NSF Center of Research Excellence in Science and Technology for Bioenergy

The Bioenergy Center at N.C. A&T State University conducts fundamental research toward the development of advanced thermochemical biomass conversion technology for the efficient, economic production of liquid transportation fuels and hydrogen.

The center’s goal is to make biomass a more viable source of renewable energy by developing the basic science and technology that will make energy conversions more efficient and costs more affordable.

Thrust areas

Its research is divided into three thrust areas.

  • Thrust Area I deals with gasification of biomass (lignocelluloses). The research team will investigate improved production of quality syngas through achieving a more thorough understanding of the gasification chemistry of various biomass feedstocks.
  • Thrust Area II is directed toward developing specific catalytic materials and processes for clean biofuels (alkanes and alcohols) and for hydrogen production with industrial applications.
  • Thrust Area III is geared toward fuel processing and reforming technologies for hydrogen production and separation as H2-fuel with applications in proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) technology. High-purity H2 is the fuel of choice in PEMFCs.

A cross-cutting economics research initiative also is included.

Opportunities for students

The center provides education and training in bioenergy for undergraduates and graduate students. Opportunities are available for students with backgrounds in biological engineering, chemical engineering, chemistry, economics, math, and related fields.

  • Postdoctoral research associates
  • MS and PhD students
  • Summer and academic-year undergraduate research experiences
  • Research opportunities for community college students
  • K-12 science and math teacher research experiences

In addition, the center:

  • Supports the career development of postdoctoral research associates and young faculty members in the field of bioenergy;
  • Serves as a pipeline for K-12, community college, undergraduate, and graduate students into bioenergy-related STEM careers; and
  • Is creating an interdisciplinary community of learning, discovery, and engagement that will promote excellence and collaboration in bioenergy.


The degree programs primarily involved in the NSF CREST Bioenergy Center are the M.S. in Chemical Engineering, the M.S. in Chemistry, the Ph.D. in Nanoengineering, the Ph.D. in Computational Data Science & Engineering, and the Ph.D. in Applied Science & Technology.

Dr. Abolghasem Shahbazi
Director, NSF CREST Bioenergy Center
Director, Biological Engineering Program
336 285-3830 

Dr. Lijun Wang
Professor, Biological Engineering Program, Thrust I Leader

Dr. Debasish Kuila
Professor, Department of Chemistry
336 285-2243