Professor Wins Bioenergy Grant, Fuels Change
by Nathan Simone (The Auburn Plainsman) Sushil Adhikari, assistant professor of biosystems engineering, recently received a $335,748 grant from the National Science Foundation to conduct bioenergy research, specifically Adhikari’s speciality, the conversion of biomass into biofuels and products, for three summers.
Adhikari intends to set up a program titled Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU), which will allow 10 students from limited research universities each summer to spend 10 weeks on campus studying bioenergy.
Adhikari agreed to tell the Plainsman more about what he intends to do with his generous grant.
…The primary focus of our recruitment efforts will be undergraduate students from historically black colleges and universities and community colleges in the southeastern United States that are interested in pursuing graduate studies in biofuels and bioproducts. …Relevant courses, strong writing skills, good GPAs, and strong recommendation letters from teachers and scientists will serve as indicators of potential success in this program.
…I worked on thermochemical conversion of biomass to liquid and gaseous fuels that includes gasification, pyrolysis and reforming processes.
In this project, we will be focusing primarily woody biomass, or pine. As you might know, two-thirds of Alabama is covered with forestry, and our primary crop is forest biomass.
In addition to forest biomass, we will focus on other energy crops such as switchgrass or agricultural residues such as pecan shells, peanut hulls and so on. We do not want use any food crops and we would like to stay away from the “food vs fuel” debate.
…Auburn University through the Center for Bioenergy and Bioproducts have invested heavily in infrastructure that can be used to train our young generation needed to fully develop and sustain biobased economy. READ MORE