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Washington State University

WSU to lead national AI research institute for agriculture

July 29, 2021 | WSU Insider

WSU to lead national AI research institute for agriculture

With a new $20 million federal grant, Washington State University will lead a multi-institutional research institute to develop artificial intelligence (AI) solutions to tackle some of agriculture’s biggest challenges related to labor, water, weather and climate change.

The new institute is one of 11 launched by the National Science Foundation and among two funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture-National Institute of Food and Agriculture in 2021. It’s called the AgAID Institute, which is short for USDA-NIFA Institute for Agricultural AI for Transforming Workforce and Decision Support.

WSU Insider

Members of Biological Systems Engineering who are involved in this work include:
Claudio Stockle
Qin Zhang
Lav Khot
Manoj Karkee
R. Troy Peters
Kirti Rajagopalan
Sindhuja Sankaran

Tao Dong and NREL Scientists In Golden, CO develop Non-Toxic Polyurethane

September 29, 2020  | CBS News, Denver, CO

Scientists at the National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden have invented a new polyurethane that originates from algae, waste grease, or natural oils. The “greener” polyurethane eliminates health-damaging toxins inherent with the current petroleum-based polyurethane. Polyurethane is a type of plastic developed in the 1950s. Its uses range from wood finishes, adhesives, sprayable foams and synthetic clothing fibers.

Former BSE/WSU graduate student, Dr. Tao Dong, an alumnus of the Shulin Chen lab, is working on the bio-based, nontoxic polyurethane resin, together with former intern Stephanie Federle. This is a promising alternative to conventional polyurethane. Tao states that the lab has demonstrated that the chemistry is tunable. He also says that now the lab can control the final performance through their unique approach.

Phil Pienkos, a former chemist from NREL, adds that traditional methods of producing polyurethane rely upon toxic chemicals and non-renewable petroleum. The goal of the lab was to develop a new plastic with all the useful properties of conventional polyurethane but lacking the costly environmental effects.

Chen states that Tao has been collaborating with his lab here at WSU’s Biological Systems Engineering. This year, he and Tao worked together to develop a major proposal for the DOE. Tao has also indicated a willingness to offer internship opportunities at NREL for BSE students.

Source: Local CBS News in Denver, CO.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Satellites show promise as tool for monitoring crop development

November 18, 2019  |   WSU Insider

While drones equipped with high-resolution cameras are well suited for observing plant development from far above, satellites could be the next leap ahead for farmers seeking to monitor their crops over large or scattered plots.

Sindhuja Sankaran, an associate professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering, and her team arrived at these conclusions as a part of their paper published in Computers and Electronics in Agriculture last month.

“When breeders have multiple location trials scattered across a large area to study the genotype-environment interactions, they need to go to each plot, take measurements, and record them in order to conduct phenotyping trials,” Sankaran said. “Most of their time is spent traveling, rather than collecting data. We felt that if it was possible to use high-resolution satellite imagery to make these observations, data could be captured in a much more efficient way.” continue reading the article…

 

Read the Article : Satellites show promise as tool for monitoring crop development.  WSU Insider

 

 

 

 

 

My Journey after graduation from WSU – FEC club presentation

November 7, 2019  | FEC Club

Former BSE/WSU graduate student, Dr. Sumeet Dhawan, visited the FEC club on November 7th, 2019 to give a seminar describing his experience working in a major Food Processing company after leaving WSU. Dr. Dhawan is a former graduate student of Dr. Shyam Sablani’s laboratory, in the Food Engineering section of BSE.

Dr. Sumeet Dhawan serves as a Scientist in Cooking Technologies for Nestlé Development Center based in Solon, Ohio. He also did a short assignment (6 months) with the company in their Silicon Valley Innovation Outpost based in San Francisco, CA to learn Design Thinking Methodologies and collaborating with Start-up’s across various Nestlé Business.  Sumeet serves as the Chair for the Lake Erie Institute of Food Technologist (IFT) chapter. He received his PhD in Food Engineering from Washington State University in 2013; and Bachelor in Biotechnology from PSG College of Technology, India.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let us bring demand into the equation

July 13, 2019  |   WSU Insider

Let us bring demand into the equationUntil recently, a climate-change induced shift in water supply was the story of the Columbia River Basin’s future. But as researchers continue to fine tune climate models, shifting demand for water now must be accounted for, say Washington State University scientists.

Because the region depends on snowpack accumulation in winter to supply spring and summer irrigation water, the climate warming-induced shift in precipitation type had researchers and resource managers worried. If there’s more rain and less snow, how will there be enough melt water to feed the irrigation system through the warm times of the year?

Supply and demand are accounted for in a recent paper by WSU assistant research professor Kirti Rajagopalan and colleagues.

 

 

Read the Article : Demand factored into Columbia River Basin’s future.  WSU Insider

 

 

 

 

 

Satellites and Drones Search for Better Wheat Varieties to Feed the World

May 29, 2019  |   WSU Insider

WSU researchers are using satellites and drones to search for better wheat varieties to feed a growing world. The team launched a new project this spring, developing techniques that allow satellites and drones to identify and study wheat varieties from overhead. This research is funded by a USDA-NIFA grant.

The team looks to speed up research toward identifying better, more productive wheat varieties.  If successful it will give growers powerful new tools to improve farming. Wheat currently feeds more than 1/3rd of the human population and is grown on more acres than any other crop. To meet the growing worldwide demand and stay ahead of pests, pathogens and a changing environment, wheat breeders strive to develop improved varieties. Phenotyping (measuring the way plant genes are expressed physically) allows selection of the best plants to breed for improved yield, grain quality and disease resistance. Machines can sense crop traits faster. With modern satellite imagery matched together with drones, visual and infrared imagery can be collected from wheat plots. Drone cameras can collect data with the hope that this matching process will enable identification of wheat varieties from orbit.

