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NIFA Supports Bio-jet Fuel Technology R&D (R&D Report)
USDA,National Institute for Food and Agriculture
Date: 2019-12-18
In the Cornhusker State, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) is reporting receipt of grant funding from the USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to support collaborative research by Washington State University and University of Nebraska-Lincoln on the use of camelina oilseeds and other vegetable oil crops in renewable bio-based jet fuel manufacturing.

The research is aimed at developing new bio-based jet fuel manufacturing technology and crop feedstocks with vegetable oil compositions tailored for this technology.

The research team will use camelina as an oilseed platform to develop vegetable oil formulations with shorter carbon chains that are better suited for the processing technology. These genetic strategies will be transferred to other vegetable oil feedstocks, such as soybean and oil-rich sorghum, which are currently being developed by university faculty for the U.S. DOE Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation (CABBI).

Research at UNL builds on prior US DOE and Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences Research'funding. (Source: University of Nebraska, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, UNL IANR NEWS, 17 Dec., 2019) Contact: UNL Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, 402-472-2081,; National Institute for Food and Agriculture,; U.S. DOE Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation,

More Low-Carbon Energy News Camelina,  Oilseed,  USDA,  National Institute for Food and Agriculture,  

WSU Research Contributes to Aviation Biofuel Project (Ind. Report)
Washington State University,GEVO
Date: 2019-10-07
Northwest Advanced Bio-Fuels, LLC (NWABF) reports it is working with Washington State University's Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA), a project that established the availability and sustainability of woody biomass/forest residues as a feedstock for the production of aviation biofuels using Boulder, Colorado-based GEVO technology, The planned biorefinery, which is expected to go into production in 2023, would be constructed at Aberdeen, Washington.

As previously reported, Delta Air Lines, in partnership with NWABF, is investing $2 million to assess the biofuel refinery project's feasibility. Additionally, the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture funded NARA with $39.5 million over 5-years. (Source: Northwest Advanced Bio-Fuels, LLC (NWABF), Washington State Univ. Evergreen, 3 Oct., 2019) Contact: Washington State University, NARA, Ralph Cavalieri, (509) 335-5581,,; Northwest Advanced Bio-Fuels, LLC Chris Whitworth,Dir. Project Dev.,; Gevo, Patrick Gruber, CEO, 303-858-8358,,

More Low-Carbon Energy News GEVO,  Aviation Biofuel,  Woody Biomass,  

WSU Researchers Find Carbon Reserve Underfoot (R&D, Ind. Report)
Washington State University
Date: 2018-12-07
According to research from Washington State University at least a quarter of all the carbon stored in Earth's soil is found locked up in minerals roughly six feet beneath the surface. But new research suggests this unique carbon reservoir will become less efficient at carbon storage as the planet warms. The research details the way carbon physically and chemically binds to minerals in soils across the globe.

The new data showed minimal amounts of carbon are stored in the sediments of deserts and dry forests, but roughly six feet beneath the surfaces of wet forests, scientists found an abundance of carbon bound to reactive minerals. The persistence of water and decaying organic matter on the forest floor helps leach carbon from above and transport to minerals buried below.

According to the new research, global warming won't impact the carbon that is already stored beneath the surface of wet forest floors, but it will alter the pathway by which new carbon gets stored. Temperature increases are likely to minimize the amount of water running through forest soil, even if precipitation levels remain stable.

The results of the survey were published in the journal Nature Climate Change HERE. (Source: Washington State University, Vancouver, UPI, 2 Nov., 2018) Contact: Washington State University, Vancouver, Assoc. Prof. Marc Kramer, Environmental Chemistry,,

More Low-Carbon Energy News Washington State University,  Carbon Storage,  

Peabody Energy Increases Clean Coal Consortium Support (Funding)
Peabody Energy
Date: 2018-08-31
St. Louis-based coal giant Peabody Energy has reportedly donated an additional $1.5 million for a total of $6.5 million since 2008, to the Washington University Consortium for Clean Coal Utilization (CCCU), of which Peabody is a founding member.

