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Student earns top international sustainability prize

By Kate Wilhite, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences

green-talents-80PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University graduate student Sergio Baravalle is among 25 exceptional young scientists worldwide to receive an annual award for work in sustainable development.

Baravalle is a Fulbright scholar working on his master’s degree in biological and agricultural engineering.

Chosen from 800 applicants

He was selected for the Green Talents International Forum for High-Potentials in Sustainable Development award by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research from more than 800 applicants in over 100 countries.

green-talents-400
Sergio Baravalle, WSU, and Johanna Wanka, Germany’s minister of education and research.

The “Green Talents” each win a two-week tour of renowned sustainable research centers in Germany and a three-month stay at the German research institution of their choice. They become lifetime members of a global network of sustainability leaders.

“I have spent two weeks with 24 of the best minds in their disciplines,” said Baravalle, who just returned from the tour. “That was the real prize.”

Learn more about the award at http://www.greentalents.de/.

Waste management, renewable energy

The awards jury looks for research projects with the potential to contend with threats such as global warming, energy shortages and environmental contamination.

The focus of Baravalle’s research is to gain understanding of the municipal solid waste business and how it can create sustainable and innovative solutions in conjunction with renewable energy technologies. He is also exploring a more efficient production of ethanol from dry plant matter by combining the processes of pre-treatment and sugar release into a single step.

Judges were enthusiastic about Baravalle’s combination of using multiple disciplines to conduct cutting-edge scientific experiments. They said this experience will help him advance sustainable waste management and energy solutions.

Pursuing certificates at MIT, WSU

“Sergio has displayed remarkable skills in science, business and engineering,” said Bin Yang, a professor in WSU’s Department of Biological Systems Engineering and Baravalle’s academic advisor. “He will continue to grow and make significant contributions to the field of converting biomass to fuels and chemicals.”

In addition to working on his master’s degree, Baravalle is pursuing graduate certificates in logistics and supply chain management from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and in project management from WSU.

 

Contacts:
Sergio Baravalle, WSU biological and agricultural engineering, sergio.baravalle@wsu.edu
Kate Wilhite, WSU College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences communications, 509-335-8164, kate.wilhite@wsu.edu

 

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