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