Research and Development

Regional research projects funded through the Sun Grant Initiative.

The research portfolio contains experiments in the areas of feedstock development, bio-conversion processes, systems analysis, economics, environment and policy.

Feedstock Development and Agronomic Projects

  • Jocelyn Rose, Cornell University, A Biofuel Screening Program for Grass Feedstocks: Diversity, Physiological Traits and Compositional Characteristics for Optimal Yield.
  • Thomas Molnar, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Developing the Potential of Hazelnuts as a Feedstock for Biodiesel and other Oleochemicals in the Northeast.
  • Roger Koide, Pennsylvania State University, Contrasting Soil Carbon Sequestration by Soybean and Canola.
  • Stacy Bonos, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Switchgrass with Improved Biomass Productivity on Marginal Land for the Northeastern US.
  • Stacy Bonos, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Improving Switchgrass Establishment through Breeding.
  • David Dowler, Pennsylvania State University Extension, Meadville, PA, Camelina: A new Oilseed Crop for Permanent No-till Systems in the Northeast
  • Stephen Herbert, University of Massachusetts, Optimal Harvest Time of Switchgrass: Yield, Nutrient Cycling and Air Emissions.
  • Stephen Herbert, University of Massachusetts, Assessing switchgrass establishment problems.
  • Larry Smart, Cornell University, Genetic Improvement for Yield and Establishment of Short Rotation Woody Biomass Crops on Marginal Lands
  • Armen R. Kemanian, Pennsylvania State University, Production and life-cycle assessment of switchgrass across the heterogeneous landscape of the Northeast
  • Rafiq Islam, The Ohio State University, Carbon-neutral perennial grass biofuels production from biosolids amended degraded forest and marginal lands in Ohio.

Bioproducts Development and Educational Projects

  • Changqing Wu, University of Delaware, Utilizing lignocellulose-to-ethanol residue for multifunctional natural products
  • David Hodge, Michigan State University, Catalytic Oxidation of biorefinery-and forest products industry-derived lignins for the production of functionally active aromatic monomers
  • Benjamin Dawson-Andoh, West Virginia University, Engineered High-Value Carbonaceous Products from Bio-refinery By-Products
  • Robert Birkenholz, The Ohio State University, “The Biobased Promise”, a consumer purchasing decisions study
  • Rafiq Islam, The Ohio State University, Training Professionals on Sustainable
    Advanced Energy Feedstock Production for Enhanced Ecosystems Services from the Ground Up

Feedstock Logistics and Handling Projects

  • Jude Liu, Pennsylvania State University, Development of Square Bale Handling Systems.
  • Hojae Yi, Pennsyvania State University, Predictive Relationships for Assessing Quality of Densified Biomass using Fundamental Mechanical Properties of Granular Bio-Feedstock

