The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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The breakthrough reported by Paul Dauenhauer of the Chemical Engineering Department in the January 2012 issue of the journal Energy & Environmental Science and later highlighted in Nature Chemistry has been covered in many scientific websites and magazines, including Ethanol Producer Magazine, Science Daily,

Think of the chemical reactions that turn wood into sustainable biofuel as the brackets for March Madness. And think of the molecules produced by those chemical reactions as the teams inside the brackets. Until now, chemical engineers couldn’t even chart the brackets, much less fill in the teams. All those reactions were so complex that engineers didn’t have a clue what was happening inside a biomass reactor.

A new biofuels breakthrough by the research team of Paul Dauenhauer, Chemical Engineering Department, was published in Energy & Environmental Science, Issue 1, 2012, the number-one-ranking journal in the world for its subject matter.

Paul Dauenhauer, chemical engineering, was interviewed in Nature Chemistry on January 13 about why he chose chemistry as a career and some of his personal preferences in reading, music, and whom he would like to meet. Dauenhauer works on high temperature chemistries of biopolymer/biomass conversion to fuel and chemical feedstocks.

The new breakthrough by George Huber and his research team in the Chemical Engineering Department is making headlines around the world. Huber’s team, using a catalytic fast pyrolysis process that transforms renewable non-food biomass into petrochemicals, has developed a new catalyst that boosts the yield for five key “building blocks of the chemical industry” by 40 percent compared to previous methods.

Michael Henson, a faculty member in the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the director of the campus Center for Process Design and Control, plays a key role in a four-year, $950,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study the 24-hour circadian rhythm, or “body clock,” in humans. Professor Henson’s research for this four-school collaborative project involves creating mathematical models of circadian rhythm generation to better understand sleep disorders and other diseases triggered by malfunction of the 24-hour body clock.

Paul Dauenhauer of the Chemical Engineering Department and the Catalysis Center for Energy Innovation, an Energy Frontier Research Center supported by the U.S. Department of Energy and led by the University of Delaware, has been selected as a keynote speaker at the 22nd International Symposium on Chemical Reaction Engineering (ISCRE 22) to be held in Maastricht, the Netherlands, from September 2 to 5 in 2012. Dr.

Chemical engineers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, using their own licensed catalytic fast pyrolysis process for transforming renewable non-food biomass into petrochemicals, have developed a new catalyst that boosts the yield for five key “building blocks of the chemical industry” by a remarkable 40 percent over previous catalysts. This sustainable production process, which promises to be competitive and compatible with the current petroleum refinery infrastructure, has been tested and proven in a laboratory reactor, using wood as the feedstock.

Two students in the Chemical Engineering (ChE) Department, doctoral candidate Bhushan Toley and undergraduate Dan Ganz, were the principal authors for a research paper appearing in the Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE), the first peer reviewed, PubMed indexed journal devoted to the publication of biological, medical, chemical, and physical research in a video format. The article is entitled “Microfluidic Device for Recreating a Tumor Microenvironment in Vitro.” Besides Toley and Ganz, the other authors were Colin Walsh, who was an undergraduate student at UMass (B.S.

The UMass Amherst chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) wound up with a memorable visit to the AIChE Annual Student Conference, held from October 14 to 17 in Minneapolis. Our campus chapter sent 10 students there from our Chemical Engineering Department, and many of them came home with honors. Thomas Gostanian finished third out of 200 entries in the poster competition. Jean Smith won a national AIChE Freshman Recognition Award. Spencer Wyant won the AIChE Sophomore Academic Excellence Award.


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