next generation combustion engines and future fuel opportunities.
  • Chad Hewitt, with Fuel Services at Southern Company Generation in Birmingham, on 21st Century energy sources.
  • Steven E. Taylor, professor and head of the department of biosystems engineering at Auburn University, speaking about challenges in deploying a biofuel industry in the southern United States.
  • Ranjan S. Mehta, with CFD Research Corp. in Huntsville, on development of sustainable fuels and efficient combustion technologies through experiments, modeling and simulations.
  • Charles E. Baukal, with the John Zink Hamworthy Co. in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on industrial combustion applications with different fuels.
  • Gerhard Knothe, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture out of Peoria, Illinois, speaking on biodiesel’s fuel properties, design and as a source of designer fuel.
  • Richard L. Axelbaum, director of the Consortium for Clean Coal Utilization at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, on staged, pressurized oxy combustion for cost-effective carbon capture.
  • John Socha, a project manager at the National Carbon Capture Center in Wilsonville, on the work done at the center.
  • Scott Curran, with the Fuels, Engines and Emissions Research Center at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, speaking about a well-to-wheel analysis of direct and indirect use of natural gas in passenger vehicles.
  • John Nowakowski, with Fives North American Combustion in Cleveland, Ohio, on practical challenges for the industrial burner industry.

After the speakers conclude, there is an optional tour and demonstrations of the Engines and Combustion Laboratory, a premier facility in the South Engineering Research Center with nearly 11,000-square feet of high-bay space.

The Institute for Sustainable Energy at UA is a group focused to promote energy research on UA’s campus. The institute is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Researchers in ISE conduct innovative science and technology research to utilize the complex mix of conventional, alternate and opportunity fuels in an energy efficient and environmentally sound manner.

For more information, visit the workshop’s website at

In 1837, The University of Alabama became one of the first five universities in the nation to offer engineering classes. Today, UA’s fully accredited College of Engineering has more than 4,500 students and more than 120 faculty. In the last eight years, students in the College have been named Goldwater, Hollings, Portz, Mitchell and Truman scholars.


Adam Jones, engineering public relations, 205/348-6444,


Dr. Ajay Agrawal, 205/348-4964,