Sasidhar Varanasi

Department Chairperson

Professor, Chemical Engineering

Education

Ph.D. State University of New York at Buffalo

M.S. Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (India)

B.S. Andhra University, Waltair (India)

Courses Taught

  • CHMG 722: Elements of Transport Phenomena
  • CHMG 770: Bioseparations
  • CHML 339: Separation Process Design Ii
  • CHML 423: Process Control
  • CHML 470: Bioseparations
  • Research

    I joined Manhattan College in Fall 2017 after being a member of the faculty of Chemical Engineering at the University of Toledo (UT) for almost three decades. I received an MS from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India in 1977 and a PhD from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo in 1983. At Buffalo, I did my doctoral research in the area of interfacial phenomena under the supervision of Distinguished University Professor Dr. Eli Ruckenstein, who was a recipient of the National Medal of Science from President Bill Clinton. For my doctoral dissertation, I studied electro kinetic transport phenomena in porous media. Soon after receiving Ph.D., I joined the University of Toledo (UT) as an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering, and was promoted to the rank of Full Professor in 1993.

    While my initial research thrust was in the area of Colloid and Interfacial Science, I diversified into the area of “alternate energy” around 2005 and, in particular, to biomass conversion to fuels and value-added products. Along with my colleagues at UT, I developed a new and cost-effective technology for the fractionation of lignocellulosic biomass using ionic liquids, which has subsequently become the platform technology for the DOE laboratory Joint Bioenergy Institute (JBEI) in Emeryville, CA for biomass deconstruction. I authored, with my colleagues at UT, more than 60 peer-reviewed publications in this area in high-impact ACS and RSC journals and received 20 patents. Majority of our patents have been licensed to start-up companies, and one of them, SuGanit Systems Inc. has a pilot-scale facility for second generation biofuel production operating on the University of Toledo Campus. We have received funding in excess of thirteen million dollars ($13M) in support of our work from federal, state, and private sources, including the National Science Foundation, US Department of Energy, USDA (NIFA), US Air Force Office, Ohio Third Frontier Commission, and SuGanit Systems Inc.. I have supervised over 25 graduate students in the areas of ionic liquid pretreatment of lignocellulose, bio-refining methods based on Furan platform, and fermentation technologies for converting biomass-derived sugars to fuel precursors and organic acids for materials production.

    I routinely participate as a panelist and ad-hoc reviewer by federal agencies including National Science Foundation (CBET: Energy for Sustainability division), DOE and ARPA-E to evaluate new technologies related to biomass conversion and for adjudication of NSF–CAREER awards. I am a senior member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, American Chemical Society, and Society of Industrial Microbiology and regularly chair sessions at international conferences in the area of biofuels and products. I received Outstanding Researcher Award from the College of Engineering at UT in 1994, and Outstanding Researcher Award from the University of Toledo in 2015. I have taught majority of the required under-graduate courses in the chemical engineering curriculum at UT.

  • Publications and Scholarly Activities

    A. Vadlamani, B. Pendyala, S. Viamajala, and S. Varanasi, “High Productivity Cultivation of Microalgae without Concentrated CO2 Input”, ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng., 2019, 7 (2), pp 1933–1943

    B. Maddi, S. Viamajala, and S. Varanasi, “Pyrolytic fractionation: A promising thermos-chemical technique for processing oleaginous (algal) biomass”, ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng., 2018, 6 (1), pp 237–247

    Y. Shirazi, H. Tafazolian, S. Viamajala, S. Varanasi, Z. Song,M. Heben, “High yield production of fatty nitriles by one-step vapor phase thermos-catalysis of triglycerides”, ACS Omega, 2017, 2 (12), pp 9013–9020

    B. Maddi, A. Vadlamani, S. Viamajala and S. Varanasi, “Quantification of triglyceride content in microalgae/oilseeds using thermo-gravimetry”, Journal of Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis, 128 (2017) 232-237

    B. Urban, Y. Shirazi, B. Maddi, S. Viamajala, and S. Varanasi, “Flash Pyrolysis of Oleaginous Biomass in a Fluidized-Bed Reactor”, Energy Fuels, (2017), 31, 8326-8334

    A. Vadlamani, S. Viamajala, B. Pendyala, and S. Varanasi, “Cultivation of Microalgae at Extreme Alkaline pH Conditions: A Novel Approach for Biofuel Production”, ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng. (2017), 5, 7284-7294

    S. Alipour, P. Relue, S. Viamajala, and S. Varanasi, “High Yield 5-(hydroxymethyl) furfural production from biomass sugars under facile reaction conditions: a hybrid enzyme- and chemi-catalytic technology,” Green Chemistry, 19: p1782, 2017.

