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What is Sun Grant?

Biobased products hold great promise for renewable energy and biobased, non-food industries.  The Sun Grant Initiative is a national program established to create new solutions for America's needs and to revitalize rural communities by working with land-grant universities and their federal and state laboratory partners on research, education and extension programs.

Sun Grant Mission

Through development, distribution and implementation of biobased energy technologies, the Sun Grant Initiative holds these aims:

  • Enhance America's national energy security
  • Promote diversification and environmental sustainability of America's agriculture
  • Promote opportunities for economic diversification in America's rural communities

Implementation

Five regions of the U.S. will carry out the Sun Grant Initiative, with coordination led by land-grant universities that have biomass production potentials and involvement in bioenergy research.

As envisioned, the Sun Grant Initiative would create university-based research, extension and educational programs for biobased energy technologies. Much of the initiative's focus is on generating new and innovative ideas. Accordingly, three-fourths of the Initiative's funding is earmarked for competitive grants.

The Sun Grant Initiative will enlist the resources of the land-grant universities. Partnerships with private sector entities, foundations, other educational institutions, local, state and federal governments and other organizations will be essential.

See the Congressional Authorizing Language here.

About Us

Diversity is the core of the Western Region's strengths.

Ranging from Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington, the region also includes the Pacific Territories of Guam and American Samoa, and the U.S. affiliated island nations of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia.

The Western Region is a culturally diverse area with widely variable environments and ecosystems.  There are large amounts of woody biomass and some areas with potential for high yield crop production, in addition to waste and residues from the large variety of crops and timber grown in the area.  Rural areas have large distance between population centers and this region frequently has limited production scale, and in some situations, areas have limited infrastructure.

 

Mission

Rationale for the Sun Grant Initiative

Canola farmBiobased products hold the promise of enhancing America's energy security, bringing greater diversity and stability to American agriculture, and promoting opportunities for economic development in rural areas. Because of current global events and economic instability, the demand is growing rapidly for domestic sources of energy and biobased products.

American consumers have felt the pinch of high energy costs. American farmers have been experiencing economic hardships as well, resulting in a devastating exodus to urban centers. Viable economic alternatives and diversity are needed in agriculture to bolster the Nation's independent farm families.

Agriculture can reduce America's reliance on imported fossil fuels and petroleum-based products by producing feedstock for a biobased shift to production of . . .

  • Fuels like ethanol and biodiesel
  • Electrical power
  • Lubricants
  • Plastics
  • Solvents
  • Adhesives
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Cosmetics
  • Building materials
  • Numerous other biobased products.

The Sun Grant Mission              

The mission of the Sun Grant Initiative is to Canola field

  • Enhance national energy security through development, distribution and implementation of biobased energy technologies,
  • Promote diversification in and the environmental sustainability of, agricultural production in the United States through biobased energy and products technologies;
  • Promote economic diversification in rural areas of the nited States through biobased energy and product technologies; and
  • Enhance the efficiency of bioenergy and biomass research and development programs through improved coordination and collaboration between the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Energy, and the land-grant colleges and universities.

Motivations and Benefits

  • Enhance national energy security through development, distribution and implementation of biobased energy technologies;
  • Promote biobased diversification and environmental sustainability of America's agriculture;
  • Promote opportunities for biobased economic diversification in rural communities. Agriculture can contribute greatly by producing feedstocks for production of fuels, electrical power, lubricants, plastics, solvents, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, building materials, and numerous other biobased products. This biobased shift would reduce our reliance on petroleum-based products. Motivation for Transition to a Biobased Economy
  • National Energy Security - Biobased fuels that can be produced within the United States will decrease our dependence on foreign sources of petroleum.
  • Economic Development - New industries will be created in the production, processing, and manufacturing of biobased products.
  • Environmental Quality Preservation - Use of biofuels will reduce greenhouse gas production.
  • Science and Technology are Ready! - Recent advances in molecular biology, genomics, and nanobiotechnology provide the tools for significant advances for a transition to a biobased economy.

Who Benefits?

  • Independent Farmers - Diversification of crops needed for growing fuels in the USA;
  • Rural Communities - Economic diversification based on new markets for biomass;
  • The Public at Large - Energy security through more US-produced fuels.

Implementation

A network of five land-grant universities serve as regional Sun Grant centers: South Dakota State University, Oregon State University, Oklahoma State University, the University of Tennessee - Knoxville, and Cornell University. Oregon State University is the Western Regional Center of the Sun Grant Initiative.

The Sun Grant Initiative will create university-based research, extension and educational programs for biobased energy technologies. Much of the initiative's focus is on generating new and innovative ideas. Accordingly, three-fourths of the Initiative's funding is earmarked for competitive grants.

The Sun Grant Initiative will enlist the resources of the land-grant universities. Partnerships with private sector entities, foundations, other educational institutions, local, state and federal governments and other organizations will be essential.

Conclusion

A new era is dawning for research, rural development and land-grant service, and it holds great potential for the universities and rural economies of the United States.

The founding principles of the Sun Grant Initiative are to develop biobased products, many of them with industrial applications, and to stimulate renewed economic activity, particularly in rural areas, through renewable energy and new biobased, non-food industries.

Authorization and funding this nationwide biobased energy research program has provided momentum. Now is the time to consider the impacts and benefits this landmark initiative holds for your region and to identify roles that your organization can have in this important effort.

Western States News

Alaska

Research in the areas of biofuels and bioproducts is a fairly new undertaking at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Scientists are focused on something Alaska has in abundance: wood - from managed forests, clearing for firebreaks at urban/wildland interfaces, and cultivated plantations.

Arizona

One focus of Arizona’s Sun Grant-related work has been on the many unique crops and plants that thrive here. For example, many indigenous plants of the American Southwest have the capacity to survive in the hostile desert environment as well as high photosynthetic capacities

California

Hawaii

Sun Grant-related research at the University of Hawaii includes three focal areas: bench-scale thermal gasification studies, development of new feedstock from oil crops, and development of a cyanobacterial system for ethanol production.

Idaho

Spontaneous combustion can be a problem in biodiesel plants, where rags or sawdust soaked in biodiesel or oil can spontaneously ignite, causing serious fires.

Nevada

Oregon

Oregon's long-standing commitment to biobased R&D includes wide-ranging research on biofuels, bioproducts, and environmental remediation. Given the tremendous diversity of climate, geology, and soils within the Western Region, Oregon's focus has been on identifying those feedstocks uniquely appropriate for the state and complementary to those of other regions.

Utah

Two initiatives at Utah State University exemplify Utah's commitment to the Sun Grant mission. The first is the ongoing work of the Center for Profitable Uses of Agricultural Byproducts. The second initiative is Dr. Yajun Wu's work at Utah State developing low-lignin biomass for ethanol production.

Washington

Washington State has one of the most comprehensive biofuel and bioproduct research and outreach programs in the Western Region, centered at Washington State University and administered through the WSU Center for Bioproducts and Bioenergy (CBB). WSU research and outreach on Sun Grant-related topics span four key areas: (1) biomass residues to products and fuels; (2) crop feedstock improvement and production; (3) biobased engineered materials; and (4) analysis of bioproducts and biofuels.

