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Cellulosic Biofuel Significantly Mitigate Climate Change (Int'l Study)
Biomass. Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Date: 2020-03-11
A recent long-term field study by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and Michigan State University (MSU) has found cellulosic biofuels derived from switchgrass, giant miscanthus, poplar trees, maize residuals, restored native prairie, and a combination of grasses and vegetation that grows spontaneously following field abandonment, could significantly mitigate global warming by reducing carbon emissions.

The study found when compared with petroleum only emissions, cellulosic ethanol was "78--290 better in reducing carbon emissions; ethanol was 204--416 pct improved, biomass powered electric vehicles powered by biomass was 74--303 pct cleaner and biomass-powered electric vehicles combined with CSS was 329--558 pct superior." The research will next assess other environmental and economic aspects of bioenergy crops.

The study was conducted at Michigan State University's (MSU) Kellogg Biological Station and the University of Wisconsin's Arlington Research Station which is part of the U.S. DOE Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center. Financial support was provided by the U.S. DOE Office of Science, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, U.S. National Science Foundation and Michigan State University AgBioResearch. (Source: American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, PR, EurekaAlerts, 9 Mar.,2020) Contact: American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. (212) 302-6443,,

More Low-Carbon Energy News Cellulosic Ethnol,  Biomass ,  Climate Change,  Global Warming,  

DOE Offering $75Mn for Bioenergy Crop R&D (R&D, Funding)
Date: 2020-01-13
In Washington, the US DOE has announced the availability of as much as $75 million in individual grants ranging from $1 million to $3 million over five years for research to develop of sustainable bioenergy crops that are "tolerant of environmental stress and resilient to changing environmental conditions." Funded research will focus on the genetic and physiological mechanisms influencing plant productivity and resource use, among other factors.

Qualifying Universities, industry and non-profit research institutions will collaborator with DOE national laboratories and other federal agencies. (Source: USA DOE, PR, Jan., 2020)Contact: US DOE BETO,

More Low-Carbon Energy News US DOE BETO,  Bioenergy Crop,  Bioenergy R&D,  

Fewer Biofuels, More Green Space May Benefit Environment, Study Finds (Ind. Report)
University of Michigan
Date: 2018-10-01
According to a study from University of Michigan (UM) Energy Institute professor John DeCicco, growing and harvesting bioenergy crops -- corn for ethanol, trees to fuel power plants, and others -- is a poor use of land, which is a precious resource in the fight against climate change.

The assumption that bioenergy simply recycles carbon is a major accounting error, DeCicco and William Schlesinger, president emeritus of the Milbrook, New York-based Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, held. The core of the assumption is the idea that producing a biofuel and then burning it for energy moves a given amount of carbon from the biosphere to the atmosphere, and back again in an unending and stable cycle. That's in contrast to the current one-way flow of fossil-fuel carbon from the Earth to the atmosphere.

According to DeCicco, for bioenergy to be actually carbon neutral, harvesting the biomass to produce it would have to greatly speed up the net flow of carbon from the atmosphere back into vegetation. Otherwise, decades can pass before the "carbon debt" of excess CO2 in the air is repaid by future plant growth. "All currently commercial forms of bioenergy require land and risk carbon debts that last decades into the future. Given the urgency of the climate problem, it is puzzling why some parties find these excess near-term CO2 emissions acceptable," the researchers noted.

In his 2016 study, DeCicco found that just 37 pct, rather than 100 pct, of the CO2 released from burning biofuels was balanced out by increased carbon uptake in crops over the first eight years of the U.S. biofuel mandate.

To reduce the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere requires avoiding deforestation and reforesting harvested areas, up to one-third of current carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels could be sequestered in the biosphere," the researchers wrote. "Terrestrial carbon management can keep carbon out of the atmosphere for many decades."

The new opinion was published in the latest edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (Source: Univ. of Michigan, Rahunuma Daily, 1 Oct., 2018) Contact: University of Michigan Energy Institute, Prof John DeCicco, (734) 764-6757,,; Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, (845) 677-5343,

More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Change news,  CO2 news,  Carbon Emissions news,  Bioenergy news,  

Iowa Study Examines Switchgrass as Biofuel Feedstock (R&D)
Iowa State University
Date: 2018-05-07
Where can Switchgrass Production be More Profitable than Corn and Soybean? An Integrated Subfield Assessment in Iowa, USA, a newly published research study by Iowa State University (ISU) examines converting underperforming areas in Iowa crop fields to switchgrass, which could provide an economic benefit from a future bioenergy crop market.

The study, which examines how to grow dedicated bioenergy crops without converting land already under perennial cover, identifies areas within fields suitable for conversion from corn/soybean to switchgrass as indicated by publicly available agronomic, management and economic information.

