French, Hernandez take tech to market

An innovative wastewater technology developed at Mississippi State is entering the international energy market as part of a licensing agreement with a Canadian company.

The university's Office of Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer recently formed an agreement with Montreal-based New Forest Industries to use technology created by Rafael Hernandez and Todd French, associate professors in the Bagley College of Engineering's Swalm School of Chemical Engineering.

"This opportunity allows MSU researchers to implement unique technology through a commercial venture that will provide a fuel product from sustainable sources," said Josh Jeanson, MSU's licensing associate. "This will also provide a mechanism to build more relationships and technologies through ongoing research."

As part of the licensing agreement, New Forest Industries will build a commercial facility that incorporates the MSU technology with other proprietary methods to generate an alternative fuel. The next phase for the company will include using the technology to "optimize the process before wide-scale implementation happens," Jeanson said.

Hernandez, whose research specializes in biofuels and alternative energy, said the technology enables wood producers to create value from what would otherwise not be used again.

"This will convert wastewater generated during production of wood chips for power generation into oil for producing biofuels and a potential animal feed," Hernandez explained. "The integration of NFI and MSU technologies will result in more efficient generation of power, biofuel and bio-products."

Along with Hernandez and French, Mark Zappi, now dean of the University of Louisiana-Lafayette's College of Engineering, also is a co-inventor of this fuel technology. They received funding from the U.S. Department of Energy with the goal of creating technology to find new methods of producing energy from alternative sources.

The research and technology resulted from a scientific investigation by the university's Sustainable Energy Research Center and the Swalm School to find ways for creating additional energy products from sustainable sources, particularly waste products and biomass.

"SERC's research works to develop new biofuels that blend well with gasoline and diesel," said SERC director Glenn Steele. "Our research works to help transform Mississippi's economy while addressing national energy needs."

For more on the wastewater technology research, contact Dr. Hernandez at 662-325-0790 or; or Dr. French at 662-325-4308 or

Robbie S. Ward | University Relations

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