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Richard Venditti

Elis Signe Olsson Professor

Elis-Signe Olsson Professor of Pulp and Paper Science and Technology

Biltmore Hall (Robertson Wing) NA

Bio

Dr. Richard Venditti’s is the Elis-Signe Olsson Professor of Pulp and Paper Science and Engineering in the Forest Biomaterials Department at NCSU.  He has 26 years of experience in research in the areas of pulp/paper, bioeconomy, recycling, and environmental LCA. His research and teaching is involved in developing effective systems to transform renewable plant based resources into sustainable products. Venditti uses environmental life cycle analysis to guide and analyze research in bioproducts.   He is currently heading a multi-organization research project to understand the fate of microparticles from laundering in the environment.  He also is the principal investigator of a four year, $2.75 million United States Department of Agriculture program, entitled, Preparing Diverse and Rural Students and Teachers to Meet the Challenges of the Bioproducts and Bioenergy Industry.  Venditti teaches Unit Operations of Pulp and Paper, Process Control, Environmental LCA, and Introduction to the Bioeconomy classes at NC State.

Additionally, Dr. Venditti is the director of the Pulp and Paper Workshop at NC State, co-sponsored by the Technical Association of Pulp and Paper Industries (TAPPI).  He teaches the paper recycling portions of the course. He received a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University, was named a TAPPI Fellow in 2012, and was named a Fulbright Senior Specialist in Environmental Science in 2009.  He has over 150 peer reviewed publications and three patents. The Venditti-Gillham Equation was derived by Venditti to predict the glass transition temperature as a function of chemical conversion in polymeric systems and is often cited by name, with over 120 citations.  His technology was the catalyst of a start-up company, Tethis, that produces renewable products such as superabsorbent polymers from carbohydrates.

Area(s) of Expertise

Processing and utilization of natural polymers in new products and fuels, biodegradation of biopolymers, microfibers from laundering, the fundamentals of separation science in fiber processing, paper and cotton recycling, and the environmental life cycle analysis

Publications

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Grants

Date: 02/06/19 - 2/05/29
Amount: $15,960.00
Funding Agencies: International Corrugated Packing Foundation (ICPF)

Our proposal will address all three ICPF priority areas. We will ensure that students learn and perform structural design, prototyping, and techno-economic analysis to understand how design, material types/additives, and processes (analog vs. digital) affects product performances, economics, and sustainability aspect. We will also encourage students to take elective courses in sales and marketing.

Date: 07/01/21 - 6/30/26
Amount: $238,500.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA)

Interdisciplinary Doctoral Education Program will be created to focus on Renewable Polymer production using Forest Resources to Replace Plastics. PDs from three colleges will work together to train three Ph.D. students.

Date: 01/01/22 - 12/31/25
Amount: $2,998,710.00
Funding Agencies: National Science Foundation (NSF)

The objective of this proposal is to realize a circular economic system for manufacturing of soft electronics where a coordinated set of sustainable manufacturing processes and a select group of novel biodegradable and reusable materials are seamlessly integrated. It is anticipated that all components of the device can be either biodegraded or recycled/reused, and the project will explore different end-of-life pathways from both technical, economic, and environmental perspectives (e.g., through life cycle assessment and techno-economic analysis). Our team has faculty members from mechanical engineering, chemistry, chemical engineering, Industrial Engineering, and sustainable engineering, allowing us to propose a hybrid approach from material design/synthesis all the way to device manufacturing.

Date: 06/30/20 - 12/31/24
Amount: $27,222.00
Funding Agencies: VentureWell (formerly know as National Collegiate Inventors & Innovators Alliance)

Abstract: With the inevitable coming of the Green Economy, biomass valorization, use of renewable and bio-based materials and development of high-performance, recyclable, biodegradable and biocompatible products are nowadays’ challenges and opportunities to welcome a more sustainable society. Yet, to hasten its arrival, we must answer the daunting question of how we transform these challenges to opportunities? By educating new generations of students to the multiplicity of opportunities or “multiverse” of biomass, from a scientific and engineering perspective to an entrepreneurial vision. The Department of Forest Biomaterials has decades of expertise in conversion and valorization of biomass into new fuels/energies and high-performance biomaterials that offer solutions to greenhouse gas emissions, environmental and aquatic pollution and waste accumulation.We propose to leverage our graduate curriculum by adding an entrepreneurial and business competency to its strong scientific and engineering core. Our envisioned integrated program aims at educating Master and PhD students from NC State University, and others (via an online version) by training them in the principles, practices and methodologies of biomass valorization, conversion, and usage.

