Auburn and research partners awarded $15 million by USDA for biofuels production

AUBURN – The USDA has awarded $15 million to Auburn University and a group of other academic institutions and private sector companies to study and develop biofuels production.

“By bringing universities and the private sector together, this partnership will develop bioenergy solutions that increase energy security and strengthen rural economies,” said Steve Taylor, director of Auburn’s Center for Bioenergy and Bioproducts (http://www.nrmdi.auburn.edu/bio/index.php).

In addition to Auburn, the consortium includes the Universities of Tennessee, North Carolina State and Georgia as well as ArborGen Inc. and Ceres Inc.

The project’s goal is development of a commercially viable production system that generates fuel based on forest residue, switchgrass and other energy crops. The U.S. government set 22 billion gallons per year as a target for fuels made from these types of renewable sources.

“The team brings extensive experience in biomass production and conversion science, a long history of education and outreach and a proven track record of advancing the region’s biofuels industry,” said Tim Rials, director of the Center for Renewable Carbon at the University of Tennessee, which leads the consortium.

The partnership is one of five selected in USDA’s national biofuels competition.

“Auburn’s role includes developing efficient feedstock logistics systems that are safe for workers and environmentally friendly and also advancing thermochemical conversion technologies to produce affordable fuels,” said Taylor.

For more information, go to http://auburn.edu/research/ibss/.

Contact: Steve Taylor, (334) 844-3534 (taylost@auburn.edu), or
Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999 (clardch@auburn.edu)