Center for Bioprocessing Research and Development

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 Located on the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology campus, the Center for bioprocessing Research and Development (CbRD) was established in 2006 through the Governor’s 2010 Initiative for Economic Development to bring together the bioprocessing research and development resources of more than 110 faculty, research scientists, students, and staff at South Dakota State University (SDSU) and the School of Mines. Research activities are jointly conducted and colocated on both campuses.

CbRD’s focus is on research that leads to new technologies for processing plant-derived lignocellulose materials into biofuels and valueadded biochemicals and biomaterials. The goal of the Center is to reduce national dependence on imported fossil fuels and petroleum-based chemicals by developing new technologies and
bioproducts that mitigate the environmental impact of greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change. The CbRD mission is to provide expertise, research facilities, education, training and assist farmers, entrepreneurs, and biofuels industries in South Dakota in technology transfer.

The engineering and science collaborators of the CbRD represent the fields of agriculture and biosystems engineering, biochemistry, chemical and biochemical engineering, industrial microbiology, mechanical engineering, and plant science. Principle areas of research at the CbRD are feedstock development and logistics; feedstock pretreatment; enzymatic hydrolysis; biochemical conversion of feedstock to transportation fuels and chemicals; thermochemical conversion of feedstock to next generation biofuels; product recovery and downstream processing.

Current projects at the School of Mines include using a thermochemical process to create a “green gasoline” from biomass, and transformation of animal fat, waste and algae oil into biodiesel for the U.S. Air Force. Other important projects focus on bioethanol and biohydrogen production from waste biomass as well as utilization of co-producs such as lignin and bio-char in high-value biodegradable plastics and nanomaterials.

Researchers at the CbRD have also identified two niche areas of research specialization. The first is the development of technologies for utilization of by-products and co-products from the chemical and biofuels industries. The second area of specialization is microbial and enzymatic applications of extremophiles isolated at the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL) in Lead, South Dakota. Researchers are currently bioprospecting for heat-tolerating bacteria in order to apply them to processing biomass. Because of the unique geographical location of the center, local industry by-products, such as agriwaste and logging waste, play a significant part in providing the feedstock for bio-derived chemicals and fuel research. This research has the potential for far-reaching impact on the economy of the black Hills, the state of South Dakota, and the Midwest as a whole. Other areas of impact include the national agribusiness and energy industries.

CbRD is actively involved in and supports Ph.D. and M.S. graduate programs at both universities. The center’s research output in fiscal year 2010 included two patents, seven invention disclosures, 21 peer-reviewed publications, and 60 national and international presentations. In addition, 26 industry collaborations were initiated and 83 graduate and undergraduate students were trained.

Research Inquiries

For inquiries related to SDSM&T Research, contact:

Research Affairs

S.D. School of Mines & Technology
501 E. St. Joseph Street
Suite 102, O'Harra Building
Rapid City, SD  57701

(605) 394-2493