Bioenergy Engineering 2009 Bioenergy Engineering 2009
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February 2015
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Where to study biological engineering

Biological engineering (the field which includes bioenergy research) is a relatively new field. The term “bioengineering” was only coined in 1954, by scientist/broadcaster Heinz Wolff. The first bioengineering program was instituted at Mississippi State University in 1967.Today, students wishing to pursue a bioenergy degree have their choice of schoolsbut that can make the decision even more, not less, difficult. What schools are worth your time and money? As with any big decision, it depends. But there are some schools that you should definitely add to your touring schedule.The University of Minnesota has a Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering, with four core areas: Bioproducts and Renewable Energy, Environment and Ecology, Advanced Building Systems and Energy Efficiency, and Food Production, Processing, Safety and Security. Obviously bioenergy students will want to check out the first discipline, which focuses on the newest technologies and practices. Students will learn about cellulosic ethanol, biocomposites, biodegradable plastics, environmentally benign adhesives, and more.The State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry features a Department of Paper and Bioprocess Engineering, which when launched was the only such program in the northeastern United States. It trains engineers in the bioprocessing and biofuels industry and is made up of nine faculty members who maintain their own research.Other schools don’t offer specific bioenergy programs, but may still be of interest to the student interested in the broader field of bioengineering. The University of Pennsylvania’s Bioengineering department recently made the news when it was awarded a Department of Defense grant “to study the neuronal effects of blasts, tackles and collisions,” according to the department’s web site. Unfortunately, the department does not have a specific bioenergy research area, but those interested in other aspects of biological engineering will find plenty to choose from, including “Bioengineered Therapeutics, Devices and Drug Delivery,” “Medical Imaging and Imaging Instrumentation,” and “Theoretical and Computational Bioengineering.”The Georgia Institute of Technology has over 500 million of sponsored research, and includes the Advanced Technology Development Center which helps launch Georgia start-ups to success. In addition, The VentureLab program pairs students with applicable startup companies to further their research. Since 1992, the school has featured a bioengineering graduate program, requiring 33 hours of coursework, an oral qualifying exam, a teaching practicum, and a thesis defense. Students choose from a broad research area and then delve into their own interests during the thesis program.The Massachusetts Institute of Technology launched its Department of Biological Engineering in 1998. The department lists its goal as being “to advance fundamental understanding of how biological systems operate and to develop effective biology-based technologies for applications across a wide spectrum of societal needs.” Bioenergy enthusiasts will be excited to learn that one of the research opportunities is at the Biotechnology Process Engineering CenterBioprocess Engineering is the specific discipline which includes the development of different bioenergy materials.

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