By DIRK LAMMERS (Bloomberg Businessweek)
South Dakota State University is receiving more than $1.7 million in research grants to spur production of bioenergy and biobased products, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Tuesday.
The grants are part of nearly $36 million in Sustainable Bioenergy Grants awarded to a variety of institutions around the country.
“The solution to these bioenergy and biofuels projects will require different regional solutions,” Roger Beachy, director of the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, said.
South Dakota State in Brookings is getting $1 million to design a feedstock production system for bioenergy, which looks toward sustainability and resource management.
The grants are geared toward helping the country reach its goal of producing 36 billion gallons per year of advanced biofuels by 2022 and doing it in a sustainable way. One way to do that is to also produce byproducts that are as valuable as, or more valuable than, the biofuel, Beachy said.
“It’s a great thing to say we’re going to use sweet sorghum or perennial grasses to make bioenergy, but if the farmer can’t make a good living on it, then it’s going to be hard to convince him or her to do this,” he said.
For one of those byproduct projects, SDSU will receive just under $600,000 to develop carbon activation technologies.
The process, Beachy said, extracts “biochar” during plants’ conversion into fuel and turns that byproduct into activated charcoal that could be used in water purification systems.
SDSU will also get $150,000 to produce polysaccharide gums from prairie cordgrass, and the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology is receiving a grant of nearly $43,000 to buy equipment to help develop products from lignocellulosic biomass and microalgae.
Said all the paperwork on the projects, which is part of the 2010 budget is done and the projects should start within a month.
Source: Bloomberg Businessweek
Posted by Haylie Shipp