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Source: Keith Rutlin, 785-532-4995,
Photos available. Contact or 785-532-2535.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


MANHATTAN -- Three Kansas State University graduate students have earned cash awards for their research work in sustainable energy areas.

The research is being conducted through the K-State Center for Sustainable Energy. Winners were selected by the center's co-directors: Mary Rezac, K-State's ConocoPhillips Professor of Sustainable Energy and a professor of chemical engineering; and Ron Madl, director of K-State's Bioprocessing and Industrial Value-Added Program. Selections were based on the students' presentations and explanations of their studies, with the cash awards provided by ConocoPhillips. All three students received graduate student assistantships with the K-State Center for Sustainable Energy.

The center, through research and educational efforts, seeks to provide sustainable, renewable energy while maintaining the environment and providing an adequate food supply. K-State offers significant educational and scientific resources related to the complete cycle of biofuels production. Basic and applied research, education and outreach activities are components of the center. More than 30 faculty from across campus, including the colleges of Agriculture, Arts and Sciences, and Engineering, are involved in center activities.

Earning the $500 first-place award was Juyhun "Camila" Yoo, doctoral student in grain science from Korea. Earning $250 awards were Ronny Michalsky, doctoral student in chemical engineering from Germany, and Khushal Brijwani, doctoral student in grain science from India.

Yoo's project is to develop the protocol of thermo-mechanical pretreatment using extrusion with soybean hulls, and compare its efficiency with two traditional pretreatments, acid hydrolysis and alkali hydrolysis. Principal investigator for the project is Sajid Alavi, associate professor of grain science and industry; co-principal investigators are Praveen Vadlani, assistant professor of grain science and industry, and Vincent Amanor-Boadu, assistant professor of agricultural economics.

Michalsky's research topic was industrial fertilizer from sunlight, air, carbon and water: ammonia via solar thermochemical processing. Principal investigator is Peter Pfromm, professor of chemical engineering. Brijwani's research topic was improved ethanol process from cellulosic biomass: enhanced enzyme production from agro-industrial residues using solid-state fermentation. The principal investigator is Praveen Vadlani.

Graduate student assistantships with the K-State Center for Sustainable Energy are funded for projects related to enhancing research on renewable energy topics at K-State, to expand the current research base at K-State, and to encourage new research clusters addressing issues related to renewable energy. Assistantships are granted based on strength and relevance of the research projects proposed for the students.