The WSU-PNNL Bioproducts Institute offers collaborative research, specialized facilities, career opportunities, and educational and training programs for researchers and students. The joint Institute also opens additional collaboration opportunities with industry sectors including agricultural and dairy producers, food processors, and technology developers.
WSU is a land-grant university with an international reputation in agricultural research and engineering; strong relationships with regional agricultural producers and U.S. Department of Agriculture; national research programs in aviation biofuels; expertise in bio-based structural materials and properties; and indoor/outdoor test beds for plant growth and analysis.
Institute partners can access the Bioproducts, Sciences, and Engineering Laboratory (BSEL), a signature facility on the WSU Tri-Cities campus. There, WSU and PNNL conduct targeted research to develop, demonstrate, and commercialize bioproducts, bioprocesses, and bioenergy. BSEL’s high bay is available for integrating and scaling processing steps for converting biomass to fuels and chemicals. BSEL also houses classrooms, teaching and research labs, and office space for PNNL researchers and WSU faculty and graduate students.
WSU and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology co-lead the Center of Excellence for Alternative Jet Fuels and the Environment, a public-private partnership. WSU also offers many other specialized laboratories and equipment for biomaterials innovation. Participants in the Composite Materials & Engineering Center, for example, work with industry partners to develop new building materials and innovative structural systems from sustainable resources.
Graduate students nominated annually by WSU faculty and PNNL researchers can participate in the PNNL-WSU Distinguished Graduate Research Program. The collaborative program is available to Ph.D. students and offers opportunities in biofuels, bioproducts, catalysis, and other areas.
PNNL offers recognized leadership and innovation in condensed phase catalysis and fungal microbial systems for converting highly oxygenated waste streams to biofuels and high-value chemicals; strong links from fundamental science to applied technology; specialized facilities and analytical instruments; and strategic, economic, and lifecycle analysis capabilities.
At PNNL’s Institute for Integrated Catalysis, more than 120 scientists and engineers conduct collaborative research and development in catalysts for a resilient and carbon-neutral energy future. This collaboration integrates state-of-the-art instruments and cutting-edge calculations, modeling, and simulation to design, synthesize, characterize, and deploy sustainable and economically viable catalysts with application to industry and transportation.
The Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL), a DOE scientific user facility on the PNNL campus, offers a broad range of experimental resources to collaborators worldwide. EMSL houses extensive surface science capabilities that allow for the design of model catalysts and supports their atomically resolved imaging, kinetic studies, and the synthesis of heterogeneous catalysts. At PNNL’s Marine Sciences Laboratory on Sequim Bay in Washington state, researchers use indoor and outdoor ponds under controlled conditions to identify novel microalgae strains with superior biomass and lipid productivities.
Institute participants may have the opportunity to work with private industry to translate scientific discoveries into deployable technologies. For example, Archer Daniels Midland licensed an award-winning catalytic process from PNNL as the foundation for its plant-based propylene glycol products. Genifuel Corporation’s manufacturing plants use a PNNL process that converts wet organic waste, including waste water sludge, into renewable fuels and other valuable products. PNNL integrated its catalysis technology with LanzaTech’s waste gas fermentation technology to develop a process that produces high performing jet fuel from steel mill waste gas.
Hundreds of graduate students and post-doctoral researchers come through PNNL’s doors every year, in biology, chemistry, chemical engineering, and other areas of research and technology. Check out opportunities for joint appointments, faculty, graduate students, and post graduates, as well as PNNL’s Institutional Postdoc Program. PNNL employs more than 4,000 scientists, engineers, and other professionals who support national missions in fundamental science, energy, and security. Learn about jobs at PNNL.