Khot and colleagues at more than 20 research institutions received the 2022 National Excellence in Multistate Research Award from the Experiment Station Section (ESS) unit of the commission’s Board on Agriculture Assembly for their research and extension work in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) applications for U.S. agriculture and natural resources…
Juming Tang, Regents Professor, Department of Biological Systems Engineering, Washington State University, has been inducted into the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) 2021 Class of Fellows.
“Congratulations to Matthew McCluskey and Juming Tang for their induction as NAI Members. Through research and discovery, their innovations provide cutting-edge solutions to challenges that will benefit society and influence science, technology, and innovation worldwide,” said Sita Pappu, assistant vice president for the Office of Commercialization.
Tang has invented and commercialized electromagnetic spectrum wave-based food processes. Tang has focused his research on advancing thermal processing technologies and supporting knowledge for control of bacterial and viral pathogens in foods with minimum adverse effects on taste and nutrition.
Tang’s laboratory has developed two commercially viable technologies based on 915 MHz microwaves for production of high quality ready-to-eat meals with extended shelf-life in different storage conditions. The unique engineering designs allow predictable and rapid heating of pre-packaged food that eliminates food pathogens, replacing the long-time industrial method of canning foods.
Jake Schrader ( PhD Student of Lav Khot, Agricultural Automation Engineering) is shown presenting in the ASABE Oral/Poster Competition during the ASABE Annual International Meeting in Houston, Texas, 2022.
Jake placed in the ASABE Oral/Poster Competition within the Machinery Systems technical community for his work entitled,“Thermal analysis of heated spray and implications for agricultural spray technologies”.
He will receive a $250 prize check for his presentation.
Dr. Behnaz Molaei (former PhD Student of Troy Peters, LAWREE) is shown presenting in the ASABE Oral/Poster Competition during the ASABE Annual International Meeting in Houston, Texas, 2022.
Dr. Molaei placed in the ASABE Oral/Poster Competition within the Machinery Systems technical community for her work entitled, “Investigating Practical Artificial Hot and Cold Reference Surfaces for Improved ET Estimation using the UAS-METRIC Energy Balance Model”.
She will receive a $250 prize check for her presentation.
Lignin-derived jet fuel displays a superior heat of combustion, higher seal swell properties and a much lower aromatic content compared to Jet-A.
Bin Yang, professor in the Biological Systems Engineering Department at Washington State University (WSU) in Richland, WA, says, “Besides using jet fuel, other propulsion options such as batteries and fuel cells are not suitable for use in long-distance airplance travel in the near future (less than 30 years). This places the aviation industry in the position of needing to find a sustainable alternative to Jet-A. One big concern with using the incumbent jet fuel is its aromatic content, which varies from approximately 8% to 25% by volume, which is key to the density and seal swell characteristics of jet fuel but increases engine soot production. Some approved alternative jet fuels, such as synthetic paraffinic kerosene (SPKs), need the addition of aromatics and others contain aromatics. Ultimately, the aviation industry is seeking a 100% sustainable aviation fuel that produces no emissions.”
An associate professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering, Sankaran studies sensor technologies for crop phenotyping and supports plant breeding, crop plant research, and precision agriculture applications. Her research and teaching program supports researchers from other CAHNRS departments and USDA-ARS labs.
Sankaran was honored for her leadership, service, and outreach, for a robust and productive research program, and as a terrific teacher who receives high marks on student evaluations. Highly engaged with her students and post-docs, she is an outstanding mentor for the next generation of scientists. Sankaran strives to impress upon them the importance of following rigorous scientific methods and of communication via prompt publication and involvement in scientific societies.
Automated drones could scare birds off agricultural fields
A Washington State University research team has developed a system for scaring birds, which they detail in a study published in the journal Computer and Electronics in Agriculture. The system is designed to have automated drones available 24 hours a day to scare pest birds, like European starlings or crows, that cost growers millions of dollars a year in lost fruit.
“Growers don’t really have a good tool they can rely on for deterring pest birds at an affordable price,” said Manoj Karkee, associate professor in WSU’s Department of Biological Systems Engineering and the study’s corresponding author. “With further refinement and industry partnerships, this system could work.”
For now, the birds are scared off just by the motion and whirring noises made by drones. But Karkee said that sounds, like distress calls or predatory bird noises, could be added. Builders could even design special drones for the job.
An experimental plant-based jet fuel could increase engine performance and efficiency, while dispensing with aromatics, the pollution-causing compounds found in conventional fuels, according to new research.
“When we tested our lignin jet fuel, we saw some interesting results,” said Bin Yang, professor with WSU’s Department of Biological Systems Engineering and corresponding author on the study. “We found that it not only had increased energy density and content but also could totally replace aromatics, which are a real problem for the aviation industry.”
Yang developed a patented process that turns lignin from agricultural waste into bio-based lignin jet fuel. Such sustainable fuel could help the aviation industry reduce dependance on increasingly expensive fossil fuels while meeting higher environmental standards. “This process creates a cleaner, more energy-dense fuel,” Yang added. “That’s exactly what sustainable aviation fuels need for the future.”
Manoj Karkee reports that WSU’s Agricultural Automation group of the Biological Systems Engineering Department has just begun testing their newest robot. The robot is aimed to produce a more stable and efficient pollination and thinning process. The Robotic Pollinator is built with a camera that can detect flower blossoms and determine which need to be pollinated or thinned. Students are currently trying to find the right stage to pollinate the fruit flowers. This comes from trial and error.
Dr. Karkee is trying to develop a robotic solution that would have a camera that works like human eyes to take pictures and works with a “brain”, a kind of artificial intelligence model running on a computer, that detects flowers, locates them and sends the signal to the controller of the robot. This signals the robot where to start thinning the flowers. Karkee thinks the method could also replace honeybees when the robot learns to pollinate flowers.
Behnaz Molaei just won another leadership award: “The Karen P. DePauw Leadership Award” from the Association for Faculty Women (AFW) and the Graduate School. The award has been given during a special ceremony on April 7.
The Karen P. DePauw Leadership Award (for doctoral candidates) was created in honor of Dr. DePauw’s service to WSU in 2003 to give recognition to doctoral candidates that demonstrate evidence of leadership skills and/or university involvement.
Huge Congratulations to Behnaz and her proud advisor/mentor Dr. Troy Peters!!