Frequently Asked Questions
Who are we?
Our center is part of The Texas A&M University System through the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station. Established in 1939, we work for industry helping with research and development of their products. We also train thousands of people from around the world through our short courses and special training.
What do we do?
We are the only facility in the world with comprehensive equipment and technical capabilities to take a raw material such as oilseed, fungal material and citrus, dehull/flake/peel the material, perform physical separation or diverse solvent/buffer extraction, fully refine the crude oil, extract bioactives or create new lipids, concentrate and isolate proteins, separate based on molecular weight/chemical properties, extrude into meat analogs/snacks/feeds AND create new biologically, nutritionally, and pharmaceutically unique ingredients and products. We also do water and wastewater separation and treatment, desalination, solvent recovery, solvent dehydration, decontamination and detoxification.
Who do we work with?
Our training and services are geared mainly toward the private sector, although we perform basic research and development on Texas crops and we work with state and federal research-oriented agencies through competitive grants. Our clients are diverse; we contract with agricultural biotech firms, large food and feed companies, chemical companies and small entrepreneurial ventures. We also collaborate with land grant universities like Texas A&M University, state and federal research laboratories, large research medical schools and small colleges in North America and abroad. In addition, we chair and co-chair graduate committees, direct research efforts and conduct projects with masters and doctoral students.
What facilities and equipment do we have?
We conduct training and processing in 22,337 square feet of pilot plant, laboratory, administrative and teaching space in five buildings on Texas A&M University RELLIS campus. Our equipment manufacturers and engineering partners provide us with pilot and commercial scale equipment, and further support us through instruction during our Practical Short Courses. Additionally, many equipment partners visit our center to assist “side-by-side” in large, pilot-scale processing projects and innovation development. A comprehensive listing of each program’s equipment can be found through the Equipment page.
What is our expertise?
Our researchers and technical staff are diverse in both theoretical and hands-on expertise, but are generally divided into four technical areas 1) Extraction and Protein Technologies, 2) Extrusion Technology, 3) Fats and Oils, and 4) Separation Sciences.
How do you work with us?
You sign a Research Services Agreement with us for process development projects, pilot scale processing, ‘toll’ processing, equipment or process validation and customized training, with the tasks written jointly with our program head and approved by the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station. We can quickly provide a template agreement that addresses terms and conditions, intellectual property, deliverables, etc. that, when executed, allows us to begin the project.
What short courses are available?
We conduct approximately 15 practical short courses every year at our facilities and on the Texas A&M University campus. You can find detailed information about each of our short courses here, including pricing, dates, registration information, hotels, maps and air travel. Our courses are ‘hands on’ with equipment demonstrations given with each day’s lectures to help the learning experience and allow for ‘one-on-one’ interaction with industry’s top technical staff. Come to one of our short courses and see how we have successfully trained over 15,000 people around the world. Seating is limited to maximize the learning experience, so register early.
What else do we do?
We do not do nutritional labeling, standard chemical analysis, packaging, flavor/taste panel development or market evaluation, however, we can help with those resources in conjunction with a project performed under a Research Services Agreement with us. Additionally, we are always looking for research and development partners (universities, small SBIR/STTR companies, state and federal R&D laboratories) to team up with us in technology development or basic research through state and federal grant applications since we do not measure biological endpoints – like nutritional, pharmaceutical or toxicological response – with the processes and subsequent products that we develop.