Under the assumptions that land is fully owned by farmers, and switchgrass sells for $55 per short ton, the study showed that 4.3 pct of the corn/soybean area in Iowa could break even when converted to switchgrass yielding up to 4 tons per acre. In some counties, converting corn/soybean areas to switchgrass could add up to millions of dollars in total annualized producer benefits. With a future bioenergy crop market for switchgrass, the researchers conclude their approach could be used beyond Iowa and could be applied to other intensively farmed regions globally with similar data availability.

The study is available HERE. (Source: Iowa State University, High Plains AG Journal, May, 2018) Contact: Iowa State University, Alejandro Plastina, assistant Professor of Economics,

More Low-Carbon Energy News Switchgrass,  Biofuel Feedstock,  Iowa State University,  

Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center Refocuses (Ind. Report)
Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center
Date: 2018-02-19
The Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC), led by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, reports it has embarked on a new mission develop sustainable alternatives to transportation fuels and products currently derived from petroleum.

GLBRC originally focused on corn stover ethanol production and developing perennial plants like switchgrass and miscanthus as biofuel feedstocks. Now, GLBRC goal is centered on designing advanced biofuels, such as isobutanol. These "drop-in" fuels could be used to replace gasoline without engine modification. By engineering bioenergy crops to enhance their environmental and economic value, and conducting research to generate multiple products from plant biomass, these advancements could optimize the bioenergy field-to-product pipeline.

GLBRC scientists and engineers are also improving the yield and processing traits of dedicated bioenergy crops for cultivation on marginal, or non-agricultural, land. With smart management, these crops have the potential to benefit the ecosystem, help mitigate climate change, and provide farmers with an additional source of revenue.

GLBRC is focused on enabling a new and different biorefinery, one that is both economically viable and environmentally sustainable. Realizing this goal will mean increasing the efficiency of biomass conversion and generating a mix of specialty biofuels and environmentally-friendly bioproducts, from as much of a plant's biomass as possible. One such discovery, breaks down lignin's six-carbon rings -- the "aromatics" -- into individual components. Traditionally sourced from petroleum, aromatics are used in a wide variety of products, including plastic soda bottles, Kevlar, pesticides, and pharmaceuticals, and are essential components of jet fuel. (Source: University of Wisconsin Madison, GLBRC, PR, 18 Feb., 2018) Contact: Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, Tim Donohue, Dir., John Greenler, Dir. Outreach, (608) 890-2444,

More Low-Carbon Energy News Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center,  University of Wisconsin Madison,  Biofuel,  Biochemical,  Ethanol,  Bioplastics,  

Restoring Peatlands for Bioenergy -- Report Attached (Int'l)
Peatland Restoration Agency
Date: 2017-12-08
Indonesia's Peatland Restoration Agency (BRG), in collaboration with the government of Central Kalimantan, reports it plans to broaden efforts to restore degraded peatlands for bioenergy feedstock and food production through new public-private partnerships with environmental NGOs, donor organizations, research institutes, scientific and government agencies. Project participants include the Center for International Forestry Research, Biotechnology Research Centre (FOERDIA), University of Muhammadiyah in Palangkaraya, and local communities in Pulang Pisau, Central Kalimantan.

According to BRG, the restoration of peatlands with bioenergy crops would restore ecosystem services as well as address energy deficiencies and promote clean and renewable energy. To help achieve those goals, CIFOR is working in close collaboration with government institutions, universities and local partners, including This research was supported by the Korean National Institute of Forest Sciences.

Download the Peatland Restoration Agency Report HERE (Source: Center for International Forestry Research, Dec., 2017) Contact: Center for International Forestry Research, +62-251-8622-622,

More Low-Carbon Energy News Bioenergy Crop,  

Bioenergy Could Help Secure UK's Energy Future, says ETI (Int'l)
nergy Technologies Institute
Date: 2017-10-11
In the UK, new research published by the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) reports that bioenergy could meet around 10 pct of the country's future energy requirements and help reduce 55 million tpy of carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, if used in combination with carbon capture and storage (CCS). ETI's research also noted that by planting nearly 1.4 million hectares of second generation, non-food bioenergy crops by 2050, the UK could achieve a cost-effective, low-carbon energy system, as well as create new farming and forestry jobs.

ETI programme manager Geraint Evans said: "Biomass is already one of the largest and most versatile sources of renewable energy in the UK. To keep the UK on the trajectory for scaling up domestic biomass production into the 2050s, there should be a steady increase in the planting of second generation bioenergy crops on marginal arable land or appropriate grassland in the UK by about 30,000ha per year. Steadily increasing the planting of bioenergy crops in the UK would allow the sector to develop best practices. This approach will also help the sector monitor and manage impacts on other markets and the wider environment more effectively." (Source: Energy Technologies Institute,, 6 Oct., 2017) Contact: Energy Technologies Institute, Dennis Gammer, ETI CCS Strategy Manager,

More Low-Carbon Energy News Bioenergy,  Woody Biomass,  Energy Technologies Institute,  

NEWBio Advances Sustaiable Biomass Energy (Ind. Report)
Date: 2017-09-11
The NorthEast Woody/Warm-season Biomass Consortium (NEWBio), a Northeastern U.S. regional network of universities, businesses and government entities reports that from 2012 to the present it has been working with $10 million in USDA funding to advance sustainable bioenergy and perennial biomass crops -- specifically warm-season grasses and short-rotation willow production strategies, policies and markets -- in the Northeastern U.S.

