Auburn biosystems engineering project receives $700k in ADECA funding

Published: Dec 7, 2021 9:27 AM

By Virginia Speirs

Five universities across the state of Alabama were awarded a portion of a $4.8 million award given by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs out of the Alabama Research and Development Enhancement Fund.

Out of this amount, the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering was awarded $1.6 million for various projects. Sushil Adhikari, professor of biosystems engineering and director of the Center for Bioenergy and Bioproducts, was awarded over $700,000 for the project “Advanced Liquid Transportation Fuels from Co-Liquefaction of Forest Biomass and Waste Plastics”.

“Our project is focused on converting forest biomass and plastic waste into transportation fuels,” Adhikari said. “Alabama is rich in forest resources, whereas most of the plastics we discard end up in landfills, which is an environmental nuisance.”

Most of the money will be used to recruit graduate students and postdocs who will be working on this project, according to Adhikari. Some money will be used to purchase major pieces of research equipment to build AU’s research infrastructure for biomass and plastic pyrolysis.

“The research will be focused on developing a process that would require lower capital and operating cost for biomass liquefaction, catalysts for the production of jet and diesel fuels, and a pathway for recycling waste plastics for the production of liquid fuels along with woody biomass,” Adhikari said.

The project team will leverage existing infrastructure and expertise at the Center for Bioenergy and Bioproducts at Auburn, according to Adhikari.

“We have been working on converting biomass into energy for a long time, and receiving funding from ADECA to advance the process shows the importance of this research for our state,” Adhikari said.

Media Contact: Cassie Montgomery,, 334.844.3668
Sushil Adhikari

Sushil Adhikari

Recent Headlines