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Fueling the Future

Lee Lynd
Lee Lynd (Photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

Lee Lynd, professor of engineering and adjunct professor of biology at Thayer School of Engineering, is the first recipient of the Lemelson-MIT Award for Sustainability. The award, which carries a prize of $100,000, "recognizes inventors whose products or processes are viable and sustainable, and have high potential to improve the quality of life for future generations."

Lynd was recognized for his work on cellulose-derived ethanol, which can be derived from less intensively cultivated crops than corn—the crop most ethanol is currently produced from—and even from material usually considered waste. Lynd's research at Dartmouth, and that of the Mascoma Corporation, a cellulosic biofuels start-up that he co-founded in 2006, focuses on improving the efficiency of the microbial digestion process, a key to making cellulosic ethanol more cost effective.

The announcement of Lynd's Lemelson-MIT Award for Sustainability follows on the earlier news of the Mascoma Corporation's receipt of a $4.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The grant will fund a joint research venture with the DOE at its Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

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Last Updated: 7/24/18