Researcher Wins Grants to Support Woody Biomass-to-Biofuel Work
(University of Arkansas/Biomass Magazine) University of Arkansas chemical engineering associate professor Jamie Hestekin has received two grants totaling $145,250 from a local technology development firm to help the company convert woody biomass into bio-oil and eventually liquid biofuel.
The funding will support chemical engineering doctoral student Blake Johnson, who will perform research at Process Dynamics, a technology development company that focuses on petroleum refining, hydro-processing of fuels and the manufacturing of oils and waxes. When finished, the project will yield several research articles and help Johnson satisfy requirements for a doctoral degree in chemical engineering.
Further, the project will support George Marshall, a master’s student working on ways to make the technology more inexpensive, and Karla Morrissey, an undergraduate who recently won a Goldwater Scholarship for her proposal to do a life-cycle assessment on the woody biomass conversion to biofuels.
Process Dynamics has done significant testing toward converting woody biomass into bio-oil and liquid biofuels. These efforts have led to a conversion rate as high as 60 percent.
Guided by Hestekin and Michael Ackerson, associate professor of chemical engineering, Johnson will conduct studies that will help the company understand the nature of the conversion and what conditions lead to a more optimal suite of bio-oils. Their ultimate goal is to determine the maximum amount of conversion possible. In three years, the overall length of the project, they hope to achieve a conversion rate greater than 60 percent at significantly less cost than current procedures. READ MORE