https://engineering.wustl.edu/news/Pages/Three-McKelvey-Engineering-faculty-working-on-prestigious-MURI-collaborations.aspx1033Three McKelvey Engineering faculty working on prestigious MURI collaborations <img alt="Lew, Thimsen, Vorobeychik" src="/news/PublishingImages/three_fac2.jpg?RenditionID=1" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /><div id="__publishingReusableFragmentIdSection"><a href="/ReusableContent/36_.000">a</a></div><p>Three <g class="gr_ gr_70 gr-alert gr_gramm gr_inline_cards gr_disable_anim_appear Grammar multiReplace" id="70" data-gr-id="70">faculty</g> in the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis are participating in the U.S. Department of Defense's highly competitive Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative Program (MURI) on projects that may benefit the U.S. military.</p><p> </p><p>Matthew Lew, assistant professor of electrical & systems engineering; Elijah Thimsen, assistant professor of energy, environmental & chemical engineering; and Yevgeniy Vorobeychik, associate professor of computer science & engineering, are each on teams that received one of 24 MURI awards totaling $169 million. The research teams include more than one traditional science and engineering discipline to speed the research process.</p><p> </p><p><g class="gr_ gr_71 gr-alert gr_spell gr_inline_cards gr_disable_anim_appear ContextualSpelling ins-del" id="71" data-gr-id="71">Lew is</g> working with a team developing a new class of functional living electronics, which they call <g class="gr_ gr_76 gr-alert gr_spell gr_inline_cards gr_disable_anim_appear ContextualSpelling ins-del multiReplace" id="76" data-gr-id="76">livtronics</g>, in which they will determine whether there is a way to engineer and assemble electronic systems based on living materials, such as proteins and bacteria instead of traditional materials, such as silicon. Lew's role is to use fluorescence imaging technology to visualize how electrons are transported through living systems either within the bacterial cell or between bacterial cells in the biofilm. <a href="https://dornsife.usc.edu/news/stories/2809/dod-grants-biology-physics-chemistry-multidisciplinary/">The total project received $7.5 million over five years</a>.</p><p>Thimsen is working with a research team investigating how to use dusty plasma, or plasma in which particles are suspended, to make new materials. They will study how to build on what is known about making powders to determine how to make solids, such as ultra-hard and tough ceramics, such as cubic boron nitride. To create the material, researchers are using a low-temperature plasma, which is a <g class="gr_ gr_72 gr-alert gr_gramm gr_inline_cards gr_disable_anim_appear Grammar multiReplace" id="72" data-gr-id="72">highly</g> nonequilibrium environment that can provide access to unique and potentially useful states of matter. The five-year project received $6.4 million.</p><p> </p><p>Vorobeychik is working with a team developing tools to understand and shape online and on-the-ground networks that drive human decision making. It will focus on areas such as international diplomacy, street crime, terrorism, military strategy, financial markets <g class="gr_ gr_79 gr-alert gr_gramm gr_inline_cards gr_disable_anim_appear Punctuation only-ins replaceWithoutSep" id="79" data-gr-id="79">and</g> industrial supply chains. The team is using game theory, which is a mathematical way of modeling how different players interact when their interests are potentially in conflict. These players can be organizations, people or computers. The project will apply multi-scale network modeling to the data created by electronic recordkeeping — social media posts, crime statistics, demographic trends <g class="gr_ gr_80 gr-alert gr_gramm gr_inline_cards gr_disable_anim_appear Punctuation only-ins replaceWithoutSep" id="80" data-gr-id="80">and</g> other sources. <a href="https://news.engin.umich.edu/2018/04/6-25m-project-will-decode-worlds-most-complex-networks/">The five-year project received $6.25 million</a>.<br/></p><SPAN ID="__publishingReusableFragment"></SPAN><p><br/></p>Beth Miller 2019-03-15T05:00:00ZThree McKelvey Engineering faculty are working on prestigious MURI projects for the Department of Defense.
https://engineering.wustl.edu/news/Pages/Understanding-low-temperature-plasma-has-technological,-human-benefits.aspx1026Understanding low-temperature plasma has technological, human benefits<img alt="" src="/news/PublishingImages/plasma%20v3.jpg?RenditionID=2" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /><div id="__publishingReusableFragmentIdSection"><a href="/ReusableContent/36_.000">a</a></div><p>Most of us know about solids, liquids <g class="gr_ gr_47 gr-alert gr_gramm gr_inline_cards gr_run_anim Punctuation only-ins replaceWithoutSep" id="47" data-gr-id="47">and</g> gasses. But there is a fourth state of matter — plasma, a partially ionized gas. As a gas-like substance that can conduct electricity, plasma is useful for a range of technologically-valuable applications from lasers to manufacturing computer chips.</p><p>At equilibrium, plasma is the stable state of matter at very high temperatures of thousands of degrees, for example on the surface of the sun. In the laboratory, it is possible to produce <g class="gr_ gr_61 gr-alert gr_spell gr_inline_cards gr_run_anim ContextualSpelling multiReplace" id="61" data-gr-id="61">low temperature</g> plasma by selectively exciting electrons to very high temperatures while the atoms and molecules in the system remain near room temperature. <g class="gr_ gr_62 gr-alert gr_spell gr_inline_cards gr_run_anim ContextualSpelling multiReplace" id="62" data-gr-id="62">Low temperature</g> plasma is a <g class="gr_ gr_60 gr-alert gr_gramm gr_inline_cards gr_run_anim Grammar multiReplace" id="60" data-gr-id="60">highly</g> nonequilibrium state of matter.</p><p>Elijah Thimsen, of the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, will study how chemical reactions occurring in low-temperature plasma move toward a <g class="gr_ gr_53 gr-alert gr_spell gr_inline_cards gr_run_anim ContextualSpelling ins-del multiReplace" id="53" data-gr-id="53">superlocal</g> equilibrium state with a five-year, $500,000 CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation. The awards support junior faculty who model the role of teacher-scholar through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organization. One-third of current McKelvey Engineering faculty have received the award.</p><p>Thimsen, assistant professor of energy, environmental & chemical engineering, will explore the idea of a <g class="gr_ gr_49 gr-alert gr_spell gr_inline_cards gr_run_anim ContextualSpelling ins-del multiReplace" id="49" data-gr-id="49">superlocal</g> equilibrium state, in which a system is constrained to have different temperatures at the same location in space, depending on the species; and entropy is maximized. That idea is a reasonable way to describe <g class="gr_ gr_55 gr-alert gr_spell gr_inline_cards gr_run_anim ContextualSpelling multiReplace" id="55" data-gr-id="55">low temperature</g> plasmas from the perspective of <g class="gr_ gr_54 gr-alert gr_gramm gr_inline_cards gr_run_anim Punctuation only-del replaceWithoutSep" id="54" data-gr-id="54">thermodynamics,</g> since the gas molecules are near room temperature but the electrons are very hot due to the electricity flowing into the system, he said.<br/></p><p>Thermodynamics dictates that normally a chemical reaction will proceed towards the local equilibrium state. For example, carbon monoxide will react with oxygen to form carbon dioxide and the reaction will stop since carbon dioxide is the dominant species at equilibrium. </p><blockquote>"A common analogy is if you are driving somewhere, thermodynamics tells you where your destination is," he explained. "There are many paths to that destination, and you don't know whether or not you'll get there or what path you'll take, but thermodynamics will tell you where a chemical reaction is headed."</blockquote><p>Typically, the local equilibrium state is assumed to be the final destination of the chemical reaction, which is defined by the temperature, the total pressure and the relative amounts of different elements in the system, Thimsen said.</p><p>"What we're proposing in this project is that in a system governed by <g class="gr_ gr_51 gr-alert gr_spell gr_inline_cards gr_run_anim ContextualSpelling ins-del multiReplace" id="51" data-gr-id="51">superlocal</g> equilibrium, such as a low-temperature plasma, the destination of the chemical reaction is determined by, in addition to those three variables, we will add two more: the electron temperature and the electron concentration," he said. "The proposal is that the destination of the chemical reaction, which is the <g class="gr_ gr_52 gr-alert gr_spell gr_inline_cards gr_run_anim ContextualSpelling ins-del multiReplace" id="52" data-gr-id="52">superlocal</g> equilibrium state, is then determined by those five variables."</p><p>Thimsen and his team are using carbon dioxide (CO<sub>2</sub>) as a first example to illustrate the idea.<br/></p><p>"Experimentally, if we feed CO<sub>2 </sub>into the reactor at a background temperature and pressure where at equilibrium you expect pure CO<sub>2, </sub>the plasma causes it to split spontaneously into carbon monoxide and oxygen," he said. "The amount of carbon monoxide and oxygen increases with time in the reactor and saturates at a constant value consistent with the system approaching steady state. Moreover, if we feed CO plus oxygen into the reactor in the same relative amounts of the elements, then at long times the composition is the same as when pure CO<sub>2</sub> was fed into the reactor, provided we keep the five variables constant. Thus, the system appears to be approaching a <g class="gr_ gr_50 gr-alert gr_spell gr_inline_cards gr_run_anim ContextualSpelling ins-del multiReplace" id="50" data-gr-id="50">superlocal</g> equilibrium state, independent of the initial condition, provided the five state variables have the same values."</p><p>Advances in understanding low-temperature plasma could improve plasma activation of advanced carbon fiber composites used to make aircraft and automobiles more fuel efficient. In addition, they could benefit greenhouse gas emissions, plasma agriculture <g class="gr_ gr_45 gr-alert gr_gramm gr_inline_cards gr_run_anim Punctuation only-ins replaceWithoutSep" id="45" data-gr-id="45">and</g> plasma medicine, protecting the environment and human health.</p><p>In addition to the research in his lab, Thimsen will be working with a chemistry teacher, Elisabeth Knierim, from Belleville West High School to improve understanding of thermodynamic equilibrium by students in the Advanced Placement chemistry classes. </p><p>"The goal is to reinforce the idea of equilibrium as a terminal state that the system proceeds toward," he said. "And furthermore, emphasize that the equilibrium state depends on the local conditions."</p><SPAN ID="__publishingReusableFragment"></SPAN><br/>​<br/> <div><div class="cstm-section"><h3>Elijah Thimsen<br/></h3><div style="text-align: center;"> <strong><a href="/Profiles/Pages/Elijah-Thimsen.aspx"><img src="/Profiles/PublishingImages/Thimsen_Elijah.jpg?RenditionID=3" alt="Elijah Thimsen" style="margin: 5px;"/></a><br/> </strong> </div><div style="text-align: center;"><ul style="padding-left: 20px; caret-color: #343434; color: #343434; text-align: left;"><li>Expertise: Nanomaterials analog low power artificial intelligence, high energy density fuel synthesis from renewable resources, optoelectronic semiconductor nanostructures, and lightweight aerospace composite materials<br/></li><li>Research: Leads The Interface Research Group which focuses on advanced gas-phase synthesis methods that operate very far away from local equilibrium, for example low temperature plasma.<br/></li></ul> <a href="/Profiles/Pages/Elijah-Thimsen.aspx">>> View Bio</a><p></p></div></div></div> <br/>Elijah Thimsen is studying how chemical reactions occurring in low-temperature plasma move toward a superlocal equilibrium state.Beth Miller 2019-03-13T05:00:00ZElijah Thimsen will study how chemical reactions occurring in low-temperature plasma move toward a superlocal equilibrium state with an NSF CAREER Award.<p>Thimsen earns NSF CAREER Award<br/></p>
https://engineering.wustl.edu/news/Pages/Study-first-to-show-processes-determining-fate-of-new-RNA-pesticides-in-soils.aspx1023Study first to show processes determining fate of new RNA pesticides in soils<img alt="" src="/news/PublishingImages/CornPesticides.jpg?RenditionID=1" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />A new generation of pesticides can be used to control pest insects by compromising the bug’s ability to create essential proteins. These gene-silencing pesticides can be genetically engineered into agricultural crops such that these crops can literally grow their own defense.<div><br/>New research from the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis shows how these emerging pesticides move through and degrade in soils. The research was published last month in <a href="https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.est.8b05576">Environmental Science & Technology</a>.</div><div><br/>Although the pesticide is created inside the plant, the questions about its degradation are similar to conventional pesticides applied externally to the crop: Does it break down? If so, under what conditions? In the soil? In lakes and rivers? What is the ecological risk? <br/>Before these questions can be answered however, there needs to be a way to trace the pesticide and follow it as it moves and degrades in the ecosystem.</div><div> <br/>Kimberly Parker, assistant professor of energy, environmental & chemical engineering, and a team of collaborators devised a method to track this new pesticide in soils and to begin to understand what processes affect its lifespan.<br/><br/>This new pesticide is a molecule of double stranded Ribonucleic acid, or RNA. When a pest eats this pesticide, it prevents the critter from making essential proteins, leading either to stunted growth or to death.</div><div> <br/>RNA is a macromolecule — meaning: it’s large — and because of its size, it cannot be studied through the typical means used for conventional pesticides.</div><div> <br/>The research team devised a method to tag a pesticide molecule with a radioactive atom, allowing them to follow it as it cycled through closed soil  systems representing different scenarios. They were able to quantify the pesticide and its components at just a few nanograms per gram of soil.</div><div><br/>With their method to measure the pesticide, the research team next investigated what happens to the pesticide in several soil samples. They found that the enzymes in soil can break down the pesticide. In addition, the microbes in soil “eat” the pesticide as well as the fragments left behind by the enzyme reactions.</div><div><br/>However, in some soils, another process occurred: the pesticide attaches to the soil particles, like minerals and organic detritus. “In agricultural soil,” Parker said, “there is adsorption” — when molecules adhere to a surface. “The pesticide sticks to the soil particle,” she said.</div><div><br/>“We have found that the soil particles may actually have a protective effect on the pesticide,” Parker said, “slowing down the rate of pesticide degradation.” The enzymes and microbes have a more difficult time breaking down pesticides that have attached to the soil, but the degree to which the soil protects the pesticide varied among the soils tested.</div><div><br/>“Currently our working hypothesis is that in finer soil, there are more particles available for adsorption,” Parker said. The more soil particles, the more surfaces for the pesticide to stick to, enhancing that protective effect.</div><div> <br/>“Now that we have identified the major processes controlling pesticide degradation in soils, we will next investigate in detail the variables that control these processes to enable accurate ecological risk assessment of double-strand RNA pesticides,” Parker said. “This will allow us to understand whether or not these new pesticides pose a risk to ecosystems.”<br/></div>​<br/> <div><div class="cstm-section"><h3>Kimberly Parker<br/></h3><div style="text-align: center;"> <strong> <a href="/Profiles/Pages/Kimberly-Parker.aspx?_ga=2.3724407.619614477.1551108211-757045394.1533662676"><img src="/Profiles/PublishingImages/Parker_Kim%202018.jpg?RenditionID=3" alt=""/></a> <br/> </strong> </div><div style="text-align: center;"><div style="text-align: center;"><ul style="padding-left: 20px; caret-color: #343434; color: #343434; text-align: left;"><li>Expertise: Photochemical, oxidative, and biochemical reactions in natural and engineered environmental systems<br/></li><li>Research Interests: advancing the state of the science in environmental engineering and chemistry to address emerging challenges relating to water quality, agriculture and energy<br/></li></ul></div> <a href="/Profiles/Pages/Kimberly-Parker.aspx?_ga=2.3724407.619614477.1551108211-757045394.1533662676">View Bio</a><br/></div></div></div> <br/>Brandie Jeffersonhttps://source.wustl.edu/2019/02/study-first-to-show-processes-determining-fate-of-new-rna-pesticides-in-soils/2019-02-28T06:00:00ZResearchers find that clinging to soil particles slows degradation in new, gene-silencing pesticide<p>​Researchers find that clinging to soil particles slows degradation in new, gene-silencing pesticide<br/></p>
https://engineering.wustl.edu/news/Pages/High-powered-fuel-cell-boosts-electric-powered-submersibles,-drones.aspx1018High-powered fuel cell boosts electric-powered submersibles, drones<img alt="" src="/news/PublishingImages/NENERGY-18040574.jpg?RenditionID=2" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /><div id="__publishingReusableFragmentIdSection"><a href="/ReusableContent/36_.000">a</a></div><p>The transportation industry is one of the largest consumers of energy in the U.S. economy with increasing demand to make it cleaner and more efficient. While more people are using electric cars, designing electric-powered planes, ships and submarines <g class="gr_ gr_37 gr-alert gr_gramm gr_inline_cards gr_run_anim Grammar multiReplace" id="37" data-gr-id="37">is</g> much harder due to higher power and energy requirements.</p><p>A team of engineers in the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis has developed a high-power fuel cell that advances technology in this area. Led by Vijay Ramani, the Roma B. and Raymond H. Wittcoff Distinguished University Professor, the team has developed a direct borohydride fuel cell using a unique pH-gradient-enabled microscale bipolar interface (PMBI) that operates at double the voltage of today's commercial fuel cells. </p><p>This advancement using a unit pH-gradient-enabled microscale bipolar interface (PMBI), reported in <em>Nature Energy</em> Feb. 25, could power a variety of transportation modes — including unmanned underwater vehicles, drones and eventually electric aircraft — at <g class="gr_ gr_45 gr-alert gr_gramm gr_inline_cards gr_run_anim Grammar only-ins doubleReplace replaceWithoutSep" id="45" data-gr-id="45">significantly</g> lower cost.</p><p>"The pH-gradient-enabled microscale bipolar interface is at the heart of this technology," said Ramani, also professor of energy, environmental & chemical engineering. "It allows us to run this fuel cell with liquid reactants and products in submersibles, in which neutral buoyancy is critical, while also letting us apply it in higher-power applications such as drone flight."</p><p>The fuel cell developed at Washington University uses an acidic electrolyte at one electrode and an alkaline electrolyte at the other electrode. Typically, the acid and alkali will quickly react when brought in contact with each other. Ramani said the key breakthrough is the PMBI, which is thinner than a strand of human hair. Using membrane technology developed at WashU, the PMBI can keep the acid and alkali from mixing, forming a sharp pH gradient and enabling the successful operation of this system.</p><p>"Previous attempts to achieve this kind of acid-alkali separation were not able to synthesize and fully characterize the pH gradient across the PMBI," said Shrihari Sankarasubramanian, a research scientist on Ramani's team. "Using a novel electrode design in conjunction with electroanalytical techniques, we were able to unequivocally show that the acid and alkali remain separated."</p><p>Lead author Zhongyang WAng, a doctoral candidate in Ramani's lab, added: "Once the PBMI synthesized using our novel membranes was proven to work effectively, we optimized the fuel cell device and identified the <g class="gr_ gr_39 gr-alert gr_spell gr_inline_cards gr_run_anim ContextualSpelling multiReplace" id="39" data-gr-id="39">best operating</g> conditions to achieve a high-performance fuel cell. It has been a tremendously challenging and rewarding pathway to developing the new ion-exchange membranes that <g class="gr_ gr_38 gr-alert gr_gramm gr_inline_cards gr_run_anim Grammar multiReplace" id="38" data-gr-id="38">has</g> enabled the PMBI."</p><blockquote>"This is a very promising technology, and we are now ready to move on to scaling it up for applications in both submersibles and drones," Ramani said.</blockquote><p>Other participants in this work include Cheng He, a doctoral candidate, and Javier Parrondo, a former research scientist in Ramani's lab. The team is working with the university's Office of Technology Management to explore commercialization opportunities.</p><SPAN ID="__publishingReusableFragment"></SPAN><p> </p><p>Wang, Z, Parrondo J, He C, Sankarasubramanian S, Ramani V. Efficient pH-gradient-enabled microscale bipolar interfaces in direct borohydride fuel cells. <em>Nature Energy</em>. Feb. 25, 2019. <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41560-019-0330-5">https://www.nature.com/articles/s41560-019-0330-5</a><br/></p><p>This research was supported by funding from the Office of Naval Research (ONR grant no. N00014-16-1-2833), Washington University in St. Louis and the Institute of Materials Science & Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis. <br/></p><p><br/></p>​<br/> <div><div class="cstm-section"><h3>Vijay Ramani<br/></h3><div style="text-align: center;"> <strong> <a href="/Profiles/Pages/Vijay-Ramani.aspx"> <img src="/Profiles/PublishingImages/Ramani_Vijay.jpg?RenditionID=3" alt="Vijay Ramani" style="margin: 5px;"/></a> <br/> </strong> </div><div style="text-align: center;"><div style="text-align: center;"><ul style="padding-left: 20px; caret-color: #343434; color: #343434; text-align: left;"><li>Expertise: Electrochemical energy conversion and storage<br/></li><li>Research Interests: the confluence of electrochemical engineering, materials science and renewable and sustainable energy technologies.<br/></li></ul></div> <a href="/Profiles/Pages/Vijay-Ramani.aspx">View Bio</a><br/></div></div></div> An artistic representation of the pH-gradient enabled microscale bipolar interface (PMBI) created by Vijay Ramani and his lab. 2019-02-25T06:00:00ZA team of engineers in the McKelvey School of Engineering has developed a high-power fuel cell that operates at double the voltage of today’s commercial fuel cells. It could power underwater vehicles, drones and electric aircraft.
https://engineering.wustl.edu/news/Pages/WashU-Scientist-Develops-Fertilizer-From-Tiny-Particles-To-Keep-Waterways-Clean.aspx1019In the media: WashU Scientist Develops Fertilizer From Tiny Particles To Keep Waterways Clean<img alt="" src="/news/PublishingImages/022219_provided_smartfertilizer-01.jpg?RenditionID=1" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /><p>As a child in India, Ramesh Raliya saw his father buy an increasing amount of fertilizer for their farm each year, even as the family’s fields shrank.</p><p>As a Washington University researcher, Raliya works to reduce the amount of fertilizer farmers need to use and the waste that comes from using it.</p><div class="ad ad-medium" data-google-query-id="CJvllN-j1-ACFc1iwQod-MMAVw" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px -172.453125px 1.25rem 1.875rem; padding: 0px; width: 300px; z-index: 1; float: right; clear: right; caret-color: #3d3d3d; color: #3d3d3d; font-family: lato, "helvetica neue", helvetica, helvetica, arial, sans-serif; letter-spacing: 0.07999999821186066px; word-spacing: 0.4000000059604645px;"><div style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0pt none;"></div></div><div class="ad ad-medium" data-google-query-id="CJzllN-j1-ACFc1iwQod-MMAVw" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px -172.453125px 1.25rem 1.875rem; padding: 0px; width: 300px; z-index: 1; float: right; clear: right; caret-color: #3d3d3d; color: #3d3d3d; font-family: lato, "helvetica neue", helvetica, helvetica, arial, sans-serif; letter-spacing: 0.07999999821186066px; word-spacing: 0.4000000059604645px;"><div style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0pt none;"></div></div><p>Raliya, the CEO of biotech startup Smart Aerosol Technologies, has been using nanotechnology — or tiny particles less than 500 nanometers — to develop “smart fertilizer.” It’s an aerosol product that slowly releases nitrogen and phosphorus when sprayed on the plant. That can limit the amount of nutrient pollution that flows from farm fields into streams.</p><p>“Today we have a product that if you use a pound or a couple pounds [of smart fertilizer] in an acre, that’s equivalent to what you are fertilizing with a 50-pound bag,” Raliya said.</p><p>When he came to the U.S. to study engineering and agriculture, Raliya learned that conventional fertilizer products that provide nutrients to help crops grow are very inefficient. When farmers apply fertilizer to crops, plants often take up only eight to 30 percent of the nitrogen- or phosphorus-based products, while the rest goes into the soil and causes dead zones and harmful algal blooms in local waterways.</p><div class="wysiwyg-asset-image-wrapper wide" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px 0px 0.78125rem; padding: 0px; width: 663.328125px; float: none; clear: both; z-index: 1; caret-color: #3d3d3d; color: #3d3d3d; font-family: lato, "helvetica neue", helvetica, helvetica, arial, sans-serif; letter-spacing: 0.07999999821186066px; word-spacing: 0.4000000059604645px;"><div class="wysiwyg-asset-image" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"> <a href="http://mediad.publicbroadcasting.net/p/kwmu/files/styles/x_large/public/201902/022219_provided_smartfertilizer-02.jpg" class="popup" style="box-sizing: border-box; color: #168dd9; line-height: inherit;"><img class="pi_assets-image" data-interchange-default="https://news.stlpublicradio.org/sites/kwmu/files/styles/default/public/201902/022219_provided_smartfertilizer-02.jpg" data-interchange-small="http://mediad.publicbroadcasting.net/p/kwmu/files/styles/small/public/201902/022219_provided_smartfertilizer-02.jpg" data-interchange-medium="http://mediad.publicbroadcasting.net/p/kwmu/files/styles/medium/public/201902/022219_provided_smartfertilizer-02.jpg" data-interchange-large="http://mediad.publicbroadcasting.net/p/kwmu/files/styles/large/public/201902/022219_provided_smartfertilizer-02.jpg" src="http://mediad.publicbroadcasting.net/p/kwmu/files/styles/large/public/201902/022219_provided_smartfertilizer-02.jpg" alt="" style="box-sizing: border-box; display: inline-block; vertical-align: middle; width: 663px; margin: 5px;"/></a> <div class="image-meta" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0.5rem 3.3125px; word-wrap: break-word; line-height: 1.2rem; min-height: 1.4em; background-color: transparent;"><div class="caption" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px 0px 0.26042rem; padding: 0px; font-size: 0.8rem; font-style: italic; line-height: 1.25rem;">Smart fertilizer aims to be more efficient than conventional fertilizer. On the left are peanut plants that were fertilized by conventional products, and on the right are peanut plants fertilized by smart fertilizer. </div><div class="credit" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: #919191; font-size: 0.6rem; text-transform: uppercase;">CREDIT WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY, ENVIRONMENTAL & CHEMICAL ENGINEERING</div></div></div></div><p>By using smart fertilizer instead of conventional fertilizer, farmers can increase yields by 56 percent and reduce agricultural runoff by 60 percent, he said. Using the smart fertilizer can also increase the nutritional value of crops, which often is degraded by the heavy chemicals in most fertilizers, according to Raliya’s research.</p><p>Smart fertilizer has been tested on 10 different crops, including corn, soybeans, spinach and peanuts. Raliya has run experiments on farms in Missouri and Illinois. He plans to test the product this year in Arizona to see how it works in an arid climate.</p> <p>Raliya expects the cost of smart fertilizer to be comparable to conventional fertilizers, though it hasn’t hit the market yet. He plans to soon register the product with multiple state agriculture departments, so that farmers can purchase it.<br/></p>Washington University researcher Ramesh Raliya developed an aerosol product that applies fertilizer to crops using nanotechnology, or particles smaller than 500 nanometers.Eli Chen, St. Louis Public Radio | NPRhttps://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/wash-u-scientist-develops-fertilizer-tiny-particles-keep-waterways-clean#stream/02019-02-25T06:00:00Z"Smart fertilizer" uses merely a fraction of the amount as traditional fertilizer for the same amount of land<p>"Smart fertilizer" uses merely a fraction of the amount as traditional fertilizer for the same amount of land <a href="https://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/wash-u-scientist-develops-fertilizer-tiny-particles-keep-waterways-clean#stream/0">​>> Read the full article on St. Louis Public Radio|NPR</a><br/></p>