OIT Times: New Projects Tackle Industry-Defined Technology Barriers
December 28, 2001
The Agriculture Team launched six new R&D projects and three education grants in 2001. Team Leader Mark Paster describes the R&D teams as "large collaborations of excellent capability." Each will address at least three of the four key industry-defined technology barriers to using renewable materials as substitutes for fossil feedstocks.
For example, Iowa State Univ. is leading five partners from industry, academia, and the national laboratories in an effort to develop Multi-component Harvesting Equipment for Inexpensive Sugars from Crop Residue. This project will modify wheat for increased sugar and decreased lignin content, develop equipment to harvest and separate stems and grains in a single pass, and study wheat straw-to-sugar processing.
A second project, Development of Improved Chemicals and Plastics from Oilseeds, is led by Dow Chemical Co. and involves three additional partners. The team will research and develop technology to convert castor oil for use in making plastics, polymers, and other materials. The castor oil crop will be honed for better growth under dry land farming conditions, resistance to pests and disease, and improved agronomic content.
The Biomass Biorefinery for Production of Polymers and Fuel project, headed by Metabolix, Inc., involves four industry and seven university partners. The team aims to develop switchgrass that produces the biodegradable polymer PHA, which can then be recovered and processed into commercial-grade polymer blends to reduce use of fossil fuels and landfills. Remaining switchgrass components can be used as fuel to produce power. James Barber, of Metabolix, explains, "The project will bring to the agriculture industry a new, valuable biomass crop that provides both energy and polymers, sustainably."
|Enhancement of Biobased Products from Sorghum Grain With Optimized Production and Composition Using Advanced Genomics||Orion Genomics, LLC; NC+Hybrids; SolviGen, LLC; Vogelbusch; Cold Spring Harbor Lab; Purdue University; Crosbyton Seed Company; National Grain Sorghum Producers|
|Multi-Component Harvesting Equipment for Inexpensive Sugar from Crop Residues||Iowa State University; Arkenol, Inc.; CNH Global; University of Idaho; Idaho National Energy and Environmental Laboratory|
|Collection, Commercial Processing, and Utilization of Corn Stover||Biomass Agri-Products, LLC; Iowa State University; Midwest Labs; Cargill Dow, LLC|
|Affordable Resins and Adhesives from Optimized Soybean Varieties||University of Delaware; Kansas State University; Ashland, Inc., Adhesive Divisions; CARA Plastics, Inc.; North Central Kansas Processors|
|Development of Improved Chemicals and Plastics form Oilseeds||Dow Chemical Company; Castor Oil, Inc.; USDA, Western Regional Research Center|
|Biomass Biorefinery for Production of Polymers and Fuel||Metabolix, Inc.; University of Tennessee; University of Central Florida; Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Cornell University; National Renewable Energy Laboratory; Porcelli Consultants, Inc.; University of Massachusetts; University of Massachusetts - Lowell; University of Texas|
|Multi-Disciplinary Education and Training in Biobased Products; Graduate Major in Bioresource Engineering||Iowa State University|
|Establishment of a Graduate Program in Biobased Industrial Products||Kansas State University|
|Assessing the Economic Viability of Biobased Products for Missouri Value-Added Crop Production||University of Missouri|
|Advanced Membrane Technology for Biosolvents
(Small Business Innovation Research Grant)
|Vertec BioSolvents LLC|
|An Acoustically Enhanced Pervaporation Bioreactor
|Montec Associates, Inc.|
|Development of an Energy-Saving Grain Drying Invention
(Inventions & Innovation)
|Seed Selection Technology for Genetic Enhancement of Grains Targeted for Specific Processes
(Inventions & Innovation)