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Faculty News 2018

Bamin Khomami.The American Association for the Advancement of Science named UT’s Bamin Khomami, the head of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, as a 2018 Fellow.

Khomami, who also serves as the Granger and Beaman Distinguished University Professor and director of the Sustainable Energy Education and Research Center, was chosen for his contributions to modeling and research that have led to a better understanding of fluids.

“Being chosen as a fellow of the AAAS is a tremendous and humbling honor,” said Khomami. “Getting recognized by your peers like this speaks highly of the work I’ve been able to accomplish and of the people with whom I’ve collaborated.”

Khomami was inducted in February at the AAAS Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science is the world’s largest multidisciplinary scientific society and publisher of the Science family of journals. The AAAS Council elects fellows whose “efforts on behalf of the advancement of science or its applications are scientifically or socially distinguished.” It was founded in 1848 and includes 254 affiliated societies and academies of science serving 10 million individuals.

Arthur Ragauskas.

Art Ragauskas, UT-ORNL Governor’s Chair for Biorefining, received the 2017 Professional Achievement Award for Innovations in Green Process Engineering at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers Annual Meeting in Minneapolis in October.

He was recognized for his outstanding professional achievement in advancing Green Process Engineering and his distinguished contribution as an educator. In addition, Ragauskas was presented with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award by Marquis Who’s Who in May.

Paul Frymier.Professor Paul Frymier was tabbed in July to serve as interim associate dean for faculty affairs for the college. He most recently served as chair of the college’s Promotion and Tenure Committee for the 2017–2018 year and currently serves on both the college’s Graduate and Undergraduate Advisory Committees for Diversity.

Thomas Zawodzinski.UT-ORNL Governor’s Chair Thomas Zawodzinski was chosen for an Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) grant for his work on fuel cell technology. Zawodzinski will receive up to $1.5 million through the grant.

As part of their typical processes, fuel cell reactions result in the production of water via the combination of hydrogen and oxygen. Building from a discovery made through his research group, the new device will instead produce hydrogen peroxide, which can be easily stored.

As needed, these fuel cells can provide electricity to the grid while producing peroxide which will be converted into oxygen during the charging cycle. The biggest impact of the breakthrough is that the system could allow renewable electricity inputs such as solar or wind, to be leveraged over long periods.

Cong TrinhCong Trinh., Ferguson Faculty Fellow in the department, has been chosen by the Department of Energy to lead an effort to create specifically-designed bioesters using strains of the Yarrowia lipolytica fungus. Those bioesters, in turn, will be able to used as potential fuels, solvents, flavors, and fragrances, with the key advantage that those products would all be produced in sustainable ways. The overall award is for $1.4 million, with $1.1 staying within the department and the rest being used by team members from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the USDA.

MABE Department Head and CBE Joint Faculty member Matthew Mench and UT-ORNL Governor’s Chair Thomas Zawodzinski joined a group of national leaders in electricity storage in February at the Union of Concerned Scientists Electricity Storage Strategic Workshop in Washington, DC. Attendees contributed to the development of a plan to advocate for more federal funding and produce recommendations to Congress on the needs and opportunities for funding enhanced research, development, and demonstration of electricity storage. Scientists and legislators discussed research and responded to recommendations made during the workshop.