Pacific Territories

Alaska

Alaska Sun Grant Activities

Alaska mountains

Alaska mountains in the fall

Unalakleet River

Unalakleet National Wild River

Biomass tree farm

Biomass tree farm

Canola field

Canola Field

Research in the areas of biofuels and bioproducts is a fairly new undertaking at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Scientists are focused on something Alaska has in abundance: wood - from managed forests, clearing for firebreaks at urban/wildland interfaces, and cultivated plantations. As a result, interest is increasing in biofuels research, including chips, pellets that use waste products, wood, and wood/coal combinations. Technologies for using these fuels include those adapted to homes, mid-size installations that might be appropriate for schools and smaller rural communities, and larger plants for use in urban areas and military bases. Work in this area will be in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service, Alaska Division of Forestry, and the Cold Climate Housing Research Center, a private group working as a university partner.

The UAF School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences, Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station in partnership with an Alaska-based biotechnology firm, and the Cooperative Extension Service are exploring development of plant-based nutraceuticals from native Alaskan species and cultivated berries and vegetables. Alaska berries are higher in antioxidants than comparable berries at lower latitudes.

Finally, researchers at UAF’s School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences are conducting research on products from birch trees, an abundant genus in Alaska. The products of interest include birch sap and birch bark.

An important priority for Alaska’s Sun Grant-related work is to address the specific concerns and needs of remote rural populations and areas of common interest to urban communities such as energy supplies and sustainable economic development appropriate to smaller communities and Alaska’s remote location.

Arizona

Arizona Sun Grant Activities

Ephedra

Ephedra, also known as Mormon Tea

Given the tremendous diversity within the Western Region, research has emphasized those feedstocks and other crops uniquely appropriate for the region in terms of self-sufficiency and complementary to those of other regions.

One focus of Arizona’s Sun Grant-related work has been on the many unique crops and plants that thrive here. For example, many indigenous plants of the American Southwest have the capacity to survive in the hostile desert environment as well as high photosynthetic capacities. Both of these attributes contribute to the production and accumulation of large quantities of secondary plant compounds, some of which have commercial applications as specialty chemicals.

Acacia senegal, an African species which can be cultivated in the US Southwest is known to produce Gum Arabic which is used internally in treating inflammation of intestinal mucosa and externally to cover inflamed surfaces. Arizona researchers have found an Acacia species which grows well in the Arizona desert and produces a useful anticancer agent.

Another local species, Mormon tea (Ephedra), is a popular herbal supplement which grows in arid environments. Unlike the Chinese Ephedra, it does not contain ephedrine, and is therefore safe to use. There currently is a considerable market for Mormon tea in Utah and Colorado. Finally, Arizona researchers are also examining sweet sorghum as a potential feedstock for ethanol production.

In the News:

Department of Energy Announces $24 Million for Algal Biofuels Research

June 28, 2010

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced today the investment of up to $24 million for three research groups to tackle key hurdles in the commercialization of algae-based biofuels. The selections will support the development of a clean, sustainable transportation sector—a goal of the Department's continued effort to spur the creation of the domestic bio-industry while creating jobs. Developing cost-effective renewable transportation fuels is a key component of the Administration's strategy to cut greenhouse gas emissions and move the nation toward energy independence.

"Partnerships such as these focus the creative powers of the public, private, and academic sectors on key challenges facing the development of renewable energy for transportation," said Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Cathy Zoi. "The United States must find effective ways to hasten the development of technologies for advanced biofuels made from algae and other renewable resources to reduce our need for foreign sources of oil." Zoi made the announcement while speaking today at the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) 2010 World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocessing.

The consortia consist of partners from academia, national laboratories, and private industries that are based across the country, broadening the geographic range and technical expertise of DOE partners in the area of algal biofuels. Projects are expected to continue for a period of three years. Together, they represent a diversified portfolio that will help accelerate algal biofuels development with the objective of significantly increasing production of affordable, high-quality algal biofuels that are environmentally and economically sustainable.

Sustainable Algal Biofuels Consortium (Mesa, Arizona): Led by Arizona State University, this consortium will focus on testing the acceptability of algal biofuels as replacements for petroleum-based fuels. Tasks include investigating biochemical conversion of algae to fuels and products, and analyzing physical chemistry properties of algal fuels and fuel intermediates. (DOE share: up to $6 million)

California

Coming soon!

Hawaii

Hawaii Sun Grant News

sugarcane field
Oceanside sugarcane field
Jatropha curcas
Jatropha curcas field
Dairy waste runoff management energy system
Dairy waste runoff management energy system

 

Sun Grant-related research at the University of Hawaii includes three focal areas: bench-scale thermal gasification studies, development of new feedstock from oil crops, and development of a cyanobacterial system for ethanol production.

Within the broad thermal gasification arena, research is focusing on alkali removal from biomass-derived gas using solid sorbents, tracking fuel-bound nitrogen, tracking inorganic constituents in biomass, and catalytic reforming of tars and oils.

The second area is evaluating non-traditional oil crops, including Jatropha curcas and Pongamia pinnata, as potential feedstocks for biodiesel and charcoal production. These trees were chosen for their low resource input requirements and their ability to thrive on poor soil. Their cultivation on marginal lands will promote land reclamation and inhibit soil erosion, while not competing with food crops for agricultural land. Partners in these efforts include the University of Hawaii's College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR), the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, Pacific Biodiesel, Oils of Aloha, and Volcano Island Honey Company.

Finally, while most of the ethanol production in the U.S. is produced via fermentation of starch crops, a study at CTAHR's Department of Molecular Biosciences and Bioengineering is investigating a cyanobacteria-based system to produce ethanol. The environmental benefit of this system is the conversion of CO2, a greenhouse gas, into bioethanol, a renewable energy source.

Projects of Interest

Wastewater Management


In the News:

Department of Energy Announces $24 Million for Algal Biofuels Research

June 28, 2010

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced today the investment of up to $24 million for three research groups to tackle key hurdles in the commercialization of algae-based biofuels. The selections will support the development of a clean, sustainable transportation sector—a goal of the Department's continued effort to spur the creation of the domestic bio-industry while creating jobs. Developing cost-effective renewable transportation fuels is a key component of the Administration's strategy to cut greenhouse gas emissions and move the nation toward energy independence.

"Partnerships such as these focus the creative powers of the public, private, and academic sectors on key challenges facing the development of renewable energy for transportation," said Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Cathy Zoi. "The United States must find effective ways to hasten the development of technologies for advanced biofuels made from algae and other renewable resources to reduce our need for foreign sources of oil." Zoi made the announcement while speaking today at the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) 2010 World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocessing.

The consortia consist of partners from academia, national laboratories, and private industries that are based across the country, broadening the geographic range and technical expertise of DOE partners in the area of algal biofuels. Projects are expected to continue for a period of three years. Together, they represent a diversified portfolio that will help accelerate algal biofuels development with the objective of significantly increasing production of affordable, high-quality algal biofuels that are environmentally and economically sustainable.

