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Sources: Mary Rezac, 785-532-4317,;
and James Edgar, 785-532-5584,
Pronouncer: Rezac is REE-ZACK.
News release prepared by: Tyler Sharp, 785-532-2535,

Monday, Sept. 27, 2010


MANHATTAN -- A trio of Kansas State University chemical engineering professors have been awarded a grant for renovating research facilities.

Mary Rezac, ConcoPhillips professor of sustainable energy and professor of chemical engineering at K-State; James Edgar, department head and professor of chemical engineering; and Peter Pfromm, professor of chemical engineering were awarded the grant from the National Science Foundation. The $1,598,997 grant is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

According to Rezac, radical changes will be made to existing chemical engineering laboratories on the second floor of Durland Hall. She says the changes will involve destroying about half of the laboratories and rebuilding them to current standards.

"They'll be bigger, they'll be safer, they'll be better lit and be better equipped than what we have right now," she said. "These changes will allow students to work more collaboratively."

Current laboratory space allows for one or two researchers to collaborate on research projects. The department of chemical engineering is conducting an increasing amount of research spanning multiple departments, Rezac said. Such research will be aided by the new laboratory designs, which allow for 10 to 15 researchers to collaborate on projects. The laboratories will conduct alternative energy research, Rezac said.

"We are excited about providing them access to each other and access to common equipment they can share and leverage more effectively," she said.

Edgar says the renovations will provide an excellent showcase for K-State's world-class research.

"This renovation will create a modern, sophisticated and versatile laboratory," he said. "With these changes we will be able to do new energy research more safely than was previously possible."

The work is expected to begin after finals in May 2011 and to be completed by the end of 2011, Rezac said.