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Washington State University

WSU faculty member presents at National Advance Biofuels Conference and Expo

Biodiesel Magazine, by Ron Kotrba | August 24, 2016

An in-depth review of the National Advanced Biofuels Conference

For the first time ever, the National Advanced Biofuels Conference & Expo was co-located with the International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo in 2016, a conference pairing that will become the norm for event organizer BBI International. The conferences were held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with sessions running June 21-22. NABCE included two tracks, with one focused entirely on cellulosic ethanol, and the second on biodiesel and other advanced biofuels. Track two, the focal point of this review, included presentations on biojet fuel, biogas and biodiesel.

Bin Yang with Washington State University discussed biojet fuel from lignin. He said lignin from biomass is currently used for electricity and steam production, but through a process of depolymerization and defragmentation followed by catalytic upgrading, the material is suited for jet fuel feedstock. [read full article]

Biowaste-to-jet fuel

Discovery advances biowaste-to-jet fuel research

By Maegan Murray, WSU Tri-Cities

Dr. Bin Yng
Dr. Bin Yang

RICHLAND, Wash. – Researchers at Washington State University Tri-Cities have figured out a way to successfully convert a common wood byproduct into hydrocarbon molecules that could be used as jet fuel. [read full article]


Treated with care: Analyzing a new pre-treatment process for biofuel production

By Jon Evans, SeparationsNow.com, Dec 14, 2015

Next-generation biofuels: The biofuel industry is placing great store in the next-generation of biofuels produced from general plant biomass such as straw and wood rather than from food crops such as corn and wheat. The big remaining stumbling block is that although the technology exists for converting plant biomass into biofuels,… [read full article]


Breakthrough WSU invention to turn forests into jet fuel

By Steve Wilhelm, Seattle Techflash, Dec 1, 2015

Just as world leaders are struggling to throttle back climate change at the Paris summit, researchers at Washington State University are honing a new method to turn wood fibers into jet fuel for Boeing (NYSE: BA) jets.

The research, led by Associate Professor Bin Yang, has progressed far enough that it is featured on the cover of the December issue of Green Chemistry, a journal of the Royal Society of Chemistry based in the United Kingdom.

[read full article]

NSF Conference Grant Awarded

NSF conference grant awarded our student for The Science and Engineering for a Bio-based Industry and Economy (S1041) Annual Meeting and Symposium in Ohio

RICHLAND, Wash. – Libing Zhang, a doctoral candidate at Washington State University Tri-Cities, is awarded for S-1041 Annual Meeting and Symposium located in Ohio State University during August 10-11, 2015. She is one of 24 awarded students mostly studied in Agricultural and Biological Engineering program from 12 universities in United States.

Currently, she is pursuing her PhD degree majoring in Biological Systems Engineering at WSU. Her supervisor is Dr. Bin Yang, professor who focuses his research on biomass processing to cellulosic and lignin fuels and bioproducts. She will present her research work in the lignocellulosic biomass aqueous fractionation to produce sugars and lignin for catalysis upgrading to jet fuel.

“I really appreciate NSF grant for providing me this great opportunity. It will broaden my knowledge and benefit for my career.” She Says.

WSU Tri-Cities Announces Student Research Grants

July 10, 201 5| Tri-City Herald

Five students at Washington State University Tri-Cities will receive grants as part of the Chancellor’s Summer Scholars Program at the university.

The program allows students to be mentored by a faculty member and work on a project to prepare them for a career in a science, technology, engineering and math field, a news release said.

Three of the $3,000 grants are being covered by Hanford contractor Washington River Protection Solutions:

  • Demi Galindo, a pre-medicine student is working with faculty members Elly Sweet and Jim Cooper on a developmental genetics project, which is part of a larger effort to understand human developmental disorders that cause skull deformities.
  • Joseph Traverso will build a robotic arm and investigate the capabilities of such a device with assistant professor Changki Mo.
  • Christopher Smith, mentored by associate professor Bin Yang, will look at developing a way to break down industrial waste created from a biomass conversion methods by using aerobic bacteria.

The other two grants will go to:

  • Logan Wickham, a freshman, who will work with assistant professor Nikos Voulgarakis on a project modeling nanoscale fluid-solid interfaces.
  • Jesus Madrigal’s investigation of why some biomass resist being broken down by enzymes in collaboration with assistant professor Xiao Zhang.

Global Case Competition

Six students at Washington State University were crowned champions of WSU’s Fifth Annual Global Case Competition, Friday, April 10, 2015.