    S. Alipour, H. Omidvarborna, P. Relue, S. Viamajala, and S. Varanasi, "High concentration levulinic acid production from corn stover." RSC Adv., 7, p 19384, 2017.

    S. Alipour, H. Omidvarbornab, S. Varanasi, D-S., Kim, “A review on synthesis of alkoxymethyl furfural, a biofuel candidate” Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 2017, 71, pp.908-926.

    S. Alipour, H. Omidvarborna, S. Viamajala, P. Relue and S. Varanasi, "Enzymatic and catalytic hybrid method for levulinic acid synthesis from biomass sugars." Journal of Cleaner Production 161: p256, 2017.

    Y. Shirazi, S. Viamajala, S. Varanasi, “High-yield production of fuel- and oleochemical-precursors from triacylglycerols in a novel continuous-flow pyrolysis reactor”, Applied Energy, 2016, 179, pp 755-764.

    G. Abel, S. Viamajala, S. Varanasi, and K. Yamamoto “Toward Sustainable Synthesis of PA12 (Nylon-12) Precursor from Oleic Acid Using Ring-Closing Metathesis”, ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng., 2016, 4 (10), pp 5703–5710

    A. Y. Mudiyanselage, H. Yao, S. Viamajala, S. Varanasi, and K. Yamamoto,” Efficient Production of Alkanolamides from Microalgae”, Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 2015, 54 (16), pp 4060–4065

    Godwin Ameh Abel, Kim Oliver Nguyen, Sridhar Viamajala, Sasidhar Varanasi and Kana Yamamoto, “Cross-metathesis approach to produce precursorsof nylon 12 and nylon 13 from microalgae” RSC Adv., 2014, 4, 55622–55628

    Ajith Yapa Mudiyanselage, Sridhar Viamajala, Sasidhar Varanasi, and Kana Yamamoto, “Simple Ring-Closing Metathesis Approach for Synthesis of PA11, 12, and 13 Precursors from Oleic Acid” ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng. 2014, 2, 2831−2836

  • Honors, Awards, and Grants

    1. Scale up of a novel method of furan production from biomass hydrolysates using a hybrid enzyme- and chemo-catalytic technology, Budget: $500,000; PI: S. Varanasi; Co-Is Sridhar Viamajala, Patricia Relue; and Ryan Davis Agency: NIFA-USDA Duration: 09/01/2107- 07/31 /2020

    2. GOALI Supplement: PFI: AIR - TT: High yield production of furans from biomass hydrolysates using a hybrid enzyme- and chemo-catalytic technology” (PI: Sasidhar Varanasi) Award period: 8/1/2017 – 03/31/2018, Award $40,000, National Science Foundation

    3. “PFI: AIR - TT: High yield production of furans from biomass hydrolysates using a hybrid enzyme- and chemo-catalytic technology” (PI: Sasidhar Varanasi) Award period: 4/1/2015 – 12/31/2017, Award $200,000, National Science Foundation.

    4. PFI: AIR - TT: High yield production of furans from biomass hydrolysates using a hybrid enzyme- and chemo-catalytic technology” (PI: Sasidhar Varanasi) Award period: 4/1/2016 – 12/31/2017, Award $32,000, National Science Foundation-REU, RET, and Graduate supplements

    5. “Simultaneous Isomerization and Reactive Extraction of Biomass Sugars for Efficient Furan Production via High Yield Ketose Intermediate” (PI: Sasidhar Varanasi) Award Period: 7/9/14-7/9/17 Award $40,000; Agency: National Science Foundation – REU and graduate supplements

    6. “SEP Collaborative: Alkaliphilic microalgae-based sustainable & scalable processes for renewable fuels and products”, (PI: Sridhar Viamajala, Co-Is: Sasidhar Varanasi and Kana Yamamoto) Award Period: 08/15/2012-08/14/2016; Award: $950,000, Agency: National Science Foundation.

    7. “Integration of Nutrient and Water Recycling for Sustainable Algal Biorefineries.” Funded by US Department of Energy. (PI: Sridhar Viamajala; Co-I: Sasidhar Varanasi) Total project award: $2,999,934. UT award: $1,730,758. September 2012. (3 yrs)

    8. Simultaneous Isomerization and Reactive Extraction of Biomass Sugars for Efficient Furan Production via High Yield Ketose Intermediate (PI: Sasidhar Varanasi Co-I: P. Relue) Award Period: August 2012 – August 2017 Award: $309,523 Agency: National Science Foundation

  • Other

    Patents

    S. Alipour, B. Li, S. Varanasi, P. Relue, and S. Viamajala, “Methods for high yield production of furans from biomass sugars at mild operating conditions,” U. S. Pat. No. 9,828,615, issued Nov. 28, 2017.

