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ASU Chemistry Prof Wins Grant

June 10, 2013

Dr. Christopher E. Hobbs, an assistant professor in Angelo State University’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, has been awarded a $50,000 grant by the American Chemical Society (ACS) to fund his research project on aspects of petroleum processing.

Awarded through the ACS’s Petroleum Research Fund, the grant will fund Hobbs’ two-year project titled “The Use of Terminally Functionalized, Atactic-Polypropylene Oligomers as Supports for Homogeneous Catalysts.” The purpose of the project is to develop new reagents that can be recycled to reduce the generation of toxic waste in processing petroleum and related products.

“Basically, what my research would do is to help solve a fundamental problem in chemistry,” Hobbs said, “that is, the reduction of wasteful byproducts that arise in many processes. Most catalysts, or entities that speed up chemical reactions, are based off of metal atoms that are often toxic and environmentally detrimental, not to mention very expensive. Our work would involve the development of methods that allow for such catalysts to be recovered and reused by attaching them to a polymer, or long chain of carbon atoms.”

“The potential findings of this work,” he added, “would be new methods that can be used in academic and industrial labs to reuse catalysts to reduce generated waste, as well as costs.”

Forty percent of the grant is earmarked to support the involvement of ASU undergraduate students in the research project.

“I will have students working with me in the lab,” Hobbs said. “They will receive training in research as well as writing. They will learn how to develop and test hypotheses, carry out their own experiments, and determine their own results and conclusions.”

A member of the ASU chemistry faculty since 2011, Hobbs earned his bachelor’s degree from ASU in 2006 and his doctorate from Texas A&M University in 2011.

With more than 163,000 members in 187 chapters throughout the U.S. and more than 24,000 members in over 100 other countries, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and one of the world’s leading sources of authoritative scientific information.  ACS is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio. Its website is at

For more information, contact Hobbs at 325-486-6627 or