Part of the project’s challenge is to learn whether wheat varieties and their physical characteristics can be differentiated by their spectral data. “Sensors are getting better every day,” said team member Sindhuja Sankaran, an associate professor and sensor technology researcher at WSU’s Department of Biological Systems Engineering. “As resolution increases and camera costs drop, we have more powerful tools to sense how crops are performing.” Improved sensors will help to speed up the selection of new varieties, as well as help predict yields, monitor crop performance and protect plants from drought.

Read the Article : Images from space could help farmers grow better wheat varieties. WSU Insider

 

 

 

 

 

Artificial intelligence and precision farming: does efficiency mean sustainability?

May 28, 2019  |   filling-space.com

  • How does artificial intelligence-powered precision farming affect food sustainability?

This is a question that Filling Space.com asked their panel of experts, including Sindhuja Sankaran, an Agricultural Automation Engineering specialist from Washington State University’s Biological Systems Engineering Department.

Sankaran says, “For us, artificial intelligence serves as a key tool that assists in the application of sensor technology for phenotyping applications. Given the natural variability in plants, the thousands of crop varieties evaluated, and advancements in sensor technology (e.g. hyperspectral imaging system), it is impossible to identify patterns and evaluate plant traits without the application of artificial intelligence techniques… we use these methods to contribute to machine-guided informed selection of varieties, thus contributing to sustainability.”

Read the Article : Artificial intelligence and precision farming: does efficiency mean sustainability?, 2019, Filling-space.com

 

 

 

 

 

2019 PSIFT Student Achievement Awards

May 7, 2019  |  Seattle, WA

2019 Student Achievement Awards for the Puget Sound Section of the Institute of Food Technologists (PSIFT).

Awards were presented to BSE graduate students at the annual meeting for the Puget Sound IFT on May 7, 2009 at Elliot Bay Public House and Brewery (Seattle, WA).

Awards were given in 3 categories: Scholastic Achievement Award, Outstanding Student Award, and Travel Award.
PSIFT was able to give out over $14,000 in awards this year!

The annual meeting also featured presentations from Christie Tarantino-Dean, IFT CEO and Luke Stedman of Callison’s. Christie gave an update from National IFT, and Luke led the group through the process of creating great flavors.

A list of Award recipients is below:

Scholastic Achievement Award
Ga Young Shin – Masters in Biological Systems Engineering
Yuqiao Jin – Ph.D. in Biological Systems Engineering
Ewa Pietrysiak – Ph.D. in Food Science
Pavitra Krishna Kumar – Ph.D. in Biological Systems Engineering

Outstanding Student Award
Lauren Rooney – Junior in Food Science
Karin Thorsen – Masters in Food Science (Kansas State Univ.)
Chandrashekhar Sonar – Ph.D. in Biological Systems Engineering
YoonKi Hong – Ph.D. in Biological Systems Engineering
Juhi Patel – Ph.D. in Biological Systems Engineering

Travel Award
Sumeyye Inanoglu – Ph.D. in Biological Systems Engineering
Ashutos Parhi – Ph.D. in Biological Systems Engineering
Yonas Gezahegn – Ph.D. in Biological Systems Engineering
Ren Yang – Ph.D. in Biological Systems Engineering
Jie Xu – Ph.D. in Biological Systems Engineering
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Technology for Trade

September 24, 2018  |   WSU Insider

Research to help water flowNew technology and management approaches could help the West’s precious water flow more efficiently for farmers, residents and fish, thanks to pioneering work by scientists at Washington State University.

“Water is a valuable resource for everything from food production to drinking water, recreation and a healthy ecosystem,” said Jonathan Yoder, director of the State of Washington Water Research Center  and professor in School of Economic Sciences. “But water doesn’t always flow to its most important and valuable uses.”

Water is a challenging resource to manage for many reasons, including legal challenges for water rights, changing weather and uncertain supplies, difficulties in measuring consumption,  gauging its value and role in natural systems, and the costs and constraints of storing and moving it.

 

 

Read the Article : Research to help water flow more freely…  WSU Insider

 

 

 

 

 

Bioenergy & Bioproducts Engineering


Bioenergy & Bioproducts Engineering

Bioenergy & Bioproducts (BBE) scientists work toward advancing science and technologies to convert biomass, including wastes, into useful products, fuels, and fuel additives.  Highlights of our research program include:

  • Production lipid from lignocellulosics for upgrading into renewable jet fuels, diesel, and gasoline
  • Integrated algal fuel production including culture processes and extractions of co-products and lipids
  • Anaerobic digestion technologies for producing biogas, co-products, and nutrient recovery
  • Multiscale modeling of biorefining processes and systems
  • Devise feasible process to deconstruct  cellulosic biomass
  • Identify pathways to convert lignin to jet fuel
  • Biomass thermochemical conversions for producing advanced biofuels, chemicals, and bioproducts

Bioenergy & Bioproducts Engineering In the News

  • Fitria Fnu is working with PNNL researchers to develop sensors that detect refrigerant leaks in air-conditioners.

    July 25, 2021  |  Tri-City Herald

    Richland, WA

    Fitria Fnu, a participant in the PNNL-Washington State University Distinguished Graduate Fellowship Program, is working with PNNL researchers to develop sensors that detect refrigerant leaks in air-conditioners. Identifying and addressing these leaks can increase energy efficiency as well as prevent risks to human health and the environment.

    The work performed by Fitria Fnu, as well as technologies developed by PNNL, are helping to make air conditioning systems more efficient, reducing energy use and lowering costs. This … » More …

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