James C. Liao, UCLA's Ralph M. Parsons Foundation Professor and chair of the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, has been named co-winner of the 2013 Eni Prize for renewable energy research.
The honor, to be presented at the presidential Palace in Rome on June 27, is given by the Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in Milan. Liao shares the 2013 renewable energy award with Frances Arnold, a professor of chemical engineering at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. The foundation awarded separate prizes to five other researchers.
Liao was recognized for his work in synthesizing isobutanol and other higher alcohols as biofuels. Liao also has developed a way to turn electricity into liquid fuel. His breakthroughs have potential for use in numerous industrial and energy applications.