Cellana, LLC Consortium (Kailua-Kona, Hawaii): Led by Cellana, LLC, this consortium will examine large-scale production of fuels and feed from microalgae grown in seawater. Tasks include integrating new algal harvesting technologies with pilot-scale cultivation test beds, and developing marine microalgae as animal feed for the aquaculture industry. (DOE funding: up to $9 million)

Khosla Ventures, Hawaiian Electric to collaborate

By Susanne Retka Schill Web exclusive posted Dec. 29, 2008, at 4:06 p.m. CST

Khosla Ventures and Hawaiian Electric Co. have agreed to collaborate on evaluation and early deployment of green-energy technologies. The companies will work with entrepreneurs and start-up companies developing clean technology with the goal of accelerating the commercialization of promising new products and services.

Founded in 2004 by venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, a cofounder of Sun Microsystems, Menlo Park, Calif.-based Khosla Ventures supports breakthrough scientific work in clean technology areas and offers venture assistance, strategic advice and capital to entrepreneurs.

“In its position, Khosla Ventures is exposed to innovative new companies and green technologies,” said Karl Stahlkopf, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president for energy solutions and chief technology officer. “Through this first-of-its kind agreement, Hawaiian Electric will be able to evaluate and test promising technologies on our systems, with the hope that contributing to their development will allow even greater opportunities for us to use them in Hawaii.”

Under a memorandum of understanding formally signed recently, Hawaiian Electric and Khosla Ventures shall regularly share information regarding new products or services in the area of clean technology development. “The evaluations and assessments provided by Hawaiian Electric will be invaluable in helping to insure clean energy technologies developed by the start-up companies are ready to meet the demands of commercial deployment and focused on the most promising target markets,” said Vinod Khosla, Khosla Ventures’ founder.
 Hawaiian Electric is looking to implement a range of renewable technologies for electrical generation. In addition to wind and solar, Hawaiian Electric plans to convert its existing oil-fired generation over to biofuel, explained Peter Rosegg, corporate communications director for Hawaiian Electric. A100 megawatt combustion turbine is currently under construction on Oahu Island that will use biodiesel. The island of Maui is heavily dependent on petroleum diesel for up to 80 percent of its electric generation, he added. “We believe based on experience and testing that can be replace virtually barrel for barrel with biofuel. In 2009 we will commence testing generating units that use low sulfur fuel oil to see how strong a blend of biofuel can be added to keep those units running at top efficiency.”

Hawaiian Electric is partnering in an algae production project with Maui landowner Alexander & Baldwin Inc. and start-up HR BioPetroleum Inc. The plan is to create a commercial-scale algae facility adjacent to the Ma’alaea Power Plant. Hawaiian Electric is also a partner in the proposed BlueEarth Biofuels LLC 40 MMgy biodiesel processing plant on Maui, which is expected to be operational in early 2010. The goal is to use locally grown oil feedstocks such as algae, jatropha or palm.

Maui Island gets biomass electricity generated as a coproduct from the last sugar plantation in the state, and Hawaii Island, also known as the Big Island, has several biomass projects in the works.

Hawaiian Electric’s focus on renewable power generation fits into an initiative launched in early December to establish an electric-car network in the state. Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle signed a memorandum of understanding with Better Place Hawaii, to collaborate on the infrastructure and energy sources to power Better Place’s network of public charging spots and battery swapping stations with renewable energy. “The Hawaiian Electric companies believe that the Better Place model coming to Hawaii will not only reduce fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions by substituting electric vehicles for internal combustion engine vehicles,” Rosegg said, “but can help us provide a larger off-peak market for all kinds of renewables.”

Nevada

Planting biofuel crops

Planting biofuel crops

Oregon

Oregon Sun Grant News

Bioenergy research lab

Bioenergy Research Lab

Hybrid poplars

Hybrid poplars

Meadowfoam flowers

Meadowfoam flowers

Oregon's long-standing commitment to biobased R&D includes wide-ranging research on biofuels, bioproducts, and environmental remediation. Given the tremendous diversity of climate, geology, and soils within the Western Region, Oregon's focus has been on identifying those feedstocks uniquely appropriate for the state and complementary to those of other regions.

In addition to examining types of feedstocks, Oregon has been conducting further R&D into biomass production and conversion (especially in the areas of agricultural and timber residues, which represent major feedstock opportunities in the Western states), biogas from animal and urban wastes, and transportation fuels, in conjunction with power generation and co-product development. Examples of valuable co-products under investigation are industrial proteins and enzymes, pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals, "natural" crop control chemicals, and structural materials that could be obtained from each state's unique crops and plants.

Oregon investigators are also conducting R&D in processing technology that includes microbial and solar driven hydrogen fuel cells, microprocessing of biodiesel production, and processing biosensors. In the area of bioremediation, scientists at Oregon State University's Klamath Experiment Station have been investigating the possibility of using fast-growing hybrid poplars and other crops to treat sewage effluent.

 

News Articles

Study Finds Net Energy Of Biofuels Comes At a High Cost

By Peg Herring, 541-737-9180
Source: William Jaeger, 541-737-1419

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A new economic analysis of biofuels by Oregon State University sets a cautionary tone for the large-scale production of biofuels in Oregon. Results of the study suggest that the "net energy" of biofuel is expensive when all costs of its production and delivery are taken into account. [more]

 

ODA releases report about energy and agriculture in Oregon

Oregon farmers and ranchers have made many energy efficiency improvements, and some have even installed renewable energy projects. However, many opportunities remain. A report released this week from the Oregon Department of Agriculture describes the types of projects that farmers and ranchers have installed, identifies existing resources to help farmers and ranchers complete these projects, and suggests strategies to promote greater energy efficiency and renewable energy adoption in agriculture.
 
Download the report (2.1 MB pdf)

 

Oregon Senate passes biomass inventory bill

The Oregon Senate has passed a bill that would require the state forestry department to perform inventories of potential woody biomass resources for energy production.

Utah

Utah Sun Grant News

Two initiatives at Utah State University exemplify Utah's commitment to the Sun Grant mission. The first is the ongoing work of the Center for Profitable Uses of Agricultural Byproducts. The Center was established in 2000 to strengthen the rural economy by working closely with farmers, ranchers, and agricultural businesses to bring them technologies that they need and want. The center's main project thus far is the induced blanket reactor (IBR) anaerobic digester, which can make electricity from manure. The manure produced by a typical 1,000 cow dairy or 6,000 hog farm can generate enough electricity for 100 homes. 

The second initiative is Dr. Yajun Wu's work at Utah State developing low-lignin biomass for ethanol production. Ethanol production from biomass currently requires pretreatment of cell walls using methods such as steam explosion and acid hydrolysis to make tightly bound cellulose more available for microbial or fungal treatment. The acid-insoluble lignin fraction is retained with the pretreated biomass. The process of ethanol production would be made easier if the biomass was low in lignin to begin with. Dr. Wu has demonstrated that genetic engineering can be used to reduce lignin content by controlling the enzymes that catalyze the last step of lignin synthesis, i.e., polymerization. A mutation in a single laccase in Arabidopsis resulted in a 30% reduction in lignin content specifically in the seed coat. Twelve laccase genes have been identified.

