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Graduate Defense: Rahul Kancharla

August 26 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm MDT

Dissertation Information

Title: Rapid, Reliable Tissue Fractionation Algorithm for Commerical Scale Biorefineries

Program: Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical and Computer Engineering

Advisor: Dr. Elisa Barney Smith, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Committee Members: William A. Smith, M.S., Electrical and Computer Engineering, Dr. Joshua J. Kane, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Dr. Jennifer Smith, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Dr. Nader Rafla, Electrical and Computer Engineering


Increasing demand, limited supply, and the impact on the environment raise significant concerns about the consumption of fossil fuels. Because of this, global economies are facing two significant energy challenges: i) securing the supply of reliable and affordable energy and ii) achieving the transformation to a low-carbon, high-efficiency, and sustainable energy system. Recently, there has been growing interest in developing portable transportation fuels from biomass in order to reduce the petroleum consumption in the transportation sector – a major contributor to greenhouse gas emission. A cost-effective conversion process to produce biofuels from lignocellulosic biomass material relies not just on the material quality, but also on the biorefinery’s ability to measure the quality of the biomass. The quality of the feedstock is crucial for a commercially viable conversion platform. This research mainly focuses on developing sensing techniques using x-ray imaging to study quality factors like material composition, ash content and moisture content which effect the conversion efficiency, equipment wear, and product yield in the bioethanol production in a real-time or near real-time basis.