Dr. Eddie Luzik

"Biofuels from Common Local Diffuse Source Seed Crops: Biodiesel from Acorns"
Tuesday, October 7, 2008 at 3:00 p.m. in the Marvin K. Peterson Library


Common wisdom is that Connecticut, being a small and populous state, cannot be a source material producer for renewable transport fuels without serious alteration of the landscape. In this presentation the chemistry, agricultural and intellectual opportunities for benignly generating biofuel in Connecticut will be discussed through our experiments with unrecognized campus seed crops.

An overview of the current renewable fuels used for transportation highlights the difficulties for sourcing them in Connecticut. The issues discussed are also of concern on a global scale and support agricultural diversification of source crops; multiple fuel-sources and fuel-use platforms can reduce risk as well as environmental impact. A pictorial description of our model study into making biodiesel from acorns at University of New Haven highlights the chemistry processes involved in going from seeds to fuel.

A New England Puritan approach to supplying a portion of modern energy needs is using existing landscaping waste to produce a high value commodity: biodiesel. A conclusion is formed that a wide fuel portfolio opens production opportunities for Connecticut as well as the potential to engineer clean efficient engines that use the new fuels.

Biographical Information

B.S. in Science – Pennsylvania State University, University Park

Ph.D. in Physical Organic Chemistry – Bryn Mawr College

Dr. Luzik joined the University of New Haven in January 2000. He specializes in teaching Organic Chemistry lecture and laboratory and Synthetic Chemistry. He has also taught Environmental Chemistry, CH600, and General Chemistry CH115&117 Lab. He is the contact person for operating and maintaining much of the departments' instrumentation including the GCs, HPLCs, GC/MS, UV/vis, and XRD. Prior to teaching at University of New Haven, he taught General and Environmental Chemistry courses at Haverford College, near Philadelphia, and Introductory Chemistry at Harrisburg Area Community College in Lebanon Pennsylvania. He also has worked in industry, quantitating organic substances in environmental samples using instrumental methods, an experience that contributes to his courses and research.

Dr. Luzik's research interests include studies of: the properties and the synthesis of substituted polycyclic aromatic molecules, fluorinated molecules, and green process chemistry. Extensive use of gas chromatography, mass spectroscopy, and ultra violet / visible spectroscopy instrumentation facilitates this work. Current research work is targeted at Green Chemistry and Organic Synthesis: experiments performed by undergraduate students in the laboratories at University of New Haven are evaluating ozone friendly chemicals for replacement of chlorinated solvents used in chemical processes, screening catalysts for new reaction development, and building new chiral templates. Other projects include synthesis of polycyclic and olefinic aromatic molecules which often have useful optical properties; also, semi-organics' synthesis for similar material-science properties and applications research. A selection of molecules from his portfolio of prior syntheses are depicted in the figure below.

Applications driven studies of diffuse-sourced Biofuels have recently attracted much attention to his research group. Work on Bio-diesel production and evaluation is also progressing toward incorporating an educational component into the Organic Laboratory curriculum. With University of New Haven students he is pursuing development of new, modernized, low environmental impact and inherently safer educational laboratory experiments. The target is to allow University of New Haven undergraduates to fully utilize the department's renovated facilities and new instrumentation for a high quality educational experience.

Dr. Luzik has helped design the recently renovated laboratory spaces at University of New Haven, with the new Organic Lab providing a state of the art facility with each student work space outfitted comparably to a pharmaceutical or custom synthesis occupational scenario. He is also working to bring more extensive use of the department's Instrumentation into all of the chemistry lab curricula, and to teach Quality Assessment and Good Laboratory Practices methodology for University of New Haven students to be best prepared for their scientific careers.

Personal interests include: mineralogy, art, figure skating, construction skills, and Chrysler vehicles. He is a member of the American Chemical Society: Division of Organic Chemistry and Division of Fluorine Chemistry, Sigma Xi - The Research Society, the United States Figure Skating Association, and the New Haven Mineral Club.


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