Washington

Washington Sun Grant News

Canola fields on the Columbia

Canola fields along the Columbia River

Hybrid poplar

Hybrid poplar plantings

Canola farm

Canola farm

Washington State has one of the most comprehensive biofuel and bioproduct research and outreach programs in the Western Region, centered at Washington State University and administered through the WSU Center for Bioproducts and Bioenergy (CBB). WSU research and outreach on Sun Grant-related topics span four key areas: (1) biomass residues to products and fuels; (2) crop feedstock improvement and production; (3) biobased engineered materials; and (4) analysis of bioproducts and biofuels. 

Specific projects involve the areas of biodiesel and ethanol production, anaerobic digestion, bioenergy inventory assessments, polymer/wood composites, and bioproducts ranging from omega-3 fatty acids derived from glycerin to nisin and lactic acid from cheese whey and pharmaceuticals derived from genetically modified barley.

Key components working under the CBB umbrella are the Agri-Environmental and Bioproducts Engineering Research Group housed in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering, the Wood Materials and Engineering Laboratory housed within the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the Institute of Biological Chemistry and Department of Crop and Soil Sciences both housed within the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Resources Sciences and the Bioproducts, Sciences and Engineering Laboratory located in the Tri-Cites which is a joint collaboration pilot-scale research facility housing both WSU and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) personnel.  

WSU faculty and staff participate actively in bioproduct policy and planning bodies at the national, regional, and state level with WSU serving as the Washington project leader of the six-state Pacific Regional Biomass Energy Partnership. WSU Extension, particularly through the efforts of the WSU Energy Program and Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources, play a vital role with the CBB in disseminating material and technologies throughout the state and region.

Pacific Territories

Pacific Territories Sun Grant News

Pacific Territories news coming soon!

Sun Grant Initiative Contacts

Western Region Contacts

John Talbott, Director
Western Regional Center
Oregon State University
138 Strand Ag. Hall
Corvallis, OR 97331
Phone - 541-737-2194
Fax - 541-737-3178
john.talbott@oregonstate.edu

 

The Five Regional Centers

The Five Regional Centers

5 Regional Sungrant CentersNorth Eastern Regional Center
(Penn State University) 

South Eastern Regional Center
(University of Tennessee)

North Central Regional Center
(South Dakota State University)

South Central Regional Center
(Oklahoma State University)

Western Regional Center
(Oregon State University)

Center Activities

Sun Grant Initiative Programs

Competitive Grants

One of the functions of Sun Grant is to provide competitive grants to researchers engaged in developing alternative energies and bioproducts.

Industrial Ecology

Cradle to Grave Analysis of Agricultural Biofuels and Bioproducts Systems

Sustainable Technologies Laboratory

Information about OSU's Sustainable Technologies lab, including links to the lab website and an educational presentation on biofuels.

Algae Institute

Western Region and its partners are working together to develop the Western States Algae Biotechnology and Biofuels Institute.

Agricultural Energy Audits

Rural Energy Audits by the OSU Energy Efficiency Center characterized agricultural energy uses and developed calculations and processes to conduct energy assessments at seven OSU facilities.

Farm to Fly

Sustainable Aviation Biofuels from U.S. Agriculture.

Research Priorities

Western region research program areas include: feedstock enhancement and development, biomass conversion and biofueul/bioenergy processing and bioproducts.

Pacific Island Sub-center

With more than 90 percent of Hawaii’s energy needs dependent on imported fossil fuels, we are particularly vulnerable to supply shortages.

Competitive Grant Programs

U.S. Department of Transportation-Funded
Competitive Grants Program

Grants Awarded

A Forest Residue-Based Pyrolysis Biorefinery. (2009-)

PI: Karl Englund, Washington State University

Biorefineries have the potential to produce much-needed biofuels, supply valuable bioproducts, utilize waste streams and create jobs in rural communities. Dr. Englund and his research team propose to develop a new forest residue-based Biorefinery for producing bio-oils while concurrently developing formaldehyde-free resin from some of the unusable fractions. This new Biorefinery model uses a pyrolysis process, which applies very high temperatures to convert biomass into various products. This approach will diversify the value of forest biomass. (Read more...)


Arid Land Development of Sweet Sorghum as a Renewable Feedstock. (2009-)

PI: Kimberly Ogden, University of Arizona

Alternative fuel production is of increasing interest throughout the U.S. and cost and demand increase while fossil fuel supplies are decreasing on a global scale. The Southwestern U.S. is an ideal place for feedstock growth, with an abundance of sunny days; however, limited water availability is a growing concern. Dr. Ogden will investigate a feedstock that requires low inputs of nutrients, energy and water. Sweet sorghum is salt tolerant and requires less seed, fertilizer, pesticide, irrigation water and tillage than other crops currently used for ethanol production. (Read more...)


Assessment of Production and Transportation Practices for Sweet Sorghum (2011-)

PI: Kimberly Ogden, University of Arizona

Alternative fuel production is of increasing interest throughout the U.S. and the world as cost and demand increase while fossil fuel supplies decrease on a global scale.  Kimberly Ogden and her team will assess the potential of sweet sorghum as an energy crop in the Southwest including field and fermentation studies to optimize production as well as economic and life cycle assessments (LCA).  Sweet sorghum requires low inputs of nutrients, energy and water.


Bio-electrolysisBio-electrolysis: Novel Technology for Hydrogen Production from Lignocellulosic Biomass. (2007-)

PI: Hong Liu, Oregon State University.

Hydrogen, one of the cleanest and most desirable fuels, is expected to play an increasingly important role in our economy. At present, non-renewable fossil fuels are the main sources of hydrogen production. The overall goal of the proposed research is to develop a novel bio-electrolytic process to generate hydrogen directly from renewable, abundant and readily available lignocellulosic biomass in a cost-effective manner. Dr. Liu, along with Kaichang Li (OSU), will examine the factors affecting hydrogen production from complex lignocellulosic biomass in order to improve the overall efficiency of the process. The team will use pine wood flour as the model lignocellulosic biomass. The successful completion of this project will result in the development of a novel process for hydrogen production from woody biomass. (Read more...)


Bioprospecting for Enzymes to Break Lignin-Hemicellulose Bonds (2011-)

PI: Tom Chang, Utah State University

The major impediment to the use of forest biomass for biofuels and platform chemicals is the difficulty of separating the polysaccharides in wood from lignin. The problem is mostly due to ether bonds between lignin and hemicelluloses, which are likely to be non-glycosidic.  Tom Chang and his partner will investigate enzymes that that can break non-glycosidic ether bonds between lignin and hemicelluloses, thus cleaving the carbohydrates from lignin instead of using current environmentally unfriendly high stringency chemical procedures.  The long-term goal is to enhance the efficiency in biofuel production from lignin-containing biomass.


John CushmanBiofuels from Salt Basin Algae: A Renewable Energy Crop for Carbon Sequestration. (2007-)

PI: John Cushman, University of Nevada, Reno.

