Research project in biofuel alternatives adds new research dimension for graduate students
Could perennial grasses be the next viable biomass crop in the production of biofuels?
Several ISU Department of Economics faculty are exploring the possibility through CenUSA Bioenergy, a five-year collaborative project supported by a USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative competitive grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (AFRI NIFA). The project brings research partners together from a wide range of land grant universities and disciplines to assess the practical conditions under which the system and associated markets of this bioenergy system are sustainable and feasible in the US.
ISU Department of Economics faculty involved in the project include Mike Duffy, Chad Hart, Dermot Hayes, Keri Jacobs, and Cathy Kling.
Jacobs adds that the project also poses "valuable research experience" for graduate students. "Students can generate interesting research ideas from grant-related work to complement their coursework, and they may have access to interesting data and analyses as a result of working with other researchers and scientists," she says.
"If our graduate students are interested in agricultural, energy, environmental, or natural resource economics – or the intersection of any of those fields – this project may be something from which they can benefit tremendously."
In addition to advanced biofuel production, the project is also intended to assess whether the perennial grass system can improve the sustainability of existing cropping systems by reducing agricultural runoff of nutrients and soil and increasing carbon sequestration.
To learn more about the work of CenUSA Bioenergy, contact Jacobs at firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to: http://www.cenusa.iastate.edu.