According to project director Tom Richard, NEWBio made tremendous progress building robust, scalable and sustainable value chains for bio-based energy, chemicals and materials across the Northeastern region.

Among its goals, NEWBio aimed to identify options where bioenergy crops could improve environmental outcomes without competing with food production. One was floodplains and buffers along streams where these crops can improve water quality. A second goal was to utilize abandoned and marginal lands using patented high-yielding willow and various warm-season grasses.

The NEWBio consortium includes the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Cornell University, Ohio State University, Delaware State University, Rutgers University, Drexel University, University of Vermont, SUNY-ESF, West Virginia University, Idaho National Laboratory, USDA-ARS, University of Maine and Stony Brook University. (Source: NEWBio, Penn State Univ., 8 Sept., 2017) Contact: Penn State Univ., Tom Richard, Project Director, 0291,; NEWBio, (814) 863-0291,

More Low-Carbon Energy News Woody Biomass,  Biomass Energy,  Sustainable Biomass,  Bioenergy Crops,  Willow,  Woody Biomass,  

Univ. of Illinois Awarded $104Mn for Bioenergy Crop R&D (Funding)
Univ. of Illinois Center for Advanced Bioenergy & Bioproducts Innovation
Date: 2017-07-24
The U.S. DOE reports it is awarding a total of $104 million over 5 years to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign for biofuel-bioenergy research and development under the school's new Center for Advanced Bioenergy & Bioproducts Innovation.

The federal government funding is aimed at further developing bioenergy crops crops that can be converted into biofuels, lubricants and other products more efficiently. Researchers are hoping to treat the bioenergy crops themselves as factories, coming up with ways to get them to grow desired products internally, such as oils or triglycerides, rather than being turned into high-value end products later. For example, field grasses have attracted researchers' attention because they come back year after year and are efficient plants. (Source: Univ. of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Crains, 20 July, 2017) Contact: Univ. of Illinois Center for Advanced Bioenergy & Bioproducts Innovation, Vijay Singh, Director,; Brian Jacobson, Pilot Plant Systems Analyst,;

More Low-Carbon Energy News Biofuel,  

Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center Funding Extended (Funding)
Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center
Date: 2017-07-21
The U.S. DOE reports that the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) at the University of Wisconsin--Madison will receive an additional 5 years of funding to develop sustainable alternative transportation fuels from dedicated bioenergy crops such as switchgrass, poplar trees and sorghum. These bioenergy crops will be grown on marginal -- non-agricultural -- land. In its previous research, GLBRC worked with biofuels from crops grown on agricultural land. GLBRC has received a total of approximately $267 million funding for research.

Established in 2007 by the DOE Office of Science Biological and Environmental Research program, GLBRC is based at the UW--Madison's Wisconsin Energy Institute and includes a major partnership with Michigan State University (MSU). The cross-disciplinary center draws on the expertise of biologists, chemists, engineers and economists, and employs over 400 researchers.

Over 10-years, GLBRC's academic and industrial partnerships have yielded more than 1,000 scientific publications, 160 patent applications, 80 licenses or options, and five start-up companies. (Source: Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, 17 July, 2017) Contact: Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, Tim Donohue, Dir., John Greenler, Dir. Outreach, (608) 890-2444,

More Low-Carbon Energy News Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center,  Biofuel,  Biofuel Feedstocks,  

Berkeley Joint BioEnergy Institute Funding Renewed (Funding)

Date: 2017-07-19
The US DOE's Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), reports it has been selected as one of four DOE Bioenergy Research Centers (BRCs) to share in $40 million DOE funding in support of biofuels and bioproducts R&D. The funding is part of the the Office of Biological and Environmental Research within DOE's Office of Science.

JBEI was among three BRCs established by DOE a decade ago to accelerate fundamental research in advanced, next-generation biofuels, and to make such technology cost-effective and widely available. The other two centers were the BioEnergy Science Center, led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, led by the University of Wisconsin-Madison in partnership with Michigan State University.

To date, JBEI research has yielded 672 peer-reviewed publications, 85 licenses, 23 patents, and five startups. JBEI has contributed to many scientific achievements, including: engineering bioenergy crops to increase sugar-containing polymers and decrease lignin in plant cell walls; developing an affordable and scalable ionic liquid pretreatment technology; developing microbial routes for the conversion of biomass-derived sugars into advanced, "drop-in" blendstocks for gasoline, diesel, and jet fuels. (Source: JBEL, PR, 17 July, 2017) Contact: LBL,; DOE Office of Science,

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