U of S engineer top NSERC grant recipient

U of S Chemical Engineering Professor Ajay Dalai is one of two researchers at a Canadian university with the highest level of research funding from the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC).

By Kris Foster
Dalai, along with McGill plant biologist Donald Smith, each received $2.9 million in NSERC funding between 2006 and 2010. Both were recipients of two new NSERC grants per year during that time.

Dalai's research has made significant contributions to the development of catalysts for biodiesel production, and hydroprocessing of gas oils and gas-to-liquid technologies.

"The impact of the research is tremendous in terms of combating pollution and finding alternate energy resources," Dr. Dalai says. "The ultimate goal is to pilot test new products/processes and eventually commercialize them, but innovative research is needed in the laboratory before that can happen."

In June 2011 Dalai was awarded $525,000 from NSERC to develop a method to produce biodiesel from low cost raw materials such as soya, green seed canola and mustard, and develop catalysts for glycerol. This byproduct from the biodiesel production process has a wide range of uses in medicine, food, and industry. Dalai's process produces higher quality biodiesel at a lower cost and with reduced water usage compared to existing methods.

Dalai is the Canada Research Chair in Environmentally Friendly Chemical Processing. He earned his PhD in Engineering at the U of S, has presented his work at conferences around the world, and collaborated with internationally renowned colleagues in the fields of bioengineering in the United States, India, Japan, China and Germany.

For more information on Ajay Dalai, visit his Canada Research Chair profile at
Research Communications .