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Biological Systems Engineering Bioenergy and Bioproducts

WSU researchers creating catalyst to improve jet biofuel production

RICHLAND, Wash. – Efforts to create an environmentally friendly catalyst that will lower the cost and increase the efficiency in producing bio-based jet fuels has netted Washington State University researchers a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

WSU Tri-Cities associate professor Hanwu Lei and his research team aim to develop the catalyst — a substance that increases the rate of chemical reactions and lowers the energy needed to perform the reaction — from forestry and agricultural waste products.

 

[ Read full article in WSU Insider ]

 

Waled Suliman Receives 2018 Amazon Catalyst Grant

PULLMAN, Wash. – Amazon Catalyst program has awarded $177,735 in grants to 10 Washington State University teams comprised of students, faculty and staff across disciplines and locations.

The collaborative program between Amazon and WSU launched early in 2018 to fund projects deemed globally impactful and disruptive.

What are the next inventions that will change how people live their lives and conduct business? This is the question WSU’s Amazon Catalyst Program applicants are looking to answer with their disruptive ideas, innovative projects and impactful inventions.

 

[ Read full article in WSU Insider ]

“BeeToxx” Receives Second Place at the Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge

BeeToxx won the $10,000 Herbert B. Jones Foundation second place prize at the Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge, hosted by the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship.The grand prize winners at the Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge (EIC) proved to judges that gardening and innovation go together naturally. BioPots took home the $15,000 Wells Fargo prize with their biodegradable planter pots made from biomass waste like spent beer grains. The University of Washington team included three engineers from the Bioresource Science and Engineering program and a student from the Foster School of Business.

This year marked the 10th Anniversary of the EIC, hosted by the Foster School’s Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship. The competition also set a record with student teams from five different schools and universities in the Pacific Northwest taking home prizes. The $10,000 Herbert B. Jones Foundation second place prize went to BeeToxx from Washington State University. The team of Bioengineering, Biology, Communication, and Entrepreneurship students developed a carbon-based microparticle solution that protects Honey Bee colonies exposed to harmful pesticides.

[ Read full story at Foster Blog ]

Biofuels Digest Features WSU Jet Fuel Research

January 11, 2018 | BiofuelsDisgest,  Jim Lane

Back in 2016, researchers at Washington State University Tri-Cities landed a National Science Foundation I-Corps grant to explore the market potential of their biojet fuel research. The team had 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. Lignin, a polymer that makes plants woody and rigid, is a waste product in the biofuels production process.

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

“Our ultimate goal is to demonstrate a flexible catalytic process that selectively converts all the carbon in the lignin into jet fuel-range hydrocarbons at minimal cost,” Yang said at the time. Dr. Yang gave this illuminating update and overview of the technology’s progress and promise at ABLC Next in San Francisco.

[ Read the Digest’s 2018 Multi-slide Guide to jet fuel from biorefinery waste ]

Cellulosic Revelation

Sept 2017  | BIOFUELS JOURNAL

Snippet of Biofuels Journal cover, Second Quarter 2017Researchers at Washington State University Tri-Cities and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Richland, Washington have discovered that newly combined spectroscopy processes can reveal the differences between the inside and the outside of the molecular structure of cellulosic biomass.

view pdf of article in Biofuels Journal]

view digital magazine – requires Flash ]

 

WSU Research Gets Closer to Cost-Effective BioFuels

June 5, 2017 | ENVIRONMENTAL MOLECULAR SCIENCES LABORATORY  [ full article ]

June 6, 2017 | PHYS.ORG [ full article ]

Molecular-level understanding of cellulose structure reveals why it resists degradation and could lead to cost-effective biofuels.

A major bottleneck hindering cost-effective production of biofuels and many valuable chemicals is the difficulty of breaking down cellulose—an important structural component of plant cell walls. A recent study addressed this problem by characterizing molecular features that make cellulose resistant to degradation.

 

 

WSU Tri-Cities team earns CleanTech Big Picture prize at UW business competition

May 26, 2017 | by Maegan Murray

WSU Tri-Cities Lignin Biotech team

RICHLAND, Wash. – A team from Washington State University Tri-Cities took home the Wells Fargo “CleanTech” Big Picture prize during the University of Washington’s Business Plan Competition this week.

With the award, the team, which includes Libing Zhang, a recent doctoral alumna, and Manuel Seubert and Taylor Pate, who are master’s in business administration students, was presented with a $5,000 check.

“We believe that we performed very well,” Zhang said. “We received extremely positive feedback regarding our business plan and presentation. Each team had a great product and were very convincing. We felt fortunate to be a part of it all.”

[ full article ]

WSU Tri-Cities team in UW business competition ‘sweet 16’

April 28, 2017   |  WSU News

RICHLAND, Wash. – A team from Washington State University Tri-Cities whose business plan is to commercialize a WSU-patented jet fuel technology has advanced to the University of Washington Business Plan Competition’s “sweet 16” round.

The sweet 16 round of the UW Business Plan Competition kicks off May 25.

full article on WSU News ]