Fundamental and applied research is conducted in the area of biofuels and biobased products with focuses on biomass production; biomass logistics; biomass characterization; biochemical conversion such as pretreatment, enzymatic hydrolysis and fermentation; thermochemical conversion such as gasification, hydrothermal pyrolysis and fast pyrolysis; and biodegradable adhesives.



Bioprocessing laboratory

This laboratory with more than 3,500 square feet of space, is well-equipped with advanced facilities for both research and teaching. Advanced facilities include mills with different capacities for biomass size reduction, high-pressure reactor apparatus and sends-bath reactor for biomass pretreatment, 5-L sterilizers with different capacities for production of biofuel and chemicals through a fermentation Bioreactor (BF-3000) and water bath shakers for fermentation, incubator shakers for biomass hydrolysis, lamina flow for bacteria inoculation, polymer chain reaction machine and French press for biomaterial research, small-scale fast pyrolysis reactor for bio-oil production, centrifuges with different capacities for material separation, HPLC, spectrometer (UV-VS), FTIR spectrometer (Spectrum 400), 5890 GC/5975 MS coupled with CDS 7000 Purge and Trap, CHNSO analyzer, Buchi Rotavapor, IKA Bomb Calorimeter, Karl Fisher ultrasound system, freeze dryer, rheomenter, CO2 supercritical extractor, and rotavapor for biomass characterization and chemical analysis.

Bioseparations laboratory

This laboratory is used for research and teaching activities within the department. Research within the laboratory is currently focused on two areas: 1) processing for value-added co-products from biofuel production, and 2) separation of high-value protein products (industrial enzymes, biopharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals) from transgenic plants and other biological sources. The goal of the first area is to develop new processing strategies that will reduce biofuel costs by creating higher value co-products utilizing nonfermentable biomass fractions. The objective of the second research area is to design efficient and economical extraction and separation methods for the purification of recombinant proteins, which can be used for human and animal health. The lab is equipped with instruments for downstream processing operations (extraction, fractionation and purification) and complementary tools for quantification and analysis of biological materials. It is equipped for grinding of and extraction from biological materials including a Silverson high-speed homogenizer, Waring blender and stir plates. Protein analytical tools include a Molecular Devices SpectraMax® Plus384 Absorbance Microplate Reader, Life Technologies iBlot® Dry Western Blot System and NuPAGE® SDS-PAGE Gel System. Fractionation and purification tools include a Spectrum Labs KrosFlo® Research IIi Tangential Flow Filtration System (KR2i) and equipment needed for chromatography adsorption studies.