Our world’s dependency on fossil fuels is one of the biggest challenges facing society today. The planet’s fossil fuel reserves are declining and the side effects of extracting and using these fuels are damaging our environment. Thus, a top priority amongst researchers is finding a cleaner, sustainable alternative to fossil fuels. At Washington State University, one researcher is taking a unique approach to this global challenge. [Continue Reading on the WSU Research Page]
September 7, 2018 | Richland, WA | By Maegan Murray, WSU Tri-Cities
RICHLAND, Wash. – High school students in the Tri-Cities have seen success not only at the state level in science fairs, but also at national and international competitions after collaborating with researchers at Washington State University Tri-Cities for their research projects.
The goal of the partnerships, the professors said, is not only to provide students with exposure to a variety of science and engineering projects that can stand to have large impacts, but additionally so that more students will receive exposure to hands-on opportunities in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. With this experience, the students can witness what is possible through those career paths, they said.
Biological Systems Engineering Faculty Professor Bin Yang published the the research paper titled: “Effects of Sugars, Furans, and their Derivatives on Hydrodeoxygenation of Biorefinery Lignin‐Rich Wastes to Hydrocarbons”
Abstract: Hydrodeoxygenation of biorefinery lignin‐rich wastes to jet fuel hydrocarbons offers a significant opportunity for enhancing the overall operational efficiency, carbon conversion efficiency, economic viability, and sustainability of biofuels production. However, these wastes usually mainly contain lignin with sugars, furans, and their derivatives as “impurities”. Although several factors, including reactant structure, solvents, or the decreased ratio of catalyst to reactant, could be responsible for the jet fuel hydrocarbons yield loss, we found evidence that glucose, xylose, and 5‐hydroxymethylfurfural dramatically decreased conversion yields. For example, xylose and glucose lowered the final hydrocarbon yield by 78 and 63 %, respectively. The results revealed that these compounds could suppress metal catalysts and inhibit lignin depolymerization and hydrodeoxygenation (HDO) reactions thus decrease yields of jet fuel range hydrocarbons from biomass‐derived lignin. The first‐principles calculations and TGA results from spent catalysts validated these findings.
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.
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.
The WSU team “BeeToxx” received multiple awards at the UW Business Plan Competition which was held May 25th, 2018. The team won the $7,520 “Friends of the BPC” Third Place Prize as well as the $5,000 Wells Fargo “Cleantech/Environmental” Prize.
The WSU team “BeeToxx” received multiple awards at the WSU Business Plan Competition which was held April 20th, 2018. The team won Third Place in the College League as well as the Best Social Impact Business.
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.
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.
Researchers 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.