MANHATTAN, Kan. -- It may not be a household name even among farm families, but the oilseed camelina is showing good potential as an environmentally-friendly commercial biofuel feedstock, particularly for biodiesel and jet fuel. To that end, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has just awarded $5.08 million to a team of researchers, led by Kansas State University Distinguished Professor in Grain Science and Industry, Xiuzhi "Susan" Sun, to study the crop's potential.
Besides Kansas State University scientists, the team is also composed of researchers from Montana State University; University of Wyoming; StrathKirn, Inc.; SBT LLC; Montana Gluten Free Inc.; and Henkel.
"The overall goal is to make oilseed camelina a cost-effective bioenergy and bio-based product feedstock. This project will generate substantial information that will build a foundation to make nonfood oilseeds a better resource for biofuels, chemicals and bioproducts, with minimal negative impact on food crop systems or the environment," said Sun, who is co-director of the Center for Biobased Polymers By Design.
Her research focuses on how plant- and grain-based materials such as oils, proteins and fibers can be used to create bio-based chemicals and products like resins, adhesives, coatings that are safer, more durable and environmentally friendly than products currently in use.
"USDA's continuing investments in research and development are proving a critical piece of President Obama's strategy to spur innovation of clean bioenergy right here at home and reduce our dependence on foreign oil," said agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack in a Jan. 11 statement announcing several bioenergy awards, including the camelina research. "The advances made through this research will help to boost local economies throughout rural America, creating and sustaining good-paying jobs, while moving our nation toward a clean energy economy."
The camelina project funding is
|Contact: Xiuzhi "Susan" Sun|
Kansas State University