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Dr. Hanwu Lei Featured by USDA NIFA

June 12, 2019  |   NIFA Update

A research group led by Washington State University (WSU) scientists has found a way to turn daily plastic waste products into jet fuel.

In a new paper published in the journal Applied Energy, WSU’s Hanwu Lei and colleagues melted plastic waste at high temperature with activated carbon, a processed carbon with increased surface area, to produce jet fuel.

“Waste plastic is a huge problem worldwide,” said Lei, an associate professor in WSU’s Department of Biological System Engineering.

 

Read the Article : Making a difference. NIFA Update.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plastic water bottles may one day fly people cross-country

June 4, 2019  |   WSU Insider

A research group led by Washington State University scientists has found a way to turn daily plastic waste products into jet fuel.

In a new paper published in the journal Applied Energy, WSU’s Hanwu Lei and colleagues melted plastic waste at high temperature with activated carbon, a processed carbon with increased surface area, to produce jet fuel.

“Waste plastic is a huge problem worldwide,” said Lei, an associate professor in WSU’s Department of Biological System Engineering. “This is a very good, and relatively simple, way to recycle these plastics.”

In the experiment, Lei and colleagues tested low-density polyethylene and mixed a variety of waste plastic products, like water bottles, milk bottles, and plastic bags, and ground them down to around three millimeters, or about the size of a grain of rice…

Read the Article : Plastic water bottles may on day fly people cross-country.  WSU Insider

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Satellites and Drones Search for Better Wheat Varieties to Feed the World

May 29, 2019  |   WSU Insider

WSU researchers are using satellites and drones to search for better wheat varieties to feed a growing world. The team launched a new project this spring, developing techniques that allow satellites and drones to identify and study wheat varieties from overhead. This research is funded by a USDA-NIFA grant.

The team looks to speed up research toward identifying better, more productive wheat varieties.  If successful it will give growers powerful new tools to improve farming. Wheat currently feeds more than 1/3rd of the human population and is grown on more acres than any other crop. To meet the growing worldwide demand and stay ahead of pests, pathogens and a changing environment, wheat breeders strive to develop improved varieties. Phenotyping (measuring the way plant genes are expressed physically) allows selection of the best plants to breed for improved yield, grain quality and disease resistance. Machines can sense crop traits faster. With modern satellite imagery matched together with drones, visual and infrared imagery can be collected from wheat plots. Drone cameras can collect data with the hope that this matching process will enable identification of wheat varieties from orbit.

Part of the project’s challenge is to learn whether wheat varieties and their physical characteristics can be differentiated by their spectral data. “Sensors are getting better every day,” said team member Sindhuja Sankaran, an associate professor and sensor technology researcher at WSU’s Department of Biological Systems Engineering. “As resolution increases and camera costs drop, we have more powerful tools to sense how crops are performing.” Improved sensors will help to speed up the selection of new varieties, as well as help predict yields, monitor crop performance and protect plants from drought.

Read the Article : Images from space could help farmers grow better wheat varieties. WSU Insider

 

 

 

 

 

Artificial intelligence and precision farming: does efficiency mean sustainability?

May 28, 2019  |   filling-space.com

  • How does artificial intelligence-powered precision farming affect food sustainability?

This is a question that Filling Space.com asked their panel of experts, including Sindhuja Sankaran, an Agricultural Automation Engineering specialist from Washington State University’s Biological Systems Engineering Department.

Sankaran says, “For us, artificial intelligence serves as a key tool that assists in the application of sensor technology for phenotyping applications. Given the natural variability in plants, the thousands of crop varieties evaluated, and advancements in sensor technology (e.g. hyperspectral imaging system), it is impossible to identify patterns and evaluate plant traits without the application of artificial intelligence techniques… we use these methods to contribute to machine-guided informed selection of varieties, thus contributing to sustainability.”

Read the Article : Artificial intelligence and precision farming: does efficiency mean sustainability?, 2019, Filling-space.com

 

 

 

 

 

Western Innovator: From Nepal to Robotic Pioneer

May 12, 2019  |  Salem, OR

Some 30 years ago, he was a lad tending rice, sugarcane, goats and other crops on his family’s subsistence farm in the mid-hill region of Bhojpur, Nepal.

Last December, Manoj Karkee (pronounced Maw-nose Car-key) was among 11 U.S. and Canadian professors named 2019 pioneers in artificial intelligence and the internet by Connected World, a business and technology publication.

Karkee, 41, is an associate professor in the Biological Systems Engineering Department at Washington State University. He leads a staff of 12 in the Agricultural Automation and Robotics Laboratory at the Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Prosser.

Read the Paper : Western Innovator: From Nepal to robotic pioneer, 2019, Capital Press.

 

 

 

 

 

2019 ASABE Superior Paper Award – Congratulations!

May 9, 2019  |  Pullman, WA

The team of Qin Zhang, Xin Zhang, Long He, Yaqoob Majeed, Matthew D. Whiting and Manoj Karkee have been selected to receive a 2019 ASABE Superior Paper Award.
This group will be honored at the General Session Recognition Program during the ASABE Annual International Meeting on July 8th, 2019 at the Boston Marriott Copley Place.