The long-term goal of this research project is to optimize the use of halophytic microalgae as a biofuels crop. Halophytic algae are an ideal renewable energy resource because they can be grown on marginal lands with brackish or saline water and have been shown to be thirty times more productive than terrestrial feedstocks. Dr. Cushman and his co-PIs will screen algae strains and mutants for high production of triacylglycerols (TAGs) under different growing conditions and identify genes related to oil production by microarray analysis. Ultimately, this project will provide an assessment of the potential of algae as a biodiesel feedstock. The PIs will educate the public of their results with a room-size demonstration production facility and develop a pilot-scale proof -of-concept algae-based biodiesel production system. (Read more...)

Camelina improvement for insensitivity to residual herbicide activity. (2009-)

PI: Scot Hulbert, Washington State University

Camelina is a newly emerging crop that has considerable potential as a biofuels feedstock in the inland Pacific Northwest and also has potential for making cropping systems more sustainable. However, it is extremely sensitive to residual amounts of certain herbicides (Group 2, imidazolinone) in the soil, which could hinder adoption of the crop by potential growers. Dr. Hulbert and his co-PI have initiated a program to develop Camelina lines that are resistant to these herbicides, thus reducing the risks to those who want to adopt this crop as part of their crop rotation plan. The ultimate goal is to quickly release these new lines of Camelina to all interested breeders and seed producers. (Read more...)


Customizing biodiesel derived from tropical trees. (2008-)

PI: Richard Ogoshi, University of Hawaii

The remote locations and distinctive flora of the Pacific Islands create a unique situation for biofuel production. The project team is investigating the use of coconut, kamani, and Jatropha trees as feedstocks for biodiesel production, which would enhance energy self-sufficiency for these locales. Substitution of biodiesel has significant environmental advantages in reducing engine emissions of particulates, hydrocarbon, sulfur dioxide, and carbon monoxide, although there can be an increase in the emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), an important contributor to smog, acid rain, and other atmospheric pollutants. The multi-institutional team seeks to determine the growing conditions for the trees that may result in low NOx emitting biodiesel. The project combines agronomic research and chemical analysis (through the lab of the Alaska co-PI) to develop viable, low polluting biofuels with enhanced fuel properties that can potentially improve air quality and decrease emissions of green house gases and those contributing to acid rain. (Read more...)


CoatsDevelopment of a Bio-based Industry Utilizing Organic Waste Streams: Production of Biological Thermoplastics and Natural Fiber-Thermoplastic Composites. (2007-)

PI: Erik Coats, University of Idaho.
Biologically-derived polyesters known as polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) represent a potentially sustainable replacement to fossil-fuel based thermoplastics. However, current commercial production of PHAs exhibits higher fossil fuel demands and generates more carbon emissions, and is therefore not environmentally benign. Dr. Coats, and his co-PI seek to develop new biobased products and processes that utilize waste streams, improve waste management practices, enhance rural economic development opportunities, and ultimately, lead toward reduction in the dependence of petroleum-based feed stocks and products. (Read more...)


Development of Camelina as a Low-Input Oilseed Crop for Oregon, Idaho and Washington. (2007-)

PI: Russell Karow, Oregon State University

Camelina, a member of the mustard family, is an annual oilseed crop that has been used and cultivated since the Bronze Age. Present-day preliminary research has shown that this crop possesses unique agronomic traits that make it well-suited to the Pacific Northwest (PNW) as a possible feedstock for bioproduct production. A multi-state team is conducting trials at four sites in the PNW examining crop response to seeding rate, nitrogen rates, planting dates and climate. The ultimate goal of this research project is to develop agronomic practices to incorporate camelina into PNW crop production systems and assist the fledgling oilseed industry’s understanding and utilization of this crop. (Read more...)


Enhanced Production of Reactive Intermediates from Cellulosic Biomass for Aqueous-Phase Catalytic Processing to Drop-In Fuels (2011-)

PI: Charles Wyman, University of California, Riverside

Reactive intermediates (RIs) produced from cellulosic biomass, such as furfural, hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), levulinic acid (LA), and formic acid (FA), can be catalytically converted into drop-in fuels  that are compatible with the existing petroleum infrastructure. However, most catalytic conversions of these compounds have been with pure compounds in water, and experience in catalytic processing of RIs from actual biomass streams is limited. In addition, RI yields from cellulosic biomass are low by conventional aqueous processing. Charles Wyman proposes to fill that gap by building on existing expertise, equipment, and capabilities to develop processes that will provide commercially attractive, high yields.


Exploring Field Crop Biomass Sources for Use in Pacific Ethanol's Boardman, Oregon Cellulosic Plant. (2009-)

PI: Russell Karow, Oregon State University

Pacific Ethanol, in Boardman, Oregon, is the recipient of a federal grant to establish a 1/10th scale cellulosic ethanol pilot plant adjacent to their existing corn-based ethanol facility. This new plant will require 40-50,000 tons per year of feedstock materials, a full scale facility 400-500,000 tons. While biomass needed for pilot plant operation can be readily obtained, full scale plant operation volumes seem problematic, but may be feasible with creative cropping system approaches. Dr. Karow and his multi-institution team will explore the possibility of delivering feedstock at the required level to the plant. (Read more...)


Feasibility of Biopolymer Production in Poplar. (2009-)

PI: Steven Strauss, Oregon State University

The production of bioplastics from plants is a proven technology; however, the biological yield has generally been too low to be economically viable or production compromises plant health to an unacceptable degree. Dr. Strauss and his co-PIs have found in preliminary work that significant levels of polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) can be produced in and extracted from poplar, the first woody plant in which PHB production has been confirmed, with no apparent negative effects on plant health. The team will test new genetic lines of poplar for increased PHB output in the leaves without harming biomass production for wood products. They will also develop practical methods for extraction and bioprocessing of PHB, and analyze the economic, environmental and regulatory feasibility of PHB production in poplar. (Read more...)


poplarHybrid Poplar as a Regional Ethanol Feedstock: Its Development, Production and Economics. (2007-)

PI: Jon Johnson, Washington State University

Hybrid poplar is a well-known biomass feedstock in the Western U.S. and has a number of advantages over other feedstocks: fast-growing, widely adaptable to various soils and climates, and requires low energy inputs to grow. The goal of this research project is to couple hybrid poplar production with end-use ethanolproduction. Dr. Swanson, working in collaboration with industrial partners, will analyze feedstock taken from selected hybrid poplar clones to develop ethanol yield data, with will then be used to determine breeding and selecting criteria of hybrid poplar with specific feedstock characteristics. The team will also conduct an economic analysis of the process using the yield data. At project completion, the best performing hybrid poplar varieties, along with economic feasibility and planting recommendations, will be shared through a project website maintained by Washington State University. (Read more...)


Lesquerella: A Low-water Use Crop as a Source of Biofuel Performance Enhancement for the Western United States (2011-)

PI: Dennis Ray, University of Arizona

Lesquerella, native to the United States and Mexico, has the potential to rival any conventional oilseed crop with unique, functional molecules in its seed oil. While there is significant interest and demand for lesquerella oil by industry, Southwestern growers have two major concerns before they are willing to commit to commercial scale production: (1) weed control, and (2) irrigation and fertility requirements.  Dennis Ray will address these hurdles through his research project.


