May 31, 2006

Joining Hexane; Erudition # 2

Chemists have found a way to reuse "leftover" small carbon chains from the processing of hydrocarbon fuels like diesel and ethanol from corn or sugar cane.

A series of catalyzed reactions can reconstitute hexane
into usuable hydrocarbon fuel

Diesel in particular is a mix of nine to twenty-carbon chains (linear carbon chains are commonly refered to as alkanes), and during the processing of the fuel, a number of small chains (six-carbon hexane or four-carbon butane) can turn up, unable to be further processed.

But the recent find has found ways to take two hexane molecules and join them in a series of relatively simple catalyzed reactions, creating a ten-carbon alkane (decane) and a and two-carbon alkane (ethane), both of which can be used as fuel; decane in diesel, and ethane for home heating.


  1. Hey JBruno,
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