    Balakrishna Maddi, Sridhar Viamajala, and Sasidhar Varanasi “Thermal fractionation of biomass of non-lignocellulosic origin for multiple high-quality biofuels”, US Patent-CIP, U. S. Pat. No. 9,809,781, B1, issued Nov. 7, 2017.

    Yamamoto, Kana Viamajala, Sridhar; Varanasi, Sasidhar Yapa Mudiyanselage, Ajith Lalith Weerasingha Yapa Methods for Production of Fatty Acid Alkanolamides (FAAAs) from Microalgae Biomass, US Patent # 9,562,210, Issued February 7, 2017

    S. Varanasi, P. Relue, B. Li, “Aldose-ketose transformation for separation and/or chemical conversion of C6 and C5 sugars from biomass materials,” US Doc ID 20130074397 A1, US Pat. No. 9,242,222, issued January 26, 2016.

    S. Varanasi, K. Rao, P. Relue, and D. Yuan, “System for Simultaneous Isomerization and Fermentation of Sugars,” US Doc ID 20130330800 A1, US. Pat. No. 9,528,104 B2 issued December 27, 2016.

    H. Shao, A. Vadlamani, S. Viamajala, S. Varanasi, and P. Relue, “Enzymatic digestion of microalgal biomass for lipid, sugar and protein recovery,” US patent application 14/913896, US Doc ID 20160222421, published August 4, 2016., Notice of allowance received October 2017

    S. Varanasi, P. Relue, B. Li, “Aldose-ketose transformation for separation and/or chemical conversion of C6 and C5 sugars from biomass materials,” US Appl No. 14/969899, US Doc ID 20160096857, April 7, 2016, CIP, Notice of allowance received November 2017.

    S. Varanasi, K. Rao, P. Relue, and D. Yuan, “Methods of fermentation of xylose and hexose sugars,” US Doc ID 20100285552, US Pat No. 8,507,232, issued August 13, 2013.

    Balakrishna Maddi, Sridhar Viamajala, and Sasidhar Varanasi “Thermal fractionation of biomass of non-lignocellulosic origin for multiple high-quality biofuels”, US Patent # 8,927,240, issued January 6, 2015

    Sasidhar Varanasi, C. Schall, Anatharam, P. Dadi, J. Anderson, K.Rao, P. Paripati, and G. Kumar, “Biomass Pretreatment”, US patent # 8,546,109, issued: October 1, 2013

    Sasidhar Varanasi, Kripa. Rao, and Patricia. Relue, and Dawei Yuan “Methods for fermentation of xylose and hexose sugars,” US Patent # 8,507,232, issued August 13, 2013

    Sasidhar Varanasi, C. Schall and Anatharam P. Dadi “Production of ethanol from saccharified cellulose following Ionic Liquid pretreatment”, US patent # 8,236,536, issued: August 7, 2012

    Sasidhar Varanasi, C. Schall, Anatharam, P. Dadi, J. Anderson, K.Rao, P. Paripati, and G. Kumar, “Biomass pretreatment”, US patent # 8,030,030, issued: October 4, 2011

    S. Varanasi, C. Schall and Anatharam P. Dadi “Saccharifying Cellulose”, US patent # 7,674,608, Issued: March 9, 2010

    James P. Byers, Ronald L. Fournier, and Sasidhar Varanasi "Method of Producing Products with a Bilayer Pellet Containing a Coimmobilized Enzyme System That Maintains a pH Difference "US Patent # 5,397,700 (issued on March 14, 1995)

    James P. Byers, Ronald L. Fournier, and Sasidhar Varanasi "Bilayer Pellet Containing Immobilized Xylose Isomerase and Urease for the Simultaneous Isomerization and Fermentation of Xylose to Ethanol," US Patent # 5,254, 468 (issued on Oct 19, 1993).

    Yamamoto K., Viamajala S., Varanasi S., Nguyen K., Abel G., Mudiyanselage A. Y., Cross Metathesis Approach to C12 and C13 Fatty-Chain Amino Esters from Oleic Acid Derivatives, (US Patent Pending) #1-56166/D2014-06; Notice of allowance received, October 2017

    Yamamoto K., Viamajala S., Varanasi S., Nguyen K., Mudiyanselage A. Y Ring Closing Metathesis Approach to Produce Precursors of Nylon 11, 12, And 13 From Oleic Acid (US Patent Pending); Notice of allowance received, Nov. 2017