The CCCU aims to make coal a safer and more affordable source of energy, with minimal impact on the environment. Donations fund new research projects, facilities, and outreach activities involving clean coal. The research projects are conducted by faculty from both Washington University and international partner universities. In total, the program has completed 24 research projects, 114 peer-reviewed papers and one book.

The CCCU is a part of the International Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainability (InCEES), which was established in 2007 as a larger effort to coordinate research on energy, environment, and sustainability.

According to Peabody Director of Corporate Communications Charlene Murdock, "Coal remains an essential part of the world' energy mix, and technologies are central to continuing to reduce the emissions profile." Murdock adds that "Peabody is dedicated to reducing emissions." (Source: Washington State University, Peabody Energy, Student Life, 28 Aug., 2018) Contact: CCCU, Richard Axelbaum, Dir.,; Peabody Energy, Glenn Kellow, CEO, Travis Snyder (314) 342-4351,

More Low-Carbon Energy News Peabody Energy,  Clean Coal,  ,  

NIFA Invests in Integrated Biorefinery Optimization (Ind. Report)
USDA,NIFA,Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance
Date: 2018-01-08
In the nation's Capital, the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) reports it has awarded a grant to improve biorefinery technologies through the Integrated Biorefinery Optimization (IBO) program which is coordinated and co-funded jointly between NIFA and the DOE Bioenergy Technologies Office. The funding comes from NIFA's Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) which addresses challenges in food and agricultural sciences through research, extension, and education.

Through IBO, the grant will fund research totaling $2,994,429 at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. The project proposes to develop and commercialize solvent fractionated lignins to polymeric products for their potential market in building and construction sectors. The proposed research is intended to develop integrated pathways for the extraction of value-added polymeric products from lignin waste/under-valued stream from biorefinery.

NIFA has invested in a range of projects to expand the regional biofuel and bioproduct industries and foster the scientific corps and workforce that support the bioeconomy. One recent example is a five-year investment to the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA) which has advanced research into biofuels and biochemicals, fostered the Northwest regional biofuel industry and helped educate tomorrow’s workforce on renewable energy. (Source: USDA, NIFA, PR, 4 Jan., 2018) Contact: USDA, NIFA,; NARA, Washington State University, (509) 335-5581,,

More Low-Carbon Energy News Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance,  USDA,  NIFA,  Biorefining,  Biofuel,  

WSU Studies Soil Carbon Sink Capacities (R&D)
Washington State University, Marc Kramer
Date: 2017-11-13
According to an international research team headed by Associate Research Scientist Marc G, Kramer at Washington State University, soil minerals approximately one foot beneath the earth surface could hold up to three times as much carbon as is found in the atmosphere. However, proper management of the soil is needed to reduce the levels of CO2 in the air, according to an international team of researchers.

More than half the carbon stored in soil is more than 1 foot beneath the surface, and at that depth the organic matter in the soil is almost entirely associated with minerals. Studying samples from China and Puerto Rico, the team found that mineral interactions rather than microbial activity was influencing carbon and nitrogen storage levels. (Source: Washington State Univ., Science Alert, 11 Nov., 2017) Contact: Washington State University, Marc Kramer,, //

More Low-Carbon Energy News Soil Carbon,  Carbon Sink,  CO2,  Carbon Dioxice,  

WSU, NARA Touting Woody Biomass Renewable Jet Fuel (Ind. Report)
Washington State University,Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance,
Date: 2017-10-18
Following on our 16 Nov., 2016 coverage, a 32-member research team at Washington State University, Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA), are touting the production of biofuel from regionally sourced woody biomass lumber and mill wastes.

