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Agtech: Higher yields, lower costs, better environmental protection

Dr. Lav Khot operating a drone in flight

Fall 2016 | Washington Business Magazine, by Richard S. Davis

Advanced technology has contributed to tremendous growth in production since the middle of the 20th century, while farmers have been able to reduce inputs, including labor, chemicals, and energy.  The agricultural and food industry accounts for 13 percent of Washington State’s economy. Biotech, “flying tractors”, designer orchards, and robots have changed everything on the farm, from planting to harvest to packing house.

At left, Washington State University professor Dr. Lav Khot flies and eight-bladed octo-copter unmanned aerial vehicle or drone.

[ full article in Washington Business digital magazine (requires Flash) – page 30 ]

 

BSysE 598 Graduate Seminar Awards

Best presentations in BSysE 598

1st place – Deepali Jain
“A simulation model for microwave-assisted thermal pasteurization system”

2nd place – Jie Xu
“Development of a dry inoculation method using freeze-dried inocula for inactivation studies in low moisture foods”

3rd place
Innu Chaudhary – “Investigation of ‘lignin modification mechanisms’ in termite-inspired bio-pretreatment process- An Enzymatic Perspective”

Grant funds test of market potential for jet fuel research

December 1, 2016 | WSU News, by  Maegan Murray, WSU Tri-Cities

RICHLAND, Wash. – Researchers at Washington State University Tri-Cities have been awarded a National Science Foundation I-Corps grant to explore the market potential of their biojet fuel research.

The team has successfully demonstrated a new, water-based process for deconstructing and recovering lignin from biomass and converting it into jet fuel-range hydrocarbons. These could be certified as jet fuel in the future.

Bin Yang, WSU Tri-Cities associate professor of biological systems engineering and principal investigator for the grant, holds a patent on the process.

[full article in WSU News]

Dr. Sankaran Presents at Inaugural Event

Dr. Sankaran presenting at SciTech NorthwestWednesday, November 9th, the inaugural SciTech Northwest event was held in Seattle. This was the region’s first science and technology expo highlighting the latest innovations and collaborations in cyber/data analytics, clean energy, and biotechnology from three premier Washington research institutions. Twenty one groups and five speakers from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, University of Washington, and Washington State University showcased their cutting-edge technologies. The featured speaker was Matt McIlwain, Managing Director, Madrona Venture Group.

More at:

Xconomy –  Washington Scientists Forge Ahead Amid Uncertainty

GeekWire – Tech investor Matt McIlwain: Seattle with shape the future with a ‘three-layer cake’ of innovation

Grant Helps Farmers Use Smart Phones to Save Water

Don McMoran, director of WSU Skagit County Extension, and Troy Peters, associate professor with BSE at the WSU Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Prosser, are helping growers statewide use every drop of irrigation water to the fullest.

Using a $455,000 grant from the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service, their Water Irrigation System Efficiency, or WISE, project educates farmers and gives them smart tools to help the environment and their bottom line.

[more in CAHNRS News]

Peter’s Water-Saving Project Featured in Press

Irrigation uses 80 percent of the water in the Pacific Northwest, and center pivots irrigate over half of watered acreage. For the past three years, R. Troy Peters, associate professor and Extension irrigation specialist at BSE WSU Prosser, have been the primary investigator of Low Elevation Spray Application (LESA) technology for center-pivot irrigation.

The project is funded by Bonneville Power Administration, with the University of Idaho as a subcontractor. It was featured in a front-page article in the Capital Press.

Student represents U.S. at sustainable chemistry school

October 4, 2016 | WSU News, by Maegan Murray, WSU Tri-Cities

zhu-leiRICHLAND, Wash. – A doctoral student at Washington State University Tri-Cities is one of 15 worldwide, and the only U.S. student, selected to participate in a recent week-long school in Germany about developing safe, reliable chemicals in a sustainable way.

“One of the biggest challenges for sustainability sciences is to find solutions that do not threaten economic growth, the environment, and public welfare,” said Lei Zhu, who studies biological systems engineering at WSU Tri-Cities. “In particular, developing countries are seemingly faced with the dilemma of economic growth versus sustainability. Sustainability Sciences is all about coming up with ways out of dilemmas.”

[read full article in WSU News ]