Life Cycle, Sustainability and Economic Analysis of Cellulosic Ethanol from Grass Straw in the Pacific Northwest. (2009-)

PI: Ganti Murthy, Oregon State University

Conversion of cellulosic feedstocks into liquid biofuels is critically dependent on the processing technology.   Various pretreatment technologies have been developed for cellulosic feedstocks to facilitate enzymatic  hydrolysis and fermentation. Choice of pretreatment technology, while dependent on feedstock, is also a function of energy use, capital costs, downstream processing and possible environmental impact. Dr. Murthy seeks to answer these questions through the development of engineering and economic models, as well as life cycle analysis of the conversion of grass straws to cellulosic ethanol. This study will provide information on using Pacific Northwest biomass in a sustainable, economic and environmentally friendly manner. (Read more...)


New Concept to Obtain High Yields of Pyrolytic Sugars for Ethanol Production. (2009-)

PI: Manuel Garcia-Perez, Washington State University

The diverse nature of biomass resources in the Pacific Northwest requires suitable technologies for the conversion of dispersed feedstocks, especially forest residues. Dr. Garcia-Perez proposes a new model that uses distributed pyrolysis units located close to biomass resources and centralized refineries where second generation transportation fuels and high value chemicals can be obtained taking advantage of economies of scale. (Read more...)


Overcoming Crop Production Hurdles to Develop Russian Dandelion (Taraxacum kok-saghyz, TKS) as a Renewable Domestic Source of Natural Rubber and Ethanol (2011-)

PI: Richard Roseberg, Oregon State University

Natural rubber (NR), derived from the Brazilian rubber tree, is essential for manufacturing a wide array of industrial products.   The United States uses over $6 billion worth of raw NR annually, and is completely dependent on imports.  In the 1930s Soviet scientists identified the roots of Russian dandelion (TKS) as a promising source of NR that could be grown as an annual crop in temperate climatic zones.  In addition to high quality rubber, TKS roots also produce inulin as a byproduct that can be converted into ethanol.  Richard Roseberg will address crop production issues of TKS in an effort to optimize rubber and inulin production.


Regional Economic Analysis of Feedstock Production and Feedstock Processing for Biofuels in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. (2007-)

PI: David Holland, Washington State University.

Existing analysis of feedstock production potential and economic impacts have largely excluded Pacific Northwest (PNW) states. Drs. Holland and Painter, along with a multidisciplinary team, will examine crop and fuel production for biodiesel, corn ethanol, and cellulosic ethanol in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska using current IMPLAN data for each state. The team seeks to answer the following questions: 1) can in-state developed feedstocks and production industries compete with imported feedstocks; 2) will biofuels feedstocks be an attractive alternative crop across the varied production regions in the PNW; and 3) how will increased biofuels production and utilization impact the broader regional economy. The researchers will develop Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) economic simulation models incorporating biofuels production activities into the regional economies of each state and the region as a whole. The resulting data will inform policymakers and elected officials as well as agriculture and industry industries. (Read more...)


bioconversionSynergies Between Heme Peroxidases and Cellulases in the Bioconversion of Lignocellulosic Feedstocks to Ethanol. (2007-)

PI: Christine Kelly, Oregon State University

Forest thinning, particularly forestry wastes composed of softwoods, in the Western region are a major potential source of biomass for biofuel production. However, softwoods, such as Douglas fir, tend to be more resistant to conversion processes due to the high presence of lignin. Dr. Kelly, along with her co-PIs, proposes to develop a new enzyme-mediated bioconversion process technology for more efficient separation of Lignocellulosic biomass into its component parts for bioconversion to ethanol. The team will examine fungal heme peroxidases to discover new “accessory” enzymes that function synergistically with the latest generation of commercially available cellulases to increase the rate and extent of conversi on of softwoods to ethanol. (Read more...)


Grant Program Archives: 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2011

OSU Bioenergy Programs

Algal Biofuels and Biotechnology Institute (ABBI)

An integrated approach: The proposed Algal Biofuels and Biotechnology Institute (ABBI) would integrate a broad spectrum of disciplines toward developing a comprehensive strategy for utilizing algae as a new source for food, energy and other valuable chemical entities. This would effectively develop algae as a new agricultural specialty crop which would not compete with existing human food crops for arable land or as alternative usage of valuable and limited human foodstuffs. Algae are capable of being grown in a wide variety of marine and terrestrial ecosystems and can be engineered and optimized to provide a wide variety of biofuels, food, and chemical feedstocks in an environmentally responsible and sustainable framework. There are many potential advantages of selecting algae as a photosynthetic biosynthetic platform for direct conversion of solar energy into useful products, including their rapid growth rates, the efficiency of single-celled organisms, the adaptability to modern genomic manipulation, the simple nutritional and energetic inputs required and the environmental and climatic adaptability of the organisms.

Algae Initiative Workshops

April 2009

The first Algae Initiative Workshop was held in April 2009 at OSU. Presentations included:

"Building Better Algae" by Dr. Craig Marcus, Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology, OSU

"Enclosed Algal Photobioreactors for Sustainable Energy Applications" by Dr. Greg Rorrer, Department of Chemical, Biological and Ecological Engineering, OSU

"Biomass from Cyanobacteria: Opportunities for the Proposed Algae Biofuels and Biotechnology Institute at OSU" by Dr. Wayne Carmichael, Department of Biological Sciences, Wright University

July 2009

The second Algae Initiative Workshop was held July 30, 2009 at OSU. Dr. Lou Ogaard gave his presentation:

"Algae Biodiesel: A Path to Commercialization," Dr. Lou Ogaard, Center of Excellence for Hazardous Materials Management (CEHMM)

Dr. Byung Lee, Director of the Bio-Energy Institute of Yeungnam University in Korea gave some perspective on international collaboration.

Participants then broke up into two separate breakout sessions:

Breakout Session #1, led by Dr. Ganti Murthy of Oregon State University: "Algae Biofuels and Bioproducts: Economics, feedstock logistics and processing technologies." Discussion covered points such as:

  • Identification of Pacific Northwest/Oregon resource bases
  • Production systems
  • Nutrition of large scale production
  • Harvesting and processing technologies

Breakout Session #2, led by Dr. Craig Marcus of Oregon State University: "Species Development for Bioproducts." Discussion included such topics as:

  • Identification of the OSU resource base
  • High throughput screening and sequencing
  • Eukaryotic vs. prokaryotic organisms
  • Marine vs. freshwater organisms; open pond vs. closed systems

Following breakout session discussions, participants regrouped for a final discussion.

Sustainable Technologies Laboratory

The Sustainable Technologies Laboratory (STL) recognizes that the development of environmentally benign and sustainable technologies is a critical need. Increasing the use of renewables for processing fuels and industrial products necessitates a systematic approach for utilization of renewable biomaterials. The STL strives to develop bioprocess technologies for processing renewable bioresources.

 Through multidisciplinary, inter- and intra-institutional collaborative efforts, the STL will focus on:

  1. Development of sustainable and environmentally friendly technologies to utilize renewable bioresources for production of fuels and value-added coproducts;
  2. Control of biological and ecological systems; and
  3. Process modeling, simulation and analysis.

 To find out more information about the Sustainable Technologies Laboratory, including educational materials and a list of current projects, visit their website at: http://stl.bee.oregonstate.edu/.

To view an overview of biofuels, click here.

