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The Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering

Experi-mint: Eucalyptus as alternative to dense jet fuel

Hongfei Lin with two of his students in the lab

Hongfei LinPULLMAN, Wash. – A research team led by Hongfei Lin, associate professor from Washington State University’s Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering, has developed a novel process for synthesizing dense jet fuel from mint, pine, gumweed, eucalyptus or other plants.

The research is a significant step towards making high-energy density biofuels affordable in the aviation industry.

Jet fuel from numerous plants

The process, known as biphasic tandem catalytic process (biTCP), synthesizes cyclic hydrocarbon compounds for jet fuel from terpenoids, the natural organic chemical compounds found in many plants. Cyclic hydrocarbons are molecular compounds with structures that can store high levels of energy. The researchers were able to create a high yield of the cyclic hydrocarbon p-menthane from eucalyptus oil.

Collaborating with the University of Nevada-Reno, the researchers’ work was recently published in the journal Green Chemistry.

View full article at WSU News

View article at Biomass Magazine

View article at Green Car Congress

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PHS student experiments with methane conversion alongside WSU chemical engineers

Hongyeoul Park works with Jake Gray in Su Ha's lab

[Photo credit (above): Geoff Crimmons, Moscow-Pullman Daily News; Pullman High School junior Hongyeoul Park, above, mixes nickel nitrate under the supervision of Washington State University doctoral student Jake Gray. Gray was Park’s mentor during a summer internship through the American Chemical Society’s Project SEED.]

By Taylor Nadauld, Daily News staff writer | Published at the Daily News on September, 28 2017

Pullman High School junior Hongyeoul Park, right, works in Dr. Su Ha’s lab under the supervision of Washington State University doctoral student Jake Gray in Pullman.
Pullman High School junior Hongyeoul Park, right, mixes nickel nitrate under the supervision of Washington State University doctoral student Jake Gray in Pullman. [photo credit: Geoff Crimmons, Moscow-Pullman Daily News]
When 16-year-old Pullman High School student Hongyeoul Park began a summer research project with Washington State University chemists to investigate the efficient conversion of methane into fuel, he did so with just one uninspiring year of high school chemistry under his belt.

“Chemistry did not spark any more interest in chemical engineering,” Park said Tuesday, “but when I first heard about the research they were doing and how this research can somehow lead to making our environment a better place, I kind of felt intrigued.”

Park was chosen this past summer to participate in the American Chemical Society Project SEED summer research program, a program that gives economically disadvantaged high school juniors and seniors the chance to work on research projects in laboratories alongside experienced scientists and mentors…

View full article at the Moscow-Pullman Daily News

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Research of Haluk Beyenal’s group recently featured by Journal of the Electrochemical Society

Figure that was featured on the cover of the Journal of the Electrochemical Society [a. Picoammeter/voltage source or potentiostat, Reference electrode (counter electrode) Working electrode, Ag/AgCl reference electrode, Carbon microelectrode, Glass outer case, G. sulferreducens biofilm, Diffusion barrier -200um; b. Fumaate-free medium, fumarate reduction by G. sulferreducens biofilm (fumarate + electrons = succinate); c. Carbon microelectrode, carbon wire and glass with G. sulfurreducens biofilm at bottom]

The research of Haluk Beyenal’s group was recently featured on the cover of the Journal of the Electrochemical Society. Fumarate microbiosensor is a microscale biosensor capable of detecting fumarate at micromolar level in biofilms. The working principle is the correlation between fumarate concentration and current consumption during fumarate reduction by Geobacter sulfurreducens biofilms grown on a carbon microelectrode tip. In addition to biofilm applications, the microbiosensor can be used in various anaerobic applications such as in a wastewater treatment system during anaerobic conversion processes in which fumarate is used as an electron acceptor.

Read about the research at the Journal of the Electrochemical Society.

Voiland researchers win early NSF CAREER awards

Jean-Sabin McEwen and Steven R. Saunders

Two Voiland School researchers have received young faculty awards from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Jean-Sabin McEwen and Steven R. Saunders, both assistant professors, each received approximately $500,000. Their awards are intended to provide significant research support to young faculty beginning their careers.

View full article at WSU News

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Voiland graduate students win travel awards

Fanglin Che
Fanglin Che
PULLMAN, Wash. – Doctoral student Fanglin Che recently won an AIChE Catalysis and Reaction Engineering Division Travel Award. The awards were announced at the 2016 AIChE Annual Meeting in San Francisco.

Che’s major advisor is Jean-Sabin McEwen.


Negar Beheshtipour
Negar Beheshtipour
Doctoral student Negar Beheshtipour was recently chosen as the winner of the Future Faculty Mentoring and Travel Grand from the ASEE ChE division. She will be traveling to the 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition in Columbus, Ohio as part of her award. The ASEE Annual Conference is the only conference dedicated to all disciplines of engineering education.

Beheshtipour’s major advisor is Bernie Van Wie and she is also being mentored by David Thiessen.

New catalyst paves way for bio-based plastics, chemicals

New catalyst paves way for bio-based plastics, chemicals

PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University researchers have developed a catalyst that easily converts bio-based ethanol to a widely used industrial chemical, paving the way for more environmentally friendly, bio-based plastics and products.

The researchers have published a paper online describing the catalyst in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jacs.5b07401) and have been granted a U.S. patent.

View full story at WSU News

Plant-based jet fuel: WSU research takes off

Xiao Zhang's plant-based biofuel research

Today’s synergy is tomorrow’s energy.

That is one principle underlying Washington State University’s collaborative, multidisciplinary work in biofuels – work that could pave the way toward sustainable, biologically based jet fuel for the aerospace industry in the Evergreen State and around the world.

WSU is forging a course to that future through its leadership of the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance, a broad consortium of scientific, industrial and educational interests from throughout the Northwest. The team includes more than 30 partners, including Alaska Airlines, Weyerhaeuser, Gevo, the USDA Forest Service and the University of Washington.

With its slogan of “Wood to Wing,” and with support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the five-year NARA project seeks to facilitate development of a sustainable “biojet” fuel industry using forest residuals that would typically be be burned in a pile. That means taking a comprehensive look at building a supply chain for aviation biofuel with the goal of increasing efficiency in everything from forestry operations to conversion processes.

Washington does not currently produce aviation biofuels. NARA wants to change that.

Ralph Cavalieri, associate vice president for alternative energy at WSU, says the university took a leadership role in NARA because its long land-grant tradition in agricultural research and plant science, together with its expertise in technologies to convert plant matter into fuel, provide a natural framework for addressing the industry’s future fuel needs.

Read entire article about plant-based jet fuel at The Seattle Times