Hydrocarbon Chemistry
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Research areas

Improved fuels and processes

Acid catalyzed conversion of hydrocarbons, such as cracking, isomerization, alkylation, oligo- and polycondensation, etc. are of substantial significance. Their fundamental chemistry is systematically studied at the Institute using methods developed in connection with studies of carbocations and their reactions.

Novel environmentally benign systems have been developed to overcome difficulties connected with toxic acids such as hydrofl uoric
or sulfuric acid. Isomerization and alkylation of saturated hydrocarbons to provide high octane gasoline are of particularly great importance in the petroleum industry.

The Loker Institute has developed an environmentally friendly and practical alkylation process for the manufacture of high octane
gasoline. In addition, new ways of hydrocracking coal, shale oil, tar sands and other heavy petroleum sources and residues, which cannot be handled by conventional means, are being pursued via superacidic catalysts. Work is also carried out on improving diesel fuels, making them cleaner burning with high cetane ratings and without the use of toxic additives.

(c) 2014 Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute, USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences