By Zahra Debbek, Voiland College of Engineering & Architecture

Alyssa-HensleyPULLMAN, Wash. – Alyssa Hensley, who will graduate with a doctoral degree this month from Washington State University, recently received a national award so she could present her research about making biofuels more reliable.

The American Institute of Chemical Engineers’ (AIChE) Catalysis and Reaction Engineering Division Travel Award is presented to 20 graduate students each year.

Hensley’s research interests include developing catalysts for particular reactions. Her presentation to the AIChE conference was about developing a catalyst that addresses water presence in biofuels.

“I found (the conference) to be very helpful for gaining more knowledge and getting exposure to the scientists in my field and the type of work they’re doing,” she said.

Advised by assistant professor Jean-Sabin McEwen, Hensley is a student in the Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering.

Her research focuses on performing computational modeling of hydrodeoxygenation, the process of removing oxygen from carbon compounds in an attempt to conserve hydrogen to make biofuels more usable.