Emerging Areas Seed Grant Awardees


During 2016/2017, in an effort to respond to a recommendation made by the National Science
Foundation's (NSF) Reverse Site Visit panel in March 2016 to increase collaborative research efforts
between North Dakota's two RII-Track-1 research centers, ND EPSCoR made the following six
Emerging Seed
awards. To ensure collaboration, prior to being funded, each seed award proposal
was reviewed by the Leads and Co-Leads of ND EPSCoR's two RII Centers (regional climate studies
and sustainable materials science). Status reports on these six awards will be given to NSF's Site
Visit panel in August 2017.

1.  Ali Alshami (UND), Khwaja Hossain (MaSU) and Sima Noghanian (UND)
     Bio-Based Dielectric Substrate Based On Sunflower Seed Shells For Radio Frequency Antenna
($40,000)

  • CRCS Objective and Anticipated Outcome: the proposed project targets measuring environmental
    parameters (agri-material moisture content and atmospheric humidity) using new antennas and
    wireless sensors that built on bio-based dielectric substrate. The sensor can be used along this
    objective of CRCS.
  • CSMS Objective and Anticipated Outcome: this project aims at developing a dielectric substrate
    material from sunflower seed shells, a waste by-product of the edible oil industry, in a low cost
    method and evaluate its durability and efficiency in various environmental conditions.
  • CRCS/CSMS Anticipated Output: the project output will be a functional sensor and external publication.

  
2.  Dilpreet Bajwa (NDSU) and Kerry Hartman (NHSC)
     A Sustainable Approach for Improving Performance Characteristics of Biobased Poly (lactic acid)

     Polymer via Incorporating Functionalized Cellulose Nanocrystals
($25,000)

  • CRCS Objective and Anticipated Outcome: the project explores the possible impact of using biobased
    and sustainable feedstocks on the climate changes. Results of the project will determine how the
    use of biobased cellulosic materials can help to reduce the use synthetic polymers which are tied
    to greenhouse gases that impact the climate.
  • CSMS Objective and Anticipated Outcome: the project determines how the use of nano-sized cellulosic
    materials can improve the performance characteristics of biobased polymers. The resultant biobased
    composite materials are expected to be environmentally friendly, biodegradable, safe and strong.
    The information gained from this project will also help to design strategies that enable nano-sized
    material to uniformly blend with biopolymers and expand the product portfolio of sustainable materials.
  • CRCS/CSMS Anticipated Output: the project output will be a conference presentation, peer reviewed
    publication or an external grant proposal.

  
3.  Surojit Gupta (UND), Khwaja Hossain (MaSU) and Yun Ji (UND)
     Collaborative Sustainable Materials Research Program in the University of North Dakota
($40,190)

  • CRCS Objective and Anticipated Outcome: identify crop biomass yield using the data from CRCS
    researchers and select end use crop(s) in North Dakota for fundamental Materials Research.
  • CSMS Objective and Anticipated Outcome: this project aims to create a “green design paradigm (GDP)”
    for a sustainable manufacturing initiative in North Dakota; and, in particular, to explore methods for
    synthesizing novel precursors and composites from selected crop feeds in ND.
  • CRCS/CSMS Anticipated Output: the project output will be: fabrication and design of fibers and
    composites; peer review papers, presentations, and other derivatives; and proposals.

  
4.  Eakalak Khan (NDSU) and Andre DeLorme (VCSU)
     Fate of Biobased Materials in Aquatic Environments: Impact on Physical, Chemical, and Biological

     Characteristics of Receiving Waters ($25,000)

  • CRCS Objective and Anticipated Outcome: the project explores possible impact of climate changes
    on the quality of feedstocks and in turn the characteristics of biobased materials. Results of the
    project will determine whether there is a linkage between climate variations and fate of biobased
    materials in surface waters.
  • CSMS Objective and Anticipated Outcome: the project determines the fate of biobased materials
    in surface waters focusing on potential impact such as solubility, toxicity, and harmful product
    precursors. Knowledge gained from the project will expand on the benefits of biobased materials
    or will unveil their environmental drawbacks.
  • CRCS/CSMS Anticipated Output: the project output will be a peer reviewed publication or an
    external grant proposal.

      
    5.  Long Jiang (NDSU) and Mafany Mongoh (SBC)
         Novel Energy/Resource-Efficient Building Material Derived from Rapidly Renewable Materials ($25,000)

    • CRCS Objective and Anticipated Outcome: this project links climate change induced variations in
      crop  availability and suitability to the production of an agricultural residual based building material.
      Results of the project will determine the suitable crop(s) whose residuals can be utilized for the
      production of the material under changing climate.
    • CSMS Objective and Anticipated Outcome: this project develops novel energy- and resource-efficient
      building materials using agricultural residuals as the feedstock via an environmentally friendly production
      method. The knowledge and products gained from this project will produce a new concept/prototype
      of building materials, expand the use of agricultural residuals, and reduce energy consumptions of
      buildings.
    • CRCS and CSMS Output: the project output will be peer reviewed publications, an intellectual
      property and external grant proposals.

      
    6.  Feng Xiao (UND), Eric Brevik (DSU) and Khwaja Hossain (MaSU)
         Development of A Novel Porous Carbonaceous Material Enhanced for Control of Nitrous Oxide

         Emissions from Agricultural Soils
    ($39,988)

    • CRCS Objective and Anticipated Outcome: 1) study the effects of biomass char and the porosity
      modified OSA on the emission of the greenhouse gas (N2O) from soil, and 2) investigate the effects
      of water moisture and soil humic matter on the adsorption of N2O on char and OSA.
    • CSMS Objective and Anticipated Outcome: 1) develop an innovative carbonaceous material (OSA)
      from biomass with superior N2O adsorption capacity, and 2) identify the specific porosities for which
      effective adsorption takes place.
    • CRCS/CSMS Anticipated Output: the project output will be a new material, peer reviewed
      publications, external grant proposals.