Lynn chemistry professor publishes blended gasoline research

The use of butanol blended gasoline will result in better gas mileage and reduce overall fuel emissions, says Ahmed

Published Sep. 27, 2010

Khalique Ahmed, a professor of chemistry and physics in Lynn University’s College of Liberal Education, recently discovered that his blended gasoline research was accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed international journal of the Petroleum Science and Technology.

His paper, titled “Application of Near Infrared Spectroscopy to the Quality Assurance of Ethanol and Butanol Blended Gasoline,” suggests that the use of butanol blended gasoline will result in better gas mileage and reduce overall fuel emissions than ethanol blended gasoline.

Ahmed“BP is already trying butanol blended gasoline in Britain’s gas stations as a pilot project,” said Ahmed. “Although BP and the other big energy giants like Du Pont are working on this project, their focus is different than mine. They are interested in improving the production process, whereas I am interested in the properties of the fuel and in the quality assurance aspects.”

Ahmed’s rational for substituting ethanol with butanol is related to butanol’s chemical properties.

“Butanol has about 25 percent more per gallon energy content than ethanol,” said Ahmed. “It has higher solubility, lower corrosivity and higher caloric value. Because of the higher caloric value of butanol, the butanol blended gasoline will produce higher gas mileage compared with ethanol blended gasoline, and it will reduce the overall fuel emissions because of the lower fuel consumption.”

According to Ahmed, the butanol blended gasoline can be used in automobiles without any modification to their engines.

“The blend could lower fuel costs, lesser our dependence of fossil oil and lead to better sustainability,” said Ahmed. “I’m always looking to discover new ways of energy sustainability. I think it’s an economic and ethical issue.”

Ahmed completed his research on blended gasoline this summer, with help from Jacob Levenson, a student volunteer from Weinbaum Yeshiva High School in Boca Raton.

“I bought the gasoline samples from local gas stations and ordered butanol from a chemical company,” said Ahmed. “We made our own mixtures.”

When asked how the high school student got involved with the project, Ahmed said, “Jacob inquired about a summer internship opportunity. Based upon my interview and the reference letters I received from his teachers, I found Jacob to have the research aptitude and motivation.”

More on Ahmed:

Ahmed, a professor of science, teaches chemistry and physics in Lynn University’s College of Liberal Education. He has more than 20 years combined teaching, research and administrative experience – ten of which have been at Lynn. His research is focused on the application of infrared and near-infrared photonics  to the understanding of the basic and applied problems. In this role, Ahmed can speak to the media about problems in the areas of application of photonics to disease detection and monitoring, food science, and analytical methods development, among others. Most recently, Ahmed was interviewed on WPBF about chemicals in makeup.