Ethan Edwards ’21, a current undergraduate student studying civil engineering with an environmental focus, presented his research at the 2019 Purdue Undergraduate Research Conference. Throughout the previous year, Edwards has worked to discover how to catalyze change in the energy field.

“Catalysts are used in around 90% of chemical processes on a daily basis,” says Edwards. “My research is focused on creating a viable catalyst that can take excess ethane and propane from shale gas and transform them into usable transportation fuels.”

Edwards chose to pursue alternative energy research because he is interested in understanding how engineers can continue to sustainably support a growing population. Through conducting his research, Edwards has been able to confirm his interest in attending graduate school, as well as sharpen his writing skills.

He completed his research with the guidance of Dr. Jeffrey Miller, a professor of chemical engineering, and Nicole LiBretto, a current graduate student. Their work contributed to the Center for Innovative and Strategic Transformation of Alkane Resources program here at Purdue.

“While starting undergraduate research was initially intimidating, sticking with it and understanding the concepts has given me the confidence to pursue future challenging projects. Undergraduate research also allows you to gain a deeper understanding of concepts that may only be briefly discussed in class.”

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