N.C. A&T Professor Secures $2 Million Grant to Convert Bio-Waste to Fuel

GREENSBORO, N.C. (Oct. 9, 2017) – Chemistry professor Debasish Kuila, Ph.D., has been working on a way to convert animal and food waste to carbon-neutral gasoline. Now, thanks to the University of North Carolina (UNC) System’s Research Opportunities Initiative (ROI), he has a $2 million grant to help.

Kuila, together with his interdisciplinary team, has been working to develop a sustainable technology that will lower the environmental footprint and subsequently the costs of the agricultural enterprise while generating fuel of immediate value to farmers.

“Treating and disposing of bio-waste is an expensive, pervasive and challenging issue for North Carolina farmers,” explains Dr. Kuila. “The fact we can make needed fuel from bio-waste minimizes environmental issues and cost with an incentive for more state-wide biogas production and its utilization.”

The project will demonstrate proof-of-concept for a highly efficient, modular gas-to-liquids (M-GTL) technology that uses solar energy to convert biogas, i.e. animal and food waste, to gasoline. The resulting M-GTL prototype will be used to attract robust private and public funding for scale-up and commercialization.

Kuila’s team includes Shyam Aravamudhan, Ph.D., of the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoenegineering, Lijun Wang, Ph.D. of the Department of Biological Engineering at N.C. A&T, Michel Gagne, Ph.D. in the Department of Chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Fanxing Li, Ph.D., and Milad Abolhasani, Ph.D. of the Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at North Carolina State University.

The team also includes industry/institute collaborators Maverick Synfuels, C2 Energy, Eastman Chemical Company, Alpha-Omega Power Technologies and the Kenan Institute for Engineering, Technology and Science. Eastman Chemical and the Kenan Institute are providing financial support to the effort.

About Debasish Kuila, Ph.D.

At North Carolina A&T State University, Debasish Kuila, Ph.D. is the research director of the NSF CREST Bioenergy Center and a professor of chemistry. He is also an adjunct professor of nanoengineering at the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering and an adjunct professor at the Wake Forest School of Medicine.

About North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University is the nation’s largest historically black university. It is a land-grant, higher-research classified university by the Carnegie Foundation and constituent member of the University of North Carolina system. A&T is known for its leadership in producing graduates in engineering, agriculture and other STEM fields. The university was founded in 1891 and is located in Greensboro, North Carolina.

About The UNC Research Opportunities Initiative

The UNC Research Opportunities Initiative (ROI) provides targeted funding for innovative and potentially game-changing research projects. Funded by a recurring annual appropriation from the North Carolina General Assembly, the ROI represents a significant financial investment in the UNC system’s strategic goals. Priority areas for UNC ROI include pharmacoengineering, advanced manufacturing, energy, data science, coastal/marine science, and defense/military/security