Bioprocessing Overview

At RBI, bioprocessing can be defined as the chemical, biological or mechanical processing of forest biomass into value added products.  It includes the development of sustainable manufacturing processes to produce new value-added products from forest biomass.  Our researchers are particularly interested in addressing the fundamental and manufacturing challenges for future high margin/high volume products from forest biomaterials.

Some of our research includes particular focus and expertise in pyrolysis and gasification. RBI leverages its unusual blend of fundamental and applied research in a unique relationship between industry and academia. A multidisciplinary approach engages, for example, chemical engineers with knowledge of chemistry and material science. And everything the institute does with industry stands to benefit from its endowed faculty and student research – liberating those experts to plan multi-year pursuits.

RBI faculty and students – who have worked exhaustively with industry and in fundamental science – are well known for their ability to characterize starting materials and technologies in pretreatment, enzymatic deconstruction and fermentation. RBI draws upon a long history in woody biomass research – especially southern pine – for deconstruction. The institute’s thermal conversion expertise grows out of a history of gasification of forest products for biofuels in traditional pulp and paper industries. The chemical upgrading required for pyrolysis is also a strength in chemical engineering and chemistry at Georgia Tech.


Donggang Yao
Materials Science and Engineering
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