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Natural Resource Innovation

The College is pleased to announce that Dr. Hasan Jameel, Professor of Forest Biomaterials,has been appointed the next Jordan Family Distinguished Professor for Natural Resource Innovation.   The Jordan Family Distinguished Professorship for Natural Resource Innovation was created through the generosity of Robert B. Jordan, III; Jack P. Jordan; Genie Jordan Ussery and Robert B. Jordan, IV.  The goal of their gift was to recognize outstanding faculty members in the College of Natural Resources and empower them to build innovative research programs addressing emerging opportunities in natural resources that have the potential of impacting the economy, our quality of life, and environmental sustainability. The Jordan Family Endowments, with match provided by the College, provide a faculty stipend, research support, graduate fellowships and undergraduate research awards to the Jordan Distinguished Professor for four years.  The faculty members recognized as “Jordan Distinguished Professor” retain this title for the whole of their tenure at NC State University.

hasan jameelProposed Research

Forests in the United States are our greatest renewable resource and have the potential to produce novel new products that will lead to a more sustainable bio-economy. This will require the development of a bio-refinery, which is similar in concept to a petroleum refinery, except it uses sustainably produced woody raw material instead of oil. Industrial bio-refineries will create a domestic bio-based industry in the United States that is not based on petroleum and are expected to produce new products in addition to traditional core products like building materials and paper. By producing multiple products a biorefinery can take advantage of the different components (carbohydrates and lignin) in wood to maximize value. The carbohydrates, which are sugar based, can be modified to produce high value biochemical feedstocks, while the lignin in the wood has the potential to replace a significant portion of petrochemical products in the near future for the production of adhesives, wood composites, foams, surfactants for concrete additives and advanced products such as carbon fibers and bioplastics. Presently, lignin is burnt in a boiler to produce power which is an extremely low value use of a very useful component of wood.

The Jordan Professorship will enable us to link the fundamental knowledge about lignin to various new applications to directly benefit commercialization and help improve the forest products industry’s profitability and overall environmental sustainability. Lignin from biorefinery processes have low reactivity and high quantities of impurities, which limits end use applications. Different cost-effective methods for upgrading the lignin are also being proposed in this research to allow for the development of a profitable bio-refinery. The outcome of this research will improve viability of the forest products industry, which is critical for maintaining a healthy forest ecosystem, to preserving rural U.S. jobs and decreasing our dependency on nonrenewable resources.

In addition, the funds from the Jordan Professorship, will enable us to train and develop both graduate and undergraduate students that can be the future leaders, who contribute to both the development of the bio-refinery technology and its commercialization.

Congratulations Dr. Jameel!  Thank you for your dedication to research, teaching and mentoring.