Cellulosic Ethanol Biomass Pre-Treatment Projects

  • James Gossett, Cornell University, Influence of Alternative Pretreatment Strategies on Cellulosic Ethanol Production using Simultaneous Saccharification and Fermentation at High Solids Concentrations.
  • Nancy Kravit, University of Maine, Improving Woody Biomass Separation by Enzymatic Means.
  • Stephen Kresovich, Cornell University, Exploiting Diversity in Cellulosic Sorghums for Northern Latitudes.
  • Wei Liao, Michigan State University, Developing a Biological Process to Treat Feedstock for Cellulosic Ethanol Biorefining.
  • Gary Bergstrom, Cornell University, A Biofuel Screening Program for Grass Feedstocks: Diversity, Physiological Traits and Compositional Characteristics for Optimal Yield.
  • Dan Luo, Cornell University, High-throughput Engineering of Cellulase Consortia Using a Gel that Can Produce Proteins without Any Living Cells.
  • Stephane Corgie, Cornell University, Tapping Into Lignin Potential For High-End Co-Products Using Bionanocatalysts with Enhanced Depolymerizing Activities BIOMASS TO FUELS CONVERSION PROJECTS
  • Zhongtang Yu, The Ohio State University, Development of a Temperature-phased Anaerobic Digestion Process for Enhanced Conversion of Solids in Livestock Manure and Food Wastes to Methane.
  • Thaddeus Ezeji, The Ohio State University, Development of a Biocatalyst for Biobutanol Production and Recovery Gas Stripping.
  • Thaddeus Ezeji, The Ohio State University, Metabolic Engineering to Enhance Butanol Production from Lignocellulosic Biomass through use of an Endogenous Ribozyme and Artificial non-coding RNAs in Clostridium Beijerinckii
  • James Holden, Enhanced Microbial Cellulose Degradation and H2 Production above 80oC.
  • James Holden, Enhanced feedstock-to-H2 conversion using hyperthermophiles
  • Christopher Saffron, Michigan State University, Assessing the bioenergy production capability of native grasses using wet chemical techniques and bench-scale biochemical and thermochemical conversion approaches.
  • David Hodge, Michigan State University, Fractionation of Alkaline Pulping Liquors for Fuel and Chemical Production.
  • Gary Bergstrom, Cornell University, Genome-enabled selection and high throughput screening of microbial accessory enzymes for enhanced conversion of lignocellulosic biomass.
  • Lars Angenent, Cornell University, Producing Butanol from Syngas with hollow fiber reactors.
  • Peter van Walsum, University of Maine, Conversion of North Eastern macro-algae to liquid biofuels and bioproducts.
  • Lawrence Smart, Cornell University, Influence of varietal differences in shrub willow crop biomass composition and biochemical conversion yield.
  • Paul Dauenhauer, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, of a Catalytic-Cone Reactor for Direct Conversion of Woody Biomass to Transportation Fuels
  • Stephanie Lansing, University of Maryland, Creating renewable energy through sustainable nutrient management practices – digestion of manure and clover crops to reduce fossil fuel use in the Northeast.
  • Marshall Hayes, Cornell University, Experimental Evolution and Metabolic Engineering of Fusarium graminearum PH-1 and Colletotrichum navitas Cn09 for the Enhanced Conversion of Lignocellulosic Biomass.

Economics and Systems Projects

  • Tom Richard, Pennsylvania State University, Biomass Feedstock Production in the Northeast: Economic and Environmental Implications.
  • Mario Teisl, University of Maine, Marketing New England Biofuels to Ensure Energy Security.
  • Marc McDill, Pennsylvania State University, Determining Costs, Product Recovery Factors, and Environmental Impacts for Biomass Harvest Treatments in Northeastern Forests.
  • Antonio Bento, Cornell University, Economic Costs and Environmental Consequences of US Biofuels Policies.

Chemistry and Engine Research

  • Andre Boehman, Pennsylvania State University, Determination of the Underlying Cause of the Biodiesel NOxEffect in Common Rail Diesel Engines.
  • Ramani Narayan, Michigan State University, Advanced Biofuels using Ozone-Mediated Technology.

Extension Education and Demonstration Projects

  • Daniel Ciolkosz, Pennsylvania State University, Online Demonstration and Measurement of Renewable Energy Technologies.
  • Norman Scott, Cornell University, Small Farm Integrated Energy System.
  • David Specca, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Hydrogen, Natural Gas, Electricity, and Heat from Landfill Gas: Integration of Emerging Technologies for a Quad-Generation Demonstration.
  • Mary Wrege, Cornell Cooperative Extension Oneida County, Fuel-Smart II: A Biofuel Education Outreach Tool.
  • Thomas Brutnell, Cornell University- Boyce Thompson Institute, Community germination studies for bioenergy feedstocks in NY – an outreach module for student-driven research in high school science classrooms.
  • Daniel Ciolkosz, Pennsylvania State University, On-farm biomass densification education.
  • Michael Jacobson, Pennsylvania State University, Across the supply chain: Education and outreach in forest bioenergy.
  • William Sciarappa, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Development of on-line educational programming and agricultural bioenergy.
  • Susan Hawkins, University of Vermont, Bioenergy Multimedia Resource Development on
  • Scott Sheer, The Ohio State University, Development and Dissemination of a Bioenergy Educational Curriculum for Children