Feature: Chemical Engineering
Perfecting the process of making biofuels is not enough. We need machines that can efficiently burn them. Researchers in McGill’s Alternative Fuels Lab are figuring out what the next incarnation of the combustion engine will look like in the age of biofuels.
By Sylviane Duval
The Macdonald Engineering Building infamously burned to the ground in 1907. But now, over a century later, nobody minds that Jeffrey Bergthorson and his team like to play with fire in the safe confines of their newly renovated lab on the building’s first floor. The researchers carefully blend the right mix of fuel and air to create small, flat flames about three centimetres in diameter. Then they use laser diagnostics to probe the combustion chemistry of different fuels. These flames are the Number One apparatus of the Alternative Fuels Lab...
This story first appeared in the winter 2012 issue of McGill University’s Headway magazine.
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