Washington Sun Grant News

Canola fields on the Columbia

Canola fields along the Columbia River

Hybrid poplar

Hybrid poplar plantings

Canola farm

Canola farm

Washington State has one of the most comprehensive biofuel and bioproduct research and outreach programs in the Western Region, centered at Washington State University and administered through the WSU Center for Bioproducts and Bioenergy (CBB). WSU research and outreach on Sun Grant-related topics span four key areas: (1) biomass residues to products and fuels; (2) crop feedstock improvement and production; (3) biobased engineered materials; and (4) analysis of bioproducts and biofuels. 

Specific projects involve the areas of biodiesel and ethanol production, anaerobic digestion, bioenergy inventory assessments, polymer/wood composites, and bioproducts ranging from omega-3 fatty acids derived from glycerin to nisin and lactic acid from cheese whey and pharmaceuticals derived from genetically modified barley.

Key components working under the CBB umbrella are the Agri-Environmental and Bioproducts Engineering Research Group housed in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering, the Wood Materials and Engineering Laboratory housed within the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the Institute of Biological Chemistry and Department of Crop and Soil Sciences both housed within the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Resources Sciences and the Bioproducts, Sciences and Engineering Laboratory located in the Tri-Cites which is a joint collaboration pilot-scale research facility housing both WSU and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) personnel.  

WSU faculty and staff participate actively in bioproduct policy and planning bodies at the national, regional, and state level with WSU serving as the Washington project leader of the six-state Pacific Regional Biomass Energy Partnership. WSU Extension, particularly through the efforts of the WSU Energy Program and Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources, play a vital role with the CBB in disseminating material and technologies throughout the state and region.