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August 27, 2007
Volume 85, Number 35
p. 13

BASF, Dow Philanthropy

World's two largest chemical companies donate money and property to two universities

Michael McCoy

The world's two largest chemical companies, BASF and Dow Chemical, are supporting research at two universities with donations of money and property.

BASF has made a three-year, $600,000 commitment to the earth and environmental engineering department of Columbia University's School of Engineering & Applied Science. The money will fund graduate and postdoctoral studies in environmentally benign technologies using heterogeneous catalysts.

"The program is directed toward 'green/sustainable' technology and pollution abatement issues that are of great importance to the world, to Columbia, and to BASF," says Robert Farrauto, a research fellow at BASF Catalyst Research in Iselin, N.J. Farrauto is also an adjunct professor in the earth and environmental engineering department.

According to BASF, the program will offer four Columbia students the opportunity to take basic research concepts into a production environment at BASF. Potential research topics include catalytic reforming of biofuels to hydrogen, conversion of greenhouse gases to useful chemicals and fuels, and catalytic issues related to pollution abatement from diesel combustion engines.

Dow's Union Carbide subsidiary, meanwhile, is donating 58 acres of property in South Charleston, W.Va., to West Virginia University, which will use the site to establish a research campus focused on energy and chemical technology. The agreement includes a 125,000-sq-ft building currently being used as a multitenant R&D incubator.

Downsizing by Dow in West Virginia's Kanawha Valley in recent years has freed up lab and office space that will now be going to good use, notes Dow site leader Allan Fowler. The firm employs about 800 people in the area, down from 2,500 in 2001, he says. Nearly 300 of the remaining employees work in R&D.

Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
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