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CREST Bioenergy Center

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

NSF Grantees’ Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.423.1 - 26.423.11



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Paper Authors


Keith A. Schimmel North Carolina A&T State University Orcid 16x16

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Keith Schimmel is an Associate Professor of chemical engineering, Chair of the Energy and Environmental
Systems Department, and Education Director for the NSF CREST Bioenergy Center at North Carolina A&T State University.

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Ghasem Shahbazi North Carolina A&T State University

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Shamsuddin Ilias North Carolina A&T State University

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Lijun Wang North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

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CREST Bioenergy CenterBiomass ranks fourth in world-wide resources for energy following oil, coal, and natural gas.Thus, the production of energy from biomass has been recognized as an important step towardssustainable energy development. In recent years, most of the attention for renewablehydrocarbon biofuels has gone to cellulosic ethanol. However, thermochemically derivedbiofuels have a number of advantages over cellulosic ethanol including flexibility in choice offeedstock, use of whole biomass, and the ability to produce drop-in transportation fuels. As aconsequence of the lower investment in thermochemical biofuels than in cellulosic ethanol,research on thermochemical routes to generate biofuels is greatly needed for the widespreadimplementation of the next generation of hydrocarbon biorefineries. The NSF funded CRESTBioenergy Center at North Carolina A&T State University (NCAT) is an educational andresearch resource in the field of thermochemical conversion of biomass to bioenergy that ispreparing students to meet this global challenge. In addition to three core research thrust areas,the center has an economics cross-cutting research and education initiative.The educational program of the center emphasizes mentoring to develop underrepresentedstudents in core science and engineering areas relevant to bioenergy. The degree programsassociated with the center are the interdisciplinary energy and environmental systems PhD(sustainable bioproducts concentration); nanoengineering PhD; and BS and MS programs inchemistry, chemical engineering, biological engineering, and mathematics. The objectives of thecenter’s educational and outreach activities include to: 1) establish scholarships in bioenergy forgraduate and undergraduate students, 2) establish a sustainable educational and research programin sciences and engineering related to bioenergy that is integrated into undergraduate researchand graduate theses and dissertation projects, 3) partner with current K-12 summer camps atNCAT, 4) develop and implement a coordinated program for recruiting students, 5) provideopportunities for NCAT faculty members and students to spend time at industrial andgovernment labs, and 6) create an interdisciplinary community of learning, discovery, andengagement at NCAT that will promote excellence and internal and external collaboration in thebioenergy area.This paper will present survey and focus group assessment and evaluation of Bioenergy Centeractivities impacting student skill development needed to address the engineering challenges ofour age. Stakeholders included in the data collection include undergraduate students, MSstudents, PhD students, post-docs, faculty members, internal advisory board members, andexternal advisory board members. Skill development studied include knowledge of areas ofresearch related to bioenergy, knowledge of careers related to bioenergy, technical writing skills,technical presentation skills, awareness of ethics in research, data analysis skills, ability to workcollaboratively in teams, ability to properly design and conduct an experiment, leadership skills,and ability to think creatively.

Schimmel, K. A., & Shahbazi, G., & Ilias, S., & Wang, L. (2015, June), CREST Bioenergy Center Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23762

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