According to NARA Co-director Mike Wolcott, woody bioimass forestry and lumbering wastes can be used as feedstocks for commercial aviation biofuels. As previously reported, Alaska Airlines used the fuel on a flight from Seattle to Washington, D.C. last November. The project received approximated $40 million in funding support. (Source, Washington State University, Daily Evergreen, 16 Oct., 2017)Contact: Washington State University, Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance, Ralph Cavalieri, Project Director, (509) 335-5581,,;

More Low-Carbon Energy News Jet Biofuel,  Aviation Biofuel,  Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance,  ,  

Algae Cultivation Techniques for Biofuels Explored at WSU (R&D)
Washington State University
Date: 2017-07-31
Washington State University researchers report the development of a way to grow algae more efficiently and quickly -- in days rather than weeks -- and thus make algae a more viable feedstock for biofuels and other applications.

According to a release, researchers would like to produce algae efficiently because of its potential environmental benefits. Oil from the algae can be used as a petroleum alternative, and algae also can be used as food, feed, fiber, fertilizer, pigments and pharmaceuticals. Growing and harvesting algae in wastewater streams could also reduce the environmental footprint of many manufacturing processes.

However, its industrial use hasn't caught on, primarily because algae needs a lot of time and water to grow. Generally, large ponds are required, and harvesting is labor intensive. Researchers have begun developing biofilm reactors to grow the algae, but the reactors aren't efficient because of pH or temperature variations or a limited supply of carbon dioxide gas. The patent-pending biofilm reactor recycles gasses and uses less water and lower lighting than typical reactors. The system allows the algae to simultaneously do photosynthesis like a plant while also "eating" carbon and respiring like an animal, the researchers say. The researchers fed the algae glycerol, a cheap waste product of biodiesel production, and urea, another inexpensive chemical that serves as a nitrogen source for the algae. Due to the design, CO2 and oxygen are recycled in the system.

The researchers have filed a patent application on the technology and are working to optimize the process which was funded through a Fulbright fellowship. (Source: Algae Research, VDF Central, July 26, 2017) Contact: Washington State University, Prof. Haluk Beyenal, Gene & Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering & Bioengineering,

More Low-Carbon Energy News Algae,  Algae Biofuel,  Biodiesel,  

Aviation Biofuel Research Progressing at Penn State (Ind. Report)
Penn State University
Date: 2017-06-28

According to Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences professor of bioproducts, Prof. Paul Smith, developing the capability to produce the huge volume of ASTM-certified, high-energy, dense biofuels needed by the airlines, and the logistics to handle the massive amount of feedstocks necessary has been a slow process. And now, oil prices in the low $40-a-barrel range are bogging the process down further, as the cost differential between petrojet and biojet widens and thus increases capital risk.

Smith's lab is part of a group that is evaluating regional supply chains that could be used for alternative jet fuel production, including feedstock production, transportation and fuel conversion. Researchers are examining fuel-production pathways, feedstock and infrastructure requirements, and commercial fuel demand to create scenarios for future production as well as identifying potential intermediate materials and co-products for each pathway to understand potential ways to aid in making biorefineries more economical. The project aims to identify key barriers that must be overcome throughout the alternative-jet-fuel supply chain to produce and effectively market 1 billion gpy of alternative jet fuel in the near term and 10 billion gpy in the longer term. The goal, Smith pointed out, has been to produce aviation biofuel from non-edible lignocellulosic feedstocks, such as timber harvests and crop residuals.

Penn State is part of a cooperative aviation research consortium known as the Center of Excellence for Alternative Jet Fuels and Environment, funded by the FAA, NASA, the Department of Defense, the EPA and Transport Canada. Led by Washington State University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the group is a coalition of 16 leading U.S. research universities and more than 60 private-sector stakeholders committed to reducing the environmental impact of aviation. (Source: Penn State University, PR, 26 June, 2017) Contact: Penn State College of Agricultural Science, Prof. Paul Smith, (814) 865-8841,,

More Low-Carbon Energy News Jet Biofuel,  Aviation Biofuel,  Penn State University,  Biofuel,  

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