Navigation Links
K-State sociologists use Department of Energy grant
Date:10/25/2007

MANHATTAN, KAN. -- Kansas State University was awarded a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to study the social, cultural and economic impacts of the "biofuels revolution" on rural communities in Kansas and Iowa. The $696,827 grant comes from the department's Ethical, Legal and Societal Implications of Research on Alternative Bioenergy Technologies, Synthetic Genomes or Nanotechnologies program. The researchers from K-State's department of sociology, anthropology and social work are: Theresa Selfa, assistant professor; Laszlo Kulcsar, assistant professor; Gerad Middendorf, associate professor; and Richard Goe, professor. They are joined by Carmen Bain, assistant professor of sociology at Iowa State University.

"There has been very little research into the social dimensions of the bioeconomy," said Selfa, who is the grant's principal investigator. "We are among a small number of social science researchers examining this topic, which is why this grant is very important."

As the United States works to reduce its dependence on foreign oil and expand the development of alternative fuels, ethanol plants are springing up in rural communities across the Midwest, including those in Kansas and Iowa. Although such plants often are touted as economic and population drivers, Selfa said that the social and economic costs and benefits haven't been assessed with in-depth case study research. The project will examine four Kansas communities and two Iowa communities to see whether claims that ethanol plants will revitalize the towns hold true.

The communities to be studied will be chosen based on several factors, including population size, location of an existing or planned ethanol plant, and availability or constraints on a plentiful water source for the ethanol plant. The researchers will use demographic analysis, population surveys, content from local newspapers and in-depth interviews with key stakeholders.

Selfa said one aspect the researchers will study is whether new populations are moving to these communities because of ethanol-related jobs and how this affects the community. They will examine the attitudes that ethanol plant workers and farmers have about the opportunities that ethanol plants present. The researchers also are curious about how much local communities are investing to bring ethanol plants to their towns and how benefits from ethanol plants differ depending on whether they are owned locally or nonlocally.

"We believe that local ownership would bring more benefit," Selfa said.

The researchers want to see how the scale of the plant affects the community economically and socially. For instance, Selfa said they want to examine whether smaller plants distribute their benefits -- and costs -- among communities in a way that large, centralized plants don't.

Another aspect of the research will look at how communities and government officials balance the need for economic growth and jobs with the reality of declining water availability, especially in places like western Kansas.

"How do they balance water demands between agricultural crops for food versus for fuel and then for household, municipal and industrial uses?" Selfa said.

She said the researchers plan to use what they learn to inform policymakers and rural communities about the possible benefits and limitations of bioenergy development.


'/>"/>

Contact: Theresa Selfa
tselfa@k-state.edu
785-532-4970
Kansas State University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. K-State professors discover enzyme responsible for creation of a beetles hard shell
2. K-State researchers study insects immune system
3. K-State researchers study gene regulation in insects
4. K-Staters design and build a low-cost remote sensing tool for environmental studies
5. Honeybee decision-making ability rivals any department committee
6. Special Imaging Study Shows Failing Hearts Are Energy Starved
7. Growth in biomass could put US on road to energy independence
8. Hydrogen and methane provide raw energy for life at Lost City
9. Study of energy and health in Africa focuses spotlight on charcoal and forest management
10. Scientific issues associated with carbon-neutral energy sources such as cellulosic ethanol
11. Cholera pathogen reveals how bacteria generate energy to live
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/17/2017)... , April 17, 2017 NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... announces the filing of its 2016 Annual Report on Form 10-K ... Commission. ... 10-K is available in the Investor Relations section of the Company,s ... the SEC,s website at http://www.sec.gov . 2016 Year ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... 11, 2017 Crossmatch®, a globally-recognized leader ... today announced that it has been awarded a ... Activity (IARPA) to develop next-generation Presentation Attack Detection ... "Innovation has been a driving force within Crossmatch ... allow us to innovate and develop new technologies ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... 2017 NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ:   NXTD ... the appointment of independent Directors Mr. Robin D. Richards ... of Directors, furthering the company,s corporate governance and expertise. ... Gino Pereira , Chief ... to their guidance and benefiting from their considerable expertise as ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... Proscia Inc ... hosting a Webinar titled, “Pathology is going digital. Is your lab ready?” with ... adoption best practices and how Proscia improves lab economics and realizes an increase ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 11, 2017 , ... ... compared the implantation and pregnancy rates in frozen and fresh in vitro ... of progesterone and maternal age to IVF success. , After comparing the results ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... For the second time in ... STEM Mentoring Award. Representatives of the FirstHand program travelled to Washington, D.C. Tuesday, ... , US2020’s mission is to change the trajectory of STEM education in America ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... USDM Life ... for the life sciences and healthcare industries, announces a presentation by Subbu Viswanathan ... The presentation, “Automating GxP Validation for Agile Cloud Platforms,” will present a revolutionary ...
Breaking Biology Technology: