UW Biofuels and Bioproducts Laboratory

Rodrigo Morales Vera

romove@uw.edu

Dr. Morales obtained his engineering degree in the Faculty of Forest Sciences University of Chile and PhD in Bioresources Science and Engineering from University of Washington. Currently he is working as a research associate in Rick Gustafson’s lab. Morales’ primary research focus is the bioconversion of biomass to fuels and chemicals through Aspen+ modeling and Life Cycle Analysis (LCA).

Considering the lack of diversification of the world matrix, his purpose as a researcher is to contribute to the development of bioenergy field. However, it is not only important to have a deep knowledge of each step of different methods of the biofuels and biochemicals production, it is also necessary to understand the environmental and economic performance for any production system.

His current work includes design and modeling using Aspen plus the process to make poplar to glacial acetic acid economically feasible and sustainable. In addition, he is working in modeling and analyzing the economic performance of transforming waste paper to ethanol in the King County area, Washington.

CV available by request

Areas of interest:

Renewable energies, bioenergy and biofuels, biomaterials and bioproducts, waste reuse, environment, LCA (life cycle assessment), industrial ecology.

Publications:

Vera, R. M., Bura, R., & Gustafson, R. (2015). Synergistic effects of mixing hybrid poplar and wheat straw biomass for bioconversion processes.Biotechnology for Biofuels8(1), 1.

Presentations:

  • Morales Vera, R., Bura, R.., Gustafson, R.., and Dooley, J., “Is bigger better: the influence of particle size on bioconversion of hybrid poplar for sugar production”. 35th Symposium on biotechnology for fuels and chemicals. 2013, April-May, Portland, OR. Poster presentation.
  • Nagarajan, N., Ewanick, S., Morales, R., Gustafson, R., Bura, R., “Optimizing the bioconversion of heterogeneous forest residues to ethanol” 35th Symposium on biotechnology for fuels and chemicals. 2013, April-May, Portland, OR. Poster presentation
  • Morales Vera, R., Bura, R., Gustafson, R., and Dooley, J., “Is bigger better: the influence of particle size on bioconversion of hybrid poplar for sugar production”. Washington pulp and paper foundation (WPPF) 44th annual conference: Preparing our students for a Bio-based industry. May, 2013, Seattle, WA. Poster presentation.
  • Morales Vera, R., Bura, R.., Gustafson, R., and Dooley, J., “The influence of particle size on bioconversion of hybrid poplar for sugar production”. American institute of chemical engineers (AIChE), 2013 annual meeting: Global challenges for engineering a sustainable future. Nov, 2013, San Francisco, CA. Oral presentation.
  • Morales Vera, R., and Bura, R., “Improving the overall sugar recovery by mixing wheat straw and hybrid poplar biomass during steam explosion and enzymatic hydrolysis” 36th Symposium on biotechnology for fuels and chemicals. 2014, April-May, Clearwater, FL. Poster presentation.
  • Morales Vera R., and Bura, R., “Improving the overall sugar recovery by mixing wheat straw and hybrid poplar biomass during steam explosion and enzymatic hydrolysis” International bioenergy and bioproducts IBBC. 2014, Sept, Tacoma, WA. Oral presentation.
  • Morales Vera, R., Bura, R., and Gustafson, R., “Steam pretreatment: a robust method for processing mixtures of hybrid poplar and wheat straw. Sugar yields, economics and environmental implications” 37th Symposium on biotechnology for fuels and chemicals. 2015 April, San Diego, CA. Oral presentation.
  • Morales Vera, R., Bura, R., and Gustafson, R., “Improving the overall sugar yield by mixing wheat straw and hybrid poplar biomass during bioconversion: sugar production and economics” Advanced Hardwood Biofuels Northwest (AHB) annual meeting. Sept, 2015, Seattle, WA. Poster presentation.
  • Budsberg, E., Crawford J., Morales Vera, R., Bura, R., and Gustafson, R., Biofuels and Bioproducts: Life Cycle Impacts. Advanced Hardwood Biofuels Northwest (AHB) annual meeting. Sept, 2015, Seattle, WA. Oral presentation.
  • Morales Vera, R., Crawford J., Bura, R., and Gustafson, R., “Glacial acetic acid production via
    fermentation of poplar biomass: techno economic analysis of different separation/purification methods” Advanced Hardwood Biofuels Northwest (AHB) annual meeting. Sept, 2015, Seattle, WA. Oral presentation.