– Many scientists say the next step in the march toward U.S. energy
independence is utilizing fast growing, short rotation woody crops (SRWC) as a
biomass source for energy and fuel. In September, October and November the
Southeastern Partnership for Integrated Biomass Supply Systems (IBSS) will take
to the road to show off research progress of the regional partnership, which is
focused on biofuels production centered in the Southeast.
Coordinated by the University of Tennessee Center for Renewable Carbon, and
including research partners Auburn University, North Carolina State University,
ArborGen, Inc. and the University of Georgia, the IBSS tour will feature
Auburn’s tractor-trailer scale mobile biomass gasifier. During the tour, the
gasifier will demonstrate how to turn biomass into electricity on a small
On Tuesday, September 30, the tour will stop in Columbus, Miss., for an
IBSS/Advanced Hardwood Biofuels (AHB) Field Day. Based on two years of
successful experiments in the Southeast and Pacific Northwest with fast-growing
cottonwood and hybrid poplars, IBSS, AHB, GreenWood Resources, and ArborGen
have partnered to establish a 70-acre hybrid poplar plantation. Mississippi
State University has also been an integral partner throughout the process,
assisting in research and helping with field day activities. At this stop,
visitors will get a close-up view of the SRWC system and learn about new research
on genetics, stand establishment, disease problems, wildlife impacts and
biomass harvesting logistics.
October 10, the tour will stop at the University of Tennessee Institute of
Agriculture East Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center in Knoxville for a
half-day Woody Crops Field Day. Visitors to the event will learn first-hand
about new energy crops like fast-growing hybrid poplar and their importance as
a feedstock for the emerging biofuels industry. This event will coincide with
the IBSS Annual Meeting, so many experts will be on hand to answer questions about
Stops are also
planned for September 13 at Auburn’s Ag Discovery Day and November 19 at the
Alabama Joint Leadership Development Conference (JLDC).
Advanced registration is required for the Columbus, Miss., and Knoxville, Tenn., events;
however, admission is free. Also, lunch is provided.
To reserve your space and your meal, please
email Jessica McCord, firstname.lastname@example.org. Send
your name and tour location by September 19, 2014. Details about
each event can be found online at at the IBSS
Partnership has also been involved in research to develop drop-in liquid fuels, such as gasoline, diesel and jet
fuel for use as a replacement for grain (corn)-based ethanol. The project
produced some 1500 gallons of a “green” diesel fuel from Southeastern-produced pine and poplar biomass and technology provided in
part by industrial research partners.
Rials, director of the UT Center for Renewable Carbon and a biochemist,
contends that the U.S. should invest in the Southeast for the production of
biofuels. “Our region can produce a variety of biomass feedstocks including
dedicated crops such as switchgrass and sorghum, along with dedicated woody
crops and forest residues,” he said.
The goal of the IBSS partnership is to demonstrate the production of advanced
biofuels from sustainable sources of lignocellulosic biomass. Initially, the
partnership has focused its efforts on perennial switchgrass and short-rotation
woody crops like eucalyptus and poplar. Rials said each dedicated crop has
inherent performance and cost advantages for specific conversion technologies.
“We are working to match the economic and environmental performance of each
feedstock with a preferred conversion platform so that the ultimate product,
the particular biobased fuel, will be reliable, available and affordable.”
Funded by a grant from the U.S. Department
of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), the IBSS Partnership
is also charged with developing educational efforts to help prepare future
workforce participants to contribute to the growth and sustainability of a new
bioenergy industry in the Southeast. The IBSS mobile tour is part of an effort
to make the public, including landowners, aware of the science involved in
biofuels development and the potential benefits of biofuels to society.
The IBSS Partnership is supported by Agriculture
and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grant no. 2011-68005-30410 from the
USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
The UT Center for Renewable Carbon is a program of the UT Institute of
Agriculture. The UT Institute of Agriculture provides instruction, research and
public service through the UT College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural
Resources, the UT College of Veterinary Medicine, UT AgResearch, including its
system of 10 AgResearch and Education centers, and UT Extension offices in
every county in the state.
Jessica McCord, UTIA Center for Renewal Carbon, 865-974-7370, email@example.com
Patricia McDaniels, UTIA Marketing and
Communications, 865-363-6009, firstname.lastname@example.org
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