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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 - 12/31/23
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: 10/01/19 - 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.

Date: 01/01/21 - 12/31/22
Amount: $200,388.00
Funding Agencies: Cotton, Inc.

We are continuing our efforts to develop both fundamental and applied research to understand the effect of physico-chemical deconstruction treatments on recycled textiles to facilitate enzymatic digestibility and optimize the production of bio-based building blocks to manufacture value-added chemicals. In the second phase of this project, our goal is to perform a pilot trial demonstration in addition to study the issues of using more complex textiles (e.g., polyester-cotton blends). Furthermore, we will execute a thorough review on glucose-derived chemicals to identify one or two high-value/low-volume bio-chemicals and produce those from cotton-based sugars.

Date: 10/01/21 - 9/30/22
Amount: $0.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Energy (DOE) - Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE)

This project will focus on rapid/real-time analysis of domestic heterogeneous municipal biomass waste utilizing AI-Enabled Hyperspectral Imaging for developing conversion ready feedstock into cost effective and sustainable biofuel for selling price under $2.50 per gallon gasoline equivalent (GGE) by 2030. Municipal solid waste (MSW) is considered as an abundant potential source for biomass. This biomass, if used as a feedstock for fuel conversion operation will promote the sustainable fuel production and lower the prices. The heterogeneity of the MSW based on locations and time period can affect the biofuels or bioproducts. Therefore, the characterization of the MSW feedstock at macro and microlevel in terms of chemical and physical composition, at different speeds of conveyor system, at different times and collection sites will be studied.

Date: 01/01/19 - 8/15/22
Amount: $150,000.00
Funding Agencies: NCSU Nonwovens Institute

It is hypothesized that the biodegradability of synthetic, natural and emerging bio-based polymer product are not fully understood in aerobic or anaerobic conditions in surface waters and may accumulate in the environment. The recalcitrance of some of these natural materials may be due to the chemical or compositional modifications to impart desired product properties. For instance, many naturally based nonwoven materials have additives incorporated to develop water, oil, or UV resistance. The overall goal of this study is to determine the factors that determine the aquatic biodegradability in surface waters (fresh and sea water) of non-woven products used in disposable applications. These factors will include the fiber structure, chemistry and assembly in the non-woven structure. The objectives of the study are the following: (1) To benchmark common disposable non-woven products with regard to their aquatic biodegradation in fresh and sea waters. (2) To benchmark natural fibers, semi-natural biobased fibers, and synthetic fibers used in non- wovens for their aquatic biodegradation in fresh or sea waters. (3) To understand how chemical, physical, and polymeric characteristics of non-woven fibers affect the aquatic biodegradation. (4) To determine how chemical and physical treatments of the fibers affect the aquatic biodegradation. (5) To model and predict the fate of such fibers in the environment, including the lifetime, fate and adsorption of toxic organic chemicals. The results of the study will allow non-woven manufacturers, researchers, suppliers, and consumers to better understand how the choice of materials will affect expected aquatic degradation, allowing all stakeholders to make more informed and better material choice decisions

Date: 08/01/19 - 7/31/22
Amount: $149,398.00
Funding Agencies: NCSU Nonwovens Institute

The Asia Pacific region is forecasted to experience the major growth in production and demand for wipes (and thus wipe substrate) over the next 10-15 years. Even though production facilities in the region might be designed to meet local demand, it is possible that an overflow of substrate materials will affect the current trade flow and thus the industry in North America (NA). Similar market dynamics have been documented in the textile and pulp and paper industry. Therefore, it is important to analyze not only how the nonwovens supply chain will evolve but also how to minimize impacts for manufacturing facilities in NA as the wipe substrate overflows occur over the next decade. An adaptable supply chain and impact assessment model applicable to different types of nonwoven materials, using wipes’ substrate market segment as a case study, will enable the industry to design strategic scenarios to embrace market changes and build competitive advantages. To achieve this goal, we have assembled a team with expertise in supply chain, conversion economics, data analytics, and materials science. Milestones include identification of major drivers for growth and megatrends for NA and selected countries in Asia, development of a supply chain network for raw materials, forecasting of new production volumes and cost, and estimate their effect on the trade balance of wipes’ substrate. Additionally, the model will enable to perform combined data analysis (including psychographics) to recognize trends as well as identify substrates with the highest and lowest risk for competition in NA.


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