Bio-based Energy and Materials

UAA School of Engineering, through a strategic partnership with the UAF Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station (AFES)-School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences has an active research agenda in the areas of renewable based hydrocarbons for the development of fuels and material products that can offset petrochemical feedstocks. The goal of this research program is to investigate novel and nascent thermochemical conversion technologies, using available biomass resources, to produce liquid and gaseous phase hydrocarbons and developing the tools to transform these bio-based feedstocks into finished products that are compatible with existing infrastructure. The work integrates aspects of science and engineering through: 1) Experimentation- this is the fundamental approach to the work, primarily in proof-of-concept, 2) design, fabrication and modifications of reactor vessels, 3) mathematical optimization of reactor vessels, 4) experimental design, 5) instrumental analysis (e.g. chromatography, spectroscopy, elemental composition, calorimetry, biomass compositional analysis, proximal analysis of products), 6) Catalytic upgrading into final hydrocarbon product, or product feedstock and 7) Environmental impact evaluation. Current projects include:

  • Catalytic upgrading of Bio-oil. USDA NIFA
  • Carbohydrate Transformation of Alaskan Potatoes. USDA Agricultural Research Service
  • Gasification of fish wastes. USDA Agricultural Research Service
  • Development of low NOx biodiesel. Western Sungrant
  • Moisture content determination of fire-killed trees. USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Station
  • Wood Utilization Research Project- Bio-products module. USDA CSREES
  • Fast rotation woody crops. Joint project with the State of Alaska Plant Materials Center. Matanuska Susitna Borough Economic Development Office Seed Grant.

Contact Dr. J. Andres Soria, Assistant Professor and Director of the Renewable Based Hydrocarbon Laboratory for more details.

Dr. Soria’s Webpage:

Renewable Based Hydrocarbon Lab Webpage (active, but still work in progress):