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GasPumpTree-webcropNC State’s College of Natural Resources is part of the Southeast Partnership for Integrated Biomass Supply Systems, a collaboration of several universities and industry partners who will work on all aspects of the “biofuels pipeline” between the forests where the trees – the biomass feedstock – are grown and the “biorefineries” where the biofuels are produced. The partnership is funded for five years with a $15 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

IBSS at NC State University

We are using $4 million of the grant to study the most efficient, cost-effective and environmentally friendly ways of producing biofuels from trees and from forest harvesting residue.

The research includes understanding the challenges of storing and transporting the biomass, and studying new developments in the production of biofuels. It also includes developing and deploying measures of the environmental and economic impacts of producing biofuel. The entire biofuel production process must be efficient, scalable and sustainable.

The Southeast is a veritable ‘wood basket’ that can produce much of the feedstock that shows great promise for production of biofuels. Besides the obvious need for energy security, this project will develop economic and environmental measures that can inform the public discussion at the community level, and allow individual communities to evaluate their prospects for job creation and landowner income. We need an to create the infrastructure capable of providing the backbone for increased biofuel capacity.

The partnership will also study the best ways of informing and training forest landowners and local businesses on the “hows” and “whys” of producing, harvesting and transporting different varieties of biofuel feedstock.

The partnership grant was one of five USDA-NIFA grants recently announced – totaling more than $136 million – aimed at developing regional, renewable energy markets, generating rural jobs and reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

For more more information, visit the IBSS website.

Key Contacts in NC State’s College of Natural Resources:

Dr. Steve Kelley

Robert Bardon, Vincent Chiang, Sudipta Dasmohapatra, Barry Goldfarb, Fikrit Isik, Hasan Jameel, Steve McKeand, Dan Robison, Sunkyu Park, Richard Venditti and Ross Whetten