NARA researcher Xiao Zhang received a $500,000 five-year Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program award from the National Science Foundation to develop ways to convert lignin into long chained hydrocarbons that could be used for fuel. For more information, read the article posted in the WSU news.
Xiao’s team contributed greatly to NARA’s efforts to determine the variability among Douglas-fir trees regarding their chemical makeup and their resistance to pretreatment. His team is also contributing to co-product development by investigating a conversion pathway from lignin to dicarboxylic acids. Extending this line of research through the NSF grants should provide real breakthroughs for commercial use of lignin.