The victorious group, under the name Team Verde, consists of a pair of graduate students from the WSU Spokane campus, team captain Emma Henselbecker and Sara Dumit, as well as four undergraduates from Pullman, Brandon Hernandez-Cantu, Emelia Stephan, Kimberly Rogers and Ivan Valdovinos. The faculty advisor is Grant Norton of the Honors College.

This year’s case centers on plastic waste in Manaus, Brazil with over 120 participants. Five finalist teams were selected to present their solutions to a panel of judges. Team Verde members will now have the opportunity to travel to Brazil for further study.


The second place team, Cougar Cogeneration, consisted of Sergio Baravalle (BSE), Annalise Miller (CAS, Math), Stephanie Gardiner (NURS, Nursing) and Philip Behrend (CAS, Math), and advised by Chuck Pezeshki (Voiland College of Architecture and Engineering) not pictured.

Slide 1:  Briefly, while thinking about the challenge, we wanted to make sure to involve and align the main stakeholders in the community, including the poor class, middle class and industrial sector in order to solve the serious problem of plastic waste in Manaus Brazil.

Slide 2:  Manaus is a remote area in the middle of the Amazonas that relies on expensive energy from fossil fuels to feed its growing industry sector. This situation creates a suitable environment for the development of sustainable and profitable solutions since relatively cheap raw materials are available to produce energy from non-recyclable plastic waste.

Based on that situation and leveraging on technologies and concepts in the BSE Department, we developed a solution that is technically feasible and profitable. It considers social aspects, taking scavengers out of the landfill and providing them with a sustainable income, managing a sorting facility. We also considered a sanitary program developed by a member of our team who is studying nursing.

The practical solution considers the gasification of the nonrecyclable plastic in a cogeneration plant. This plant has the capacity to produce electric power while distilling polluted water for poor people that are currently drinking contaminated water.

Slide 3:  While we were developing the project we were aware that the scope was too large for a group of students to manage. However, we wanted to consider the situation holistically, perhaps one day working with WSU as ambassadors to Brazil. Numerous resources are available at WSU to support this endeavor.

The electricity would be sold to the grid and according to our calculation and benchmarking studies, the project is profitable.

Click here to find out about past Global Case Competitions

Student Earns Top International Sustainability Prize

WSU News | by Kate Wilhite, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences

green-talents-80PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University graduate student Sergio Baravalle is among 25 exceptional young scientists worldwide to receive an annual award for work in sustainable development.

Baravalle is a Fulbright scholar working on his master’s degree in biological and agricultural engineering.

Chosen from 800 applicants

He was selected for the Green Talents International Forum for High-Potentials in Sustainable Development award by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research from more than 800 applicants in over 100 countries.

Sergio Baravalle, WSU, and Johanna Wanka, Germany’s minister of education and research.

The “Green Talents” each win a two-week tour of renowned sustainable research centers in Germany and a three-month stay at the German research institution of their choice. They become lifetime members of a global network of sustainability leaders.

“I have spent two weeks with 24 of the best minds in their disciplines,” said Baravalle, who just returned from the tour. “That was the real prize.”

Learn more about the award at http://www.greentalents.de/. See Sergio’s and other winners’ profiles here.

Waste management, renewable energy

The awards jury looks for research projects with the potential to contend with threats such as global warming, energy shortages, and environmental contamination.

The focus of Baravalle’s research is to gain an understanding of the municipal solid waste business and how it can create sustainable and innovative solutions in conjunction with renewable energy technologies. He is also exploring a more efficient production of ethanol from dry plant matter by combining the processes of pre-treatment and sugar release into a single step.

Judges were enthusiastic about Baravalle’s combination of using multiple disciplines to conduct cutting-edge scientific experiments. They said this experience will help him advance sustainable waste management and energy solutions.

Pursuing certificates at MIT, WSU

“Sergio has displayed remarkable skills in science, business, and engineering,” said Bin Yang, a professor in WSU’s Department of Biological Systems Engineering and Baravalle’s academic advisor. “He will continue to grow and make significant contributions to the field of converting biomass to fuels and chemicals.”

In addition to working on his master’s degree, Baravalle is pursuing graduate certificates in logistics and supply chain management from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and in project management from WSU.

Contacts:
Sergio Baravalle, WSU Biological Systems Engineering, sergio.baravalle@wsu.edu
Kate Wilhite, WSU College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences communications, 509-335-8164kate.wilhite@wsu.edu