Date: 11/15/18 - 11/14/23
Amount: $238,500.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA)

The objective of this proposal is to develop an education program for a new generation of researchers who understand the entire spectrum of biomass oligosaccharide production, animal production, and its analysis through a life cycle approach. Faculty members from two departments are proposing to create joint doctoral education program to address this Targeted Expertise Shortage Area (Animal Production) with Relevant Disciplines of (A) Animal Science, (B) Biotechnology, and (C) Renewable Natural Resources.Five focus areas are (1) Biomass oligosaccharide production; (2) Purification of xylose oligosaccharide; (3) Manufacturing and processing of animal feed; (4) Animal feeding and management; and (5) Life cycle Analysis. This program incorporates cross-disciplinary teamwork/advising, coursework in multiple disciplines, Preparing Future Leaders program, internship at a commercial farm, and exposure to biotechnology experts in industry.

Date: 10/01/18 - 9/30/23
Amount: $1,250,807.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Energy (DOE) - Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE)

The objective of this project is to demonstrate catalytic processes for upgrading carbohydrates to hydrocarbon biofuels using two low-cost wet organic waste streams: Papermaking sludge and Post-sorted municipal solid waste. The work is based on the previous success of hydrocarbon production from corn stover in a bench scale via dilute-acid and enzymatic deconstruction followed by dehydration to furans, condensation, and hydrodeoxygenation to hydrocarbons. The project team will develop (1) a sugar production process and a removal strategy of non-carbohydrates that could poison catalysts during the conversion process, (2) isomerization and dehydration processes necessary to convert both glucose and xylose to furans in a single reactor, (3) an upgrading process of furans via aldol condensation with ketone and hydrodeoxygenation to diesel range hydrocarbons, and (4) a detailed techno-economic analysis to integrate and optimize the overall process. The developed process in this project will be demonstrated in a relevant pilot-scale and life cycle assessment will be evaluated.

Date: 08/01/20 - 7/31/23
Amount: $300,000.00
Funding Agencies: Alliance for Pulp & Paper Technology Innovation (formerly Agenda 2020 Technology Alliance)

The most salient cost factors for paper manufacture are fibers and drying energy. There are continued efforts in the paper industry to move towards lower grammage sheets (especially in the packaging arena) and higher machine speeds to increase productivity while conserving resources and energy. The proposed project will address the critical need for innovation in the dewatering of the paper web to maximize its solids after wet pressing through changes that result from a better understanding of equilibrium moisture and bound water, thus reducing energy consumption in the drying section while maintaining desired paper attributes.

Date: 06/15/17 - 6/14/23
Amount: $2,750,000.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA)

The project will prepare a diverse group of college students and high school teachers with the knowledge and interdisciplinary tools necessary to advance the future of America’s bioenergy, bioproducts, and the bioeconomy. Distance courses will be developed and taught by faculty in the Departments of Forest Biomaterials & Environmental Resources, with guidance from the College of Education, undergraduate students are recruited from historically underserved institutions (HBCU, women’s college, community college), as are teachers from rural, high poverty NC high schools. Undergraduates will complete three of the five online courses in bioenergy & bioproducts, and complete an industry internship, and earn a certificate. Bioproducts and bioenergy industrial and research organization partners provide hands-on internship projects in the industry or in a research setting. Rural high school science teachers will complete three of the five online courses, earn a certificate, participate in professional development workshops, carry out lessons with their students during the school year, and conduct a career fair in bioproducts and bioenergy.

Date: 04/01/22 - 3/30/23
Amount: $107,709.00
Funding Agencies: Eastman Chemical Company

The objective of this proposed research is to appreciate the biodegradation process in nature with regards to natural materials (chemically unprocessed by man), bio-based man-made industrial materials, and synthetic materials by understanding the role of molecular composition and molecular structure and their interactions with naturally available microorganisms. The project will initiate with a literature review and based on the results will progress into a designed laboratory scale biodegradation experiment on a wide variety of natural, biobased man-made, and synthetic materials.

Date: 10/01/19 - 12/31/22
Amount: $165,000.00
Funding Agencies: Environmental Research & Education Foundation

Abstract: The overall goal of the project is to develop systems to effectively utilize low-grade paper wastes in innovative, recognizable containerboard and pulp molded products in order to increase and stabilize the demand for low-grade paper waste products. This project will also evaluate the marketing potential of these new products. We will first evaluate the product performance of using low-grade paper wastes in containerboard and pulp molded product applications. A series of recycled products with varying concentrations of visible contaminants will be evaluated. We will then perform a sustainability evaluation on the new products. This would include environmental and economic evaluations. This will be followed by the evaluation of the desirability of having such products from the perspective of companies that utilize these containers to ship their products. This will be done through interviews/surveys of retail companies. We then will define the marketing advantages of these container products with respect to the general public, understanding the public’s level of preference for such containers and the ability of the container to develop strong positive brand identity with the public. This will be done through panel evaluations. We will then disseminate the results through peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations.


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