 

The people of the STL  The people of the Sustainable Technologies Laboratory.

 

Algae Institute

Western Algal Biofuels and Biotechnology Institute (WesABBI)

An integrated approach: The proposed Western Algal Biofuels and Biotechnology Institute (WesABBI) would integrate a broad spectrum of disciplines toward developing a comprehensive strategy for utilizing algae as a new source for food, energy and other valuable chemical entities. This would effectively develop algae as a new agricultural specialty crop which would not compete with existing human food crops for arable land or as alternative usage of valuable and limited human foodstuffs.  Algae are capable of being grown in a wide variety of marine and terrestrial ecosystems and can be engineered and optimized to provide a wide variety of biofuels, food, and chemical feedstocks in an environmentally responsible and sustainable framework. There are many potential advantages of selecting algae as a photosynthetic biosynthetic platform for direct conversion of solar energy into useful products, including their rapid growth rates, the efficiency of single-celled organisms, the adaptability to modern genomic manipulation, the simple nutritional and energetic inputs required and the environmental and climatic adaptability of the organisms.

Farm Energy Assessments

Rural Energy Audits are offered by the OSU Energy Efficiency Center (EEC) for small and medium-sized agricultural operations. Student teams led by engineering faculty or graduate students visit Northwest producers and seek ways to increase profits by increasing productivity and reducing energy use and waste. Within 60 days, EESC sends a report to the client with analysis and specific recommendations to improve efficiency. If you are interested in a Rural Energy Audit, contact:

 

Nathan Keeley, OSU EEC Agricultural Operations Manager

Oregon State University
344 Batcheller Hall
Corvallis, OR 97331-2405

Voice: (541) 737-3004
Fax: (541) 737-5035
Email: ruralenergyaudits@engr.orst.edu

An example of a pre-audit letter complete with qualification requirements and necessary information can be viewed here.

In addition to performing energy audits, the EEC is developing a page of energy efficiency resources and references. To view the page, visit: http://eeref.engr.oregonstate.edu/Agricultural/Other_Resources.

Research Priorities

Western region research priorities fall into program areas identified by a regional Advisory Committee and include priorities from our funding sources.  The programs include:

  • Feedstock enhancement and development
  • Biomass conversion and biofuel/bioenergy processing
  • Bioproducts development

 

Feedstock Enhancement and Development

Feedstock refers to any biomass resource destined for conversion to energy or to another form such as fuel or bioproducts.  For example, oilseeds are a feedstock for biodiesel or drop-in aviation biofuel production.  The goal of this research priority is to promote economic diversification through biomass development in rural areas, taking into consideration unique regional characteristics.

Feedstock Research Progress and Outcomes

Biofuel Dollars and Sense

Can biofuel crops produced in the Pacific Northwest be economically competitive with imported energy sources when all costs are taken into account?  Washington State University Professor Emeritus, Dr. David Holland, and colleagues are constructing economic simulation models of PNW feedstock production for each PNW state to answer this question.  Results of this effort will be used to make recommendations for biofuel policy in these states.

 

Biomass Conversion and Biofuel/Bioenergy Processing

Conversion involves processing biomass into fuel, energy or bioproducts.  The goal of this research priority is to develop or improve conversion or separation technologies that will take advantage of the region's diversity of feedstocks while making them efficient, economical, and environmentally sound.  Technologies include feedstock pre-processing, improving efficiency of separations into biomass component parts, improving separation efficiencies for intermediate building blocks, and quantifying processng yields and efficiencies.

Conversion Research Progress and Outcomes

Softwoods into Biofuel: Fungus Can Help

Forest thinnings in the Western Region, particularly forestry wastes composed of softwoods, are a major potential source of biomass for biofuel production.  However, softwoods, such as Douglas fir, tend to be more resistant to conversion processes because of the high amounts of lignin.  Dr. Christine Kelly of Oregon State University, along with her co-PIs, has worked to develop a new fungal enzyme-mediated bioconversion technology for more efficient separaton of lignocellulosic biomass into its component parts for bioconversion to ethanol.  Thus far, the use of the enzyme manganese peroxidase, a degrading enzyme from wood fungi, appreas to be promising. 

 

Bioproducts Development

Bioproducts are any products such as fuels, chemicals, building materials, electric power, or heat that can be industrially produced from biomass.  The goal of this research priority is to develop biomass conversion processes and systems analyses that yield bioproducts with positive market and economic impacts.

Bioproducts Research Progress and Outcomes

Let's Not Waste Waste

Biologically-derived polysters known as polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) are a potentially sustainable replacement to fossil-fuel based thermoplastics.  However, PHA production is still not environmentally friendly as production relies too heavily on fossil fuels and emits excess carbon dioxide.  Dr. Erik Coats at the University of Idaho is investigating the use of waste streams -- in particular dairy manure and crude glycerol (CG; a waste stream from biodiesel production) -- and mixed mcrobial consortia to produce PHAs. 

Resources

Expert Directory

Funding Opportunities

Publications

BioWeb

Articles of interest

Expert Directory

Funding Opportunities

Sun Grant Competitive Research Grants

Competitive Research funding opportunities from the Sun Grant Western Regional Center (WRC).

 

External Funding Opportunities 

Click on the External Funding Opportunities link to view opportunities funded by other organizations that may be of interest.

Many additional external funding opportunities can be found at Grants.gov by visiting http://grants.gov/applicants/find_grant_opportunities.jsp.

 

Webnibus Login

Competitive Grants Program

Sun Grant Western Regional Center
2016 Competitive Grants Program

Funded by US Department of Agriculture

Deadlines:

Letter of Intent:    Monday, February 1, 2016 (5pm Pacific) 
   Application:           Monday, March 30, 2016 (5pm Pacific)

 

The Sun Grant Western Regional Center (SGW) announces the availability of funds through its Competitive Grants Program to support research, education and outreach projects in three strategic program areas:

Strategic Program Areas

  1. Decentralized and distributed feedstocks and energy systems; efforts will support deployment of commercial scale biomass electrical generation and co-generation efforts and production of biofuels and bioproducts from multiple feedstocks that exploit the economic benefits of complementary aggregation;
  2. Novel feedstocks for bioenergy, bioproducts, and biofuels from agricultural or forestry residues; and
  3. Life cycle analysis and sustainability

 

The SGW has identified the above named regional priorities from within USDA strategic areas, based upon prior regional priority setting workshops and consultation with regional experts. SGW seeks proposals with an emphasis on these strategic regional program areas.

In addition to requesting Sun Grant funds, all proposals must include an additional 25% (auditable) in project cost-share (20% of total project cost is required). Indirect is limited by USDA to 25% of direct costs (or 20% total project cost). Integration, economics, marketing, policy, education or a combination of these overarching activities may be incorporated in any proposal. Two types of applications are being sought:

Collaborative Proposals:   Multi-institutional and multi-functional (research, education and outreach) proposals are sought that address Sun Grant goals and regional priorities. Collaborative proposals may request up to $150,000 in federal funds per year for up to two years but is subject to appropriation of funds. No more than 50% of available funds will be awarded in Year 1

Single Institution Proposals:  Individual investigators, or small teams from a single institution, that address the Sun Grant mission and regional priorities may submit proposals requesting up to $75,000 per year for one to two years but is subject to appropriation of funds. No more than 50% of available funds will be awarded in Year 1.

