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The Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering

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 ( 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

Greg Collinge receives National Science Foundation Research Fellowship

Greg Collinge

Greg Collinge, graduate student and ARCS scholar, who works with professor Jean-Sabin McEwen in the Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering conducting research in computational catalytic chemistry was recently awarded a National Science Foundation graduate research fellowship.

The researchers develop atom-scale models of catalysts and reactions to better understand how they work. Catalysts are used in many chemical processes, including biofuels, plastics and hydrogen production. Collinge is working specifically to improve the Fischer-Tropsch reaction, a process to create chemicals and fuels from carbon monoxide and hydrogen.

View full article at WSU News

Aerosol, air pollution pioneer David Ensor receives WSU Alumni Achievement Award

Jim Petersen, David Ensor, and Roger McClellan

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – David S. Ensor, retired civil and chemical engineer, was honored April 11 with the Washington State University Alumni Association’s Alumni Achievement Award for internationally recognized contributions to aerosol science that have helped protect workers and the public from potential air pollution hazards.

His career accomplishments have included: methods to characterize emissions from coal-fired power plants; technology to control ultra-fine airborne contaminants of semi-conductor chips; participation in government-private sector-academic efforts to detect and limit environmental threats; and innovative approaches to characterizing nanomaterials.

David Ensor speaking
David Ensor speaking at awards ceremony

Ensor retired in 2014 as a distinguished fellow, emeritus, of RTI International (formerly Research Triangle Institute), a nonprofit organization that provides research and technical services. He managed programs in nanotechnology, aerosol research, filtration, air pollution control technology, particle sampling and characterization, indoor air quality, pollution prevention, exposure research, surface cleaning, protective garments, microcontamination control, instrumentation development and test methods development.

After earning a bachelor of science degree at WSU in chemical engineering in 1963, he earned a master’s in chemical engineering and Ph.D. in civil engineering at the University of Washington and determined to pursue a career in environmental engineering.

Ensor has been a member of the WSU Alumni Association since 1990. In 2010, he was recognized as a Distinguished Alumnus of WSU’s Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering. He and his wife have been presidents associates of the WSU Foundation since 2003 and in 2014 were recognized by the foundation as benefactors of WSU.

David Ensor with WSU Voiland School faculty member Nehal Abu-Lail, left, and student
David Ensor with WSU Voiland School faculty member Nehal Abu-Lail, left, and student

Ensor earned a 2014 Board of Directors Award from the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology for contributions to developing international standards and the 2009 James Mildon Award from the institute for nanotechnology standardization. He was recipient of eight awards, 1995-2012, from RTI for exemplary service. He received the Hammer Award from the White House during the Clinton administration and the Meritorious Service Award from the American National Standards Institute.

He has several patents, almost 200 publications and is a founding editor-in-chief of Aerosol Science and Technology journal.

The WSUAA Alumni Achievement Award was created in 1970 by the WSUAA Board of Directors to recognize alumni who have given outstanding service to WSU and made contributions to their professions and communities. The award is the highest honor bestowed by the Alumni Association. Of an estimated 250,000 students who have attended WSU, Ensor is the 523rd Alumni Achievement Award recipient.

View full article at WSU News

View article about award at RTI