Dr. Simon Ng honored by governor for green chemistry innovation

Dr. Simon Ng receives the Governor's Award from Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.

Three Michigan leaders in green chemistry innovation earned the Governor's Award at the DEQ's annual Greenup conference in Ann Arbor on Oct. 27, including Wayne State's own Simon Ng, Ph.D., P.E., associate dean for research and graduate studies in the College of Engineering.

The Governor's Award recognizes advances that incorporate the principles of green chemistry into chemical design, manufacture, or use, or that acknowledge the design of safer and more sustainable chemicals, processes, and products.

Ng was honored in the academic category for his work on heterogeneous metal oxide catalysts for biodiesel production. He and his colleagues have developed these novel catalysts that enable the economical production of biodiesel from cost-effective raw materials - such as waste vegetable oil, animal fats and residual corn oil - while eliminating costly and unnecessary waste production and disposal. This technology offers a unique process solution for an industry that has been mostly idled in the United States since 2008, when rising feedstock prices rendered the production of biodiesel uneconomical. With a cost savings of at least $1 per gallon versus the traditional biodiesel production process, Ng's solution greatly changes the economics of a biodiesel plant.

This technology is being commercialized by a Michigan-based startup company, NextCAT, formed by Dr. Ng and colleagues, and promises to make biodiesel production a profitable commercial enterprise in Michigan and around the world.