About Wan-Ting (Grace) Chen
Prior to joining the faculty at Lowell, Wan-Ting (Grace) Chen is a postdoc research associate in the School of Chemical Engineering at Purdue University. Grace received her B.Sc in Chemical Engineering from the National Taiwan University, M.S. and Ph.D. in Biological and Agricultural Engineering from the University of Illinois. Grace’s PhD research work focused on developing a synergistically integrated waste-to-fuel system that simultaneously produces biofuel and treats wet biowaste via algae growth and hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL). In particularly, Grace’s PhD work contributes to the area of upgrading complex HTL biocrude oil converted from biowaste into transportation fuels by distillation, esterification, and catalytic treatments. Grace’s ongoing work focuses on valorization of plastic waste into useful products, including pristine polymers, fuels, specialty chemicals, and monomers.
With wet biowaste rapidly increasing due to urbanization, industrialization, and a growing population, finding an effective means of repurposing biowaste becomes increasingly crucial. The World Bank has projected a 70% global increase in urban waste and an 83% increase in the treatment cost by 2025, based on the current waste treatment technology such as incineration and landfilling. Consequently, a paradigm-shift to consider biowaste as a resource rather than a waste is key for a sustainable future.