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Bio-feedstock analysis project receives green light

Funds provided by the National Science Foundation will go towards the assessment of bioenergy projects in both North and South America over the next five years.

The $4.81 million (€3.67 million) grant will fund a team of researchers, led by Michigan Tech University professor Kathy Halvorsen, which will visit bioenergy projects in Argentina, Mexico, Brazil and Michigan for the first three years.

‘We chose a state or sub-state areas where we knew there was new bioenergy development,’ Halvorsen was quoted as saying. ‘We have already gone down to Mexico and toured a jatropha plantation as we gear up to view its local impact.’

Research will also focus on a US-based cellulosic ethanol production facility, eucalyptus used for biodiesel in Argentina and the impact of forest acres repurposed for soyabeans and sugarcane in Brazil.

The team will produce hydrology reports, gather community feedback and assess local economic impacts, before using the last two years to analyse all the data to hopefully enable decision-makers to better understand current bioenergy production approaches.