Funded Research Projects: BIORESOURCE SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING

System for advanced biofuels production from woody biomass

Research Sponsored By: USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Principal Investigator: Richard Gustafson
Project Description
Project goal is to ready the Pacific Northwest for a 2015 introduction of a 100 percent infrastructure-compatible biofuels industry that meets the region’s pro-rata share of Renewable Fuel Standard 2 targets using sustainably grown regionally appropriate woody energy crops, thereby helping to revitalize the region’s agriculture/forestry sectors with establishment of a sustainable advanced biofuels industry that supports both large and small growers and brings jobs to rural communities in the region. Project is a three-prong integrated program of research, extension, and education. Project capstone activities are: 1) GreenWood Resources, the nation’s larger grower of hybrid poplar, will establish and operate four 200-acre energy farms managed with low-input silviculture; 2) ZeaChem Inc., a leading biorefinery developer, will modify its 10 ton(dry)/day biorefinery in Boardman, OR to produce multiple 8,000 gallon truck loads of biobased gasoline and jet/diesel, which will be distributed to consumers on a test basis by Tesoro Corporation; and 3) sustainability, extension and education programs by world-class regional institutions will be deployed, leading to the establishment of a critical mass of well-trained growers and workers. Successful completion of these activities will lead to the desired actions of adequate risk reduction to allow the financing, construction, and operation of multiple biorefineries in the region. The proposed program addresses the following four AFRI priority areas: 1) plant health and production and plant products; 2) renewable energy, natural resources, and environment; 3) agriculture systems and technology; and 4) agriculture economics and rural communities.