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Wayne State to Open Biofuel Lab

Wayne State to Open Biofuel Lab

Wayne State University, in a partnership with a nonprofit, Michigan-based alternative fuel research organization, will open the National Biofuel Energy Lab by the end of this year, say university officials. Based in Detroit’s TechTown research park, the biofuel technology development lab will be a first for Michigan and was made possible through a $2 million U.S. Department of Energy grant.

The lab is being developed by Wayne State and the NextEnergy organization as part of that group’s Biodiesel Value Chain Initiative. The initiative by NextEnergy specializes in research and biodiesel use development, including agricultural methods to grow energy crops, to optimize fuel and to innovate biodiesel production. NextEnergy is a nonprofit corporation that was established to enable the commercialization of energy technologies, which contribute to economic competitiveness and energy security.

“The National Biofuel Energy Lab provides Wayne State University faculty and students with the type of cutting-edge research opportunity I envisioned when NextEnergy decided to locate its offices in TechTown. We look forward to an exciting partnership with NextEnergy on this project,” says Wayne State President Irvin D. Reid.

Biodiesel is fuel made from renewable resources, such as vegetable oil, which can either be recycled from restaurants or derived from organically grown crops, such as soybeans and sunflower. It is biodegradable and nontoxic and has significantly fewer emissions than petroleum-based fuel when burned. Wayne State University professors, graduate students and doctoral candidates from the school’s College of Engineering will conduct the day-to-day research and experiments at the NextEnergy Center. WSU College of Engineering professors Dr. Simon Ng and Dr. Naeim Henein will manage lab activity.

“We are excited to be partnering with Wayne State University in opening the National Biofuel Energy Lab. This lab will provide a much-needed biodiesel knowledge base, forming a solid technical foundation for the development of future fuels of this type,” says James Croce, CEO of NextEnergy.

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