In order to submit a proposal, a Letter of Intent must be submitted by February 1, 2016. Full applications are due by March 30, 2016. All application materials must be submitted through an online proposal system located at http://webnibus.org/sungrant/western

 

The full call can be viewed and downloaded at SUN GRANT WESTERN CENTER USDA FULL REQUEST FOR APPLICATIONS

 

Additional forms are available for download below.

 

Supporting Forms and Models 

 (Common to USDA Applications)

Support & Conflict of Interest Instructions (Word)
Current and Pending Support Page (Word)
Conflict of Interest Form (Word)
Generic Logic Model for NIFA Reporting

External Funding Opportunities

May 3, 2011

Hawaiian Electric Company Issues New Biofuel RFP

On April 29, 2011, Hawaiian Electric issued a request for proposals (RFP) to supply up to forty-two (42) million gallons of sustainably produced, renewable biofuel per year to fuel the Kahe Generating Station (KPP) for a term of two (2) years to commence as early as July 2014.

Submission deadline for the proposals is July 29, 2011.

 

 

USDA Announces May Deadline for Biomass Crop Assistance Program Proposals

USDA Farm Service Agency Acting Administrator Val Dolcini announced the deadline for project area proposals for the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP). To be considered, proposals must be submitted to the applicable state office by close of business, May 27, 2011. 

For more information, visit the USDA Farm Service Agency’s website at www.fsa.usda.gov/bcap or contact Kelly Novak at 202.720.4053 or cepdmail@wdc.usda.gov. The BCAP project area proposal submission form is available online at BCAP Form 20 (PDF, http://www.fsa.usda.gov/Internet/FSA_File/bcap_form_20.pdf.

ARPA-E Announces $130 Million for Advanced Research Projects

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced the availability of up to $130 million from the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to develop five new program areas focused on rare earth alternatives and breakthroughs in biofuels, thermal storage, grid controls, and solar power electronics.

For more information about current funding opportunities visit the ARPA-E website.

 

 

U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Energy Announce Funding for Biomass Research and Development Initiative

The projects funded through the Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI) will help create a diverse group of economically and environmentally sustainable sources of renewable biomass and increase the availability of alternative renewable fuels and biobased products.  

Applicants seeking BRDI funding must propose projects that integrate science and engineering research in the following three technical areas that are critical to the broader success of alternative biofuels production:

  • Feedstock Development
  • Biofuels and Biobased Products Development
  • Biofuels Development Analysis

Subject to annual appropriations, USDA plans to invest up to $25 million with DOE contributing up to $5 million for this year's Biomass Research and Development Initiative. This funding is expected to support five to ten projects over three to four years. A description of the solicitation, eligibility requirements, and application instructions can be found on the FedConnect website and the Grants.gov website under Reference Number DE-FOA-0000510. Pre-applications are due on May 31, 2011 and must be submitted electronically. It is anticipated that applicants who are encouraged to submit full applications will be notified by August 3, 2011.

Projects

Project web pages:

Camelina as a Low-Input Oilseed Crop

Development of Camelina as a Low-Input Oilseed Crop for OR, ID, HI and WA

Project Coordinator:

  • Russ Karow, Head, Crop and Soil Science, Oregon State University

Research Leaders:

This was a three-year project with four defined objectives:

  1. to determine the optimum planting date for camelina across the PNW;
  2. to identify from among available germplasm that best adapted to the PNW;
  3. to explore nitrogen fertility needs of camelina grown in different environments in the PNW; and
  4. to share research findings through publications, field tours, grower meetings and other venues to allow camelina to become a viable part of cropping systems across the PNW. 

2007-08 was the first crop year of this study.  2009-10 was the last year.  A publication is being written to share findings in each study area. NO SPECIFIC WORK ON CAMELINA PRODUCTION IS BEING DONE AT THIS TIME.

Journal Articles

Camelina Field Trials

ARTICLES

Extension Publications

Camelina Rosettes

PUBLICATION LIST

Photo Gallery

Camelina Blooms

VIEW GALLERY

Camelina Extension Publications

EM 8953-E Oilseed Crops: Camelina (Available only online) (View it now)
SR 1081-E Economics of Oilseed Crops and Their Biodiesel Potential in Oregon’s Willamette Valley (Available only online) (View it now)
SR 1083-E 2008 Dryland Agricultural Research Annual Report (Available only online) (View it now)

Camelina Publications

Journal Articles

Mapping Tools and Outputs

NASS Data

These files were created by downloading National Agricultural statistics service (NASS) data for a 10-year period from 1999-2008. The variables for annual yield information are in bushels and the average acres harvested within the county were also included, this was completed for all counties (where available), for the entire USA, for the crops of Wheat, Barley, Oats, Sorghum, and Rice. The data were imported into Microsoft Excel spreadsheets so that average production across multiple years could be calculated; a county had to have at least 9 out of 10 years of production to be included as a 10-year average. An estimate of straw production was calculated by using the average production for each county and applying a standard harvest index value for each crop of interest. Once 10-year average representative values for each county were calculated the data were linked to a national map of counties using the county and state FIPS code as the unique identifier. The spatial map is stored in the form of a “shape file” and can be displayed by most GIS packages. This method allows for the spatial visualization of tabular data by county for multiple variables which are stored in the related database. The original spreadsheets are also available for those that wish to view that data.

STRAW (ALL CROPS)

Straw

1999-2008 DATA

Barley

Average Grain Yield by County (lbs/acre)

5 Year Averge Grain Yield (lbs/acre)

10 Year Average Grain Yield (lbs/acre)

5 Year Average Straw Yield (lbs/acre)

10 Year Average Straw Yield (lbs/acre)

PDF document of all maps

Oats

Average Grain Yield by County (lbs/acre)

5 Year Averge Grain Yield (lbs/acre)

10 Year Average Grain Yield (lbs/acre)

5 Year Average Straw Yield (lbs/acre)

10 Year Average Straw Yield (lbs/acre)

PDF document of all maps

Rice

Average Grain Yield by County (lbs/acre)

5 Year Averge Grain Yield (lbs/acre)

10 Year Average Grain Yield (lbs/acre)

5 Year Average Straw Yield (lbs/acre)

10 Year Average Straw Yield (lbs/acre)

PDF document of all maps

Sorghum

Average Grain Yield by County (lbs/acre)

5 Year Averge Grain Yield (lbs/acre)

10 Year Average Grain Yield (lbs/acre)

5 Year Average Straw Yield (lbs/acre)

10 Year Average Straw Yield (lbs/acre)

PDF document of all maps

Wheat

Average Grain Yield by County (lbs/acre)

5 Year Averge Grain Yield (lbs/acre)

10 Year Average Grain Yield (lbs/acre)

5 Year Average Straw Yield H40 (lbs/acre)

10 Year Average Straw Yield H40 (lbs/acre)

5 Year Average Straw Yield H44 (lbs/acre)

10 Year Average Straw Yield H44 (lbs/acre)

PDF document of all maps