Research at the Wisconsin Institute for Sustainable Technology

Research at the Wisconsin Institute for Sustainable Technology (WIST) works in partnership with other universities, nonprofit institutions, and businesses. We're interested in your proposals for bespoke research.
Research and laboratory services objectives currently center on development of specialty papers for sustainable packaging, such as products that incorporate bioplastics or polymers as coatings or additives; innovation to gain value from waste materials such as pulp and paper mill residuals; development of a pilot-scale biorefinery and cellulose processing facility; and compostability, repulpability and recyclability testing. 
WIST biofuels research focuses on lignocellulosic sources such as wood pulp, and has potential to add revenue sources for the paper industry. WIST biofuels research has been supported by nearly $4 million in Department of Defense funding as part of the DoD initiative for fuel security. WIST is currently seeking partners for commercialization of its patented lignin-solvent technology.
Other research objectives include exploring new, non-food uses for agricultural and forestry resources. We're looking at use of residual or waste materials so food supply is not impacted. One example of WIST agricultural research is a collaborative project ​CaptureOkrayPartnershipStevensPointJournal13June2015.JPGthat seeks to extract a well-known health supplement additive, resveratrol, from Wisconsin-grown grapes. The Stevens Point Journal featured the project in this story June 13, 2015. Early research indicates the highest concentrations of resveratrol are in the canes, rachis and peduncles that support grape clusters, so the additive could be produced without use of the grape skin or juice. 

For more information about WIST research or to explore research opportunities contact Eric Singsaas, WIST director of research:

WIST research featured in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story


Eric Singsaas, WIST director of research, talks about the institute's research to develop biofuels and renewable chemicals from wood and biomass crops, and its potential to build revenue for the paper industry. Read Journal Sentinel staff writer John Schmid's story: Research could transform dying paper mills




Economic development incentive grants will spur research and development work to help grow Wisconsin's economy

Grants awarded by the UW System will support economic development in projects at universities across Wisconsin. At UW-Stevens Point, two WIST projects were funded: A grant of $2.8 million will fund a collaborative research facility for development and commercialization of biorefinery technologies. A grant of $1.4 million will fund innovation in specialty papers, including upgrades to the UW-Stevens Point pilot paper plant to enable improved education and training as well as trial-run production of laminated and coated papers for packaging, a sector with high growth potential.

Stevens Point Journal reporter Nathan Vine wrote about the grants and their potential to help regional businesses in this November 14 article for Gannett's Central Wisconsin newspapers. For more about the grants, read the UW-Stevens Point news release here; the UW-System news release here; and a column in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about the grant awards here.



WIST researchers analyze samples.

WIST isoprene research


This feature article in the magazine "Tire Technology International" details the institute's research to develop sustainably sourced isoprene. Isoprene is a building-block chemical, used in many applications including pharmaceuticals and in rubber production. Currently, isoprene for industry is derived from petroleum. WIST has developed technology to derive isoprene from biomass, including paper and pulp mill waste. This can create new revenue for the mills and for the agriculture and forestry industries. It would add jobs and grow the economy.
In the photo at right, WIST instrumentation specialist Justin Hall places samples in an ion chromatograph as Eric Singsaas, WIST director of research, looks on.

WIST research gains attention in Europe

WIST Director of Research Eric Singsaas talks about a meeting in Europe with a chemical company interested in WIST's work with biomaterials in this video.


WIST Brochure

This brochure also highlights some of the groundbreaking research underway at WIST.