  • Qin Zhang – Professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering and Director, Center for Precision and Automated Agricultural Systems, Washington State University, Prosser, WA.
  • Xin Zhang – Graduate Student in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering and Center for Precision and Automated Agricultural Systems, Washington State University, Prosser, WA.
  • Long He – Assistant Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Fruit Research and Extension Center, Pennsylvania State University, Biglerville, PA.
  • Yaqoob Majeed – Graduate Student in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering and Center for Precision and Automated Agricultural Systems, Washington State University, Prosser, WA.
  • Matthew D. Whiting – Professor in the Department of Horticulture, Washington State University, Prosser, WA.
  • Manoj Karkee – Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering and Center for Precision and Automated Agricultural Systems, Washington State University, Prosser, WA.

Read the Paper : A Precision Pruning Strategy for Improving Efficiency of Vibratory Mechanical Harvesting of Apples, 2018, Transactions of the ASABE, Vol. 61(5): 1565-1576.

 

 

 

 

 

2019 PSIFT Student Achievement Awards

May 7, 2019  |  Seattle, WA

2019 Student Achievement Awards for the Puget Sound Section of the Institute of Food Technologists (PSIFT).

Awards were presented to BSE graduate students at the annual meeting for the Puget Sound IFT on May 7, 2009 at Elliot Bay Public House and Brewery (Seattle, WA).

Awards were given in 3 categories: Scholastic Achievement Award, Outstanding Student Award, and Travel Award.
PSIFT was able to give out over $14,000 in awards this year!

The annual meeting also featured presentations from Christie Tarantino-Dean, IFT CEO and Luke Stedman of Callison’s. Christie gave an update from National IFT, and Luke led the group through the process of creating great flavors.

A list of Award recipients is below:

Scholastic Achievement Award
Ga Young Shin – Masters in Biological Systems Engineering
Yuqiao Jin – Ph.D. in Biological Systems Engineering
Ewa Pietrysiak – Ph.D. in Food Science
Pavitra Krishna Kumar – Ph.D. in Biological Systems Engineering

Outstanding Student Award
Lauren Rooney – Junior in Food Science
Karin Thorsen – Masters in Food Science (Kansas State Univ.)
Chandrashekhar Sonar – Ph.D. in Biological Systems Engineering
YoonKi Hong – Ph.D. in Biological Systems Engineering
Juhi Patel – Ph.D. in Biological Systems Engineering

Travel Award
Sumeyye Inanoglu – Ph.D. in Biological Systems Engineering
Ashutos Parhi – Ph.D. in Biological Systems Engineering
Yonas Gezahegn – Ph.D. in Biological Systems Engineering
Ren Yang – Ph.D. in Biological Systems Engineering
Jie Xu – Ph.D. in Biological Systems Engineering
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indonesian Fulbright Scholar studying biofuels at WSU Tri-Cities, PNNL

Apr 9, 2019 |  WSU Insider

Fulbright scholar Fitria is using her educational experience at Washington State University Tri-Cities and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to find new and improved ways of creating successful biofuels and bioproducts.

In her home country of Indonesia, Fitria, who goes by one name, is a team member and former project leader in biomass process technology and bioremediation at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences Research Center for Biomaterials.

 

Read the Full Article on WSU Insider.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spray Researchers Aim to Catch Their Drift

February 15, 2019  |  Good Fruit Grower

Lav Khot, left, and Rakesh Ranjan collect sample cards and foliar sprigs during a trial in November. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)Against the gray, late-autumn sky, it’s hard to miss the green plume spraying into the dormant orchard.

It’s a very colorful solution to a nearly invisible problem.

Underlying every pesticide label regulation lie complex calculations of risk to protect workers, bystanders and the environment from drift. But the methods federal regulators use to determine drift allowances from airblast sprayers date back decades — and likely overestimate the risk in modern orchards.

“All the restrictions and statements on labels are based on a set of assumptions of a worst-case scenario,” said Washington State University extension specialist Gwen Hoheisel. “If we could have a better estimate and the worst-case scenario is not actually as bad as it’s currently estimated, it could lead to less restrictive labels.”

That’s why Hoheisel, WSU agricultural engineer Lav Khot and a team of research associates were eager to watch the path of that fluorescent green cloud from the airblast sprayer. To the naked eye, little drift beyond the orchard block could be seen. However, dozens of drift samplers transecting up to 600 feet across the adjacent field were poised to catch and measure any particles that reached them.

Continue Reading on Good Fruit Grower

 

Read the Full Article on Good Fruit Grower: Spray researchers aim to catch their drift

 

 

 

 

 

BSE Graduate Students win Best Graduate Poster Award at the 2019 BioAg Symposium

February 7, 2019  |  Pullman, WA

Rajeev Sinha & Dean Wright at 2019 BioAg Symposium
Rajeev Sinha Explains his poster to CAHNRS Dean Wright at the 2019 BioAg Symposium

BSE graduate students in the Agricultural Automation Engineering  research area Haitham Bahlol and Rajeev Sinha presented their work on “Horticultural oil thermotherapy for pear psyllid management”. During the event, Rajeev Sinha spoke to CAHNRS Dean Wright at the 2019 BioAg Symposium

Their poster was awarded the ‘Best Graduate Poster Award’ with $500 scholarship.

 

See more pictures on the WSU CAHNRS Twitter Feed: WSU CAHNRS on Twitter

 

 

 

 

Citation: Bahlol, H.Y., R. Sinha*, L.R. Khot, G.-A. Hoheisel and R. Ehsani. 2019. Efficacy evaluation of horticultural oil based thermotherapy for pear psylla management. 2019 BIOAg Symposium, Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources, Washington State University, Pullman, WA. February 7, 2018. (Received ‘Best Graduate Poster Award’).

Washington State University