UC Davis

Resarch Areas

Process and Systems Engineering

Goal: To develop and scale-up well-integrated processes and systems that will result in economically viable, globally competitive, energy efficient, and sustainable conversion technology for production of bioenergy and high value-added biorefinery products from renewable bioresources.

Description: A wide range of renewable bioresources are being discovered and developed for production of biofuel and high value-added biorefinery products. It is critically important to develop well-integrated new process technologies that will more efficiently convert renewable feedstocks to bioenergy and biorefinery products to significantly reduce demand for petroleum and replace petroleum derived products. Renewable bioresources include agricultural crops and residues, forest residues and thinnings, mill and factory residues, dedicated energy crops, animal residues, urban residues and wastes, other plant material, microbes, and other feedstock materials derived from these. Increasingly in the future, these will have to be converted to biofuel and other value-added products using well-integrated chemical, biochemical, and thermal processes combined with biorefinery, recovery, and purification process technologies. The new process technologies to be developed must be based on good understanding of fundamental principles of conversion processes involving chemical, enzymatic, catalytic, and thermal reactions as well as understanding of special properties of the feedstocks and products. The energy efficiency, process economy, process variable sensitivity, and environmental impact will have to be evaluated for the conversion process technologies to be developed as integrated systems. Systems analysis will be an important component of scaling-up and optimization of integrated processes. All new biofuel products need be characterized for their properties in order to assure their functional performance that will be superior or equivalent to the existing petroleum derived fuels for specific applications. The biorefinery process technology to be developed will also allow multiple bioresource feedstocks and co-products from the bioenergy process to be converted to a wide range of value-added products. As biofuels and bioproducts develop, other technologies will evolve to make best use of them. Thus, for example, engine and automotive technology will change to make optimum use of new fuels and bioproducts. This implies, on a longer time scale, fundamental science and engineering challenges in many fields.

Projects

Controlled In-Planta Expression of Hemicellulose Degrading Enzymes - Overcoming Recalcitrance of Cellulosic Biomass

People

Bruce Hartsoughbrhartsough@ucdavis.eduWebsite
You-Lo Hsiehylhsieh@ucdavis.eduWebsite
Dewey Ryuddyryu@ucdavis.eduWebsite
Pieter Stroevepstroeve@ucdavis.eduWebsite
Karen McDonaldkamcdonald@ucdavis.eduWebsite
Tingrui Pantingrui@ucdavis.eduWebsite
Jean VanderGheynstjsvander@ucdavis.eduWebsite
Roger Boultonrbboulton@ucdavis.eduWebsite
Nael El-Farranhelfarra@ucdavis.eduWebsite