RII Project Team members, January 2017
The Collaborative Research Group of four universities received a $6 million research grant from the National Science Foundation. Students and faculty will use the grant to research creative and cheap ways to reduce climate change, improve energy efficiency and reduce water and air pollution, according to the university.
The motivation of forming the joint research group has arisen from the ongoing collaboration between Jackson State University (JSU) and the University of Wyoming (UW) on education and training of underrepresented minority students and research, and prompted by taking advantage of the strength of the unique research expertise of each institution of the Collaborative Research, namely:
1) UW’s transformational biorefinery technology;
2) Groundbreaking biochar research at the University of Mississippi (UM);
3) Creative food and water resource research at the University of Delaware (UD) and JSU;
4) The successful nanomaterial and photochemistry research related to food and water applications (experimental and theoretical) at JSU and UD.
The co-principal investigators on the project are Ole Miss Chemical Engineering professors Wei-Yin Chen and Nosa Egiebor. The grant will fund Ole Miss’ research to produce a material that can be used to treat water from biomass that would be otherwise wasted. They will be taking the organic material and make biochar, which can be activated and used to clean contaminated or polluted water.
Dr. Chen is on the energy side of the grant. He is looking at different ways of treating the biochar to give it more energy content. The goal is for it to be used as a renewable source since it is coming from biological materials:
People in chemistry are studying how these materials react with each other and how they behave when you add a variety of treatments to them.
Egiebor’s research specialty is water and waste reduction. From his end, the focus is using the same resources and to be able to use it to treat water:
The National Science Foundation believed that the universities have the capability to fabricate a program that will benefit to all (scientific) subjects. It is potentially an excellent project for the state of Mississippi because it provides support to explore the development of neo-energy technology.