Bioproducts Institute

Bioproducts are materials, chemicals, and energy derived from renewable biological resources, such as crop residues, forestry byproducts, and even waste gases, water sludge, or manure. Products made from these feedstocks range from structured materials to chemicals and are used in applications from personal care to specialty products. Examples include:

  • Structural and lightweighting materials used in low-energy buildings and vehicles
  • Lubes, deicers, and heat transfer fluids that support trucking, aviation, and cars
  • Targeted fuels with properties to improve efficiency and reduce emissions in aviation and trucking
  • Replacements for petrochemicals that go into products ranging from polymers to coatings
  • Non-toxic intermediates used in personal care and food packaging
  • Nutrients that can be used in agriculture to improve soil and retain water.

The ability to produce bioproducts benefits the entire value chain. Bioproducts give agricultural entities additional markets for their commodities, byproducts, and waste materials. Bioproducts provide chemical companies additional “green” feedstocks and product lines. State and federal governments support the economic and environmental benefits of using renewable resources to produce high-value products.

Combining Resources for Impact

The WSU-PNNL Bioproducts Institute is developing processes that convert underused resources and wastes into materials and chemicals that ultimately become part of energy, transportation, and consumer products. The Institute develops a full understanding of the lifecycle of bioproducts, from alternative uses of the resources, to recycling/remanufacturing opportunities and disposition of the final bioproduct.

The Institute combines complementary expertise from PNNL and WSU in the fields of:

  • Sustainability, economic, and resource analysis
  • Plant sciences
  • Biotechnology
  • Chemistry and catalysis
  • Chemical, environmental, and civil engineering.

Researchers focus on resources that are unconventional, underused, and often present challenges to agriculture and industry. Such resources range from alternative rotation crops—which improve land quality—to classical waste streams that help industry and communities reduce their waste burdens and meet sustainability goals.

The Institute achieves its mission through collaborative research and training programs carried out in unique facilities at the various WSU and PNNL campuses. It leverages ongoing collaborations between WSU and PNNL staff and students, including the Institute for Integrated Catalysis (IIC) at PNNL, the Bioproducts, Sciences, and Engineering Laboratory (BSEL) on the WSU Tri-Cities campus, and the PACCAR Environmental Engineering Building on the WSU Pullman campus.

The Institute will increase PNNL-WSU joint appointments and the mentorship pool for WSU graduate students, while building the pipeline of scientists and engineers for the future workforce.


Joshua Heyne

Co-Director, Bioproducts Institute

Director, Bioproducts Science and Engineering Laboratory, WSU Tri-Cities

Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, WSU Tri-Cities

Scientist, Energy and Environment Directorate, PNNL

Corinne Fuller

Co-Director, Bioproducts Institute

Market Sector Lead for Bioenergy and Bioproducts Technologies, PNNL