The Sun Grant Initiative is a national network of land-grant universities and national laboratories partnering to help build a bio-based economy.
The Sun Grant Initiative facilitates communication and partnership development between universities, national laboratories, federal and state governments, the private sector and public interest groups to lead the nation towards a renewable, sustainable, domestic energy industry. Sun Grant Centers are also charged with reviving America’s farming communities by placing an emphasis on rural economic development through the production of biobased renewable energy feedstocks.
This index links to resources developed with support from the Sun Grant Initiative.
The Sun Grant BioWeb is a non-commercial, educational website that provides current information about biomass resources for bioenergy and bioproducts. The site is designed to help you understand: What biomass is, where it is, and how much is available; The ways it can be converted to biofuels, biopower, and bioproducts; The current state of biomass technology, research, production, and use; and biomass economics and policy. Resources are presented at three different levels: At a Glance, General and Technical.
SunGrant Initiative Research and Development Programs and Projects
Regional Centers funded research and development projects from 2007-2011, through a competitive grants program. The research portfolios contain experiments in the areas of feedstock development, bio-conversion processes, systems analysis, economics, environment and policy.
- Northeast Sun Grant
- Southeastern Sun Grant
- South Central Sun Grant
- North Central Sun Grant
- Western Sun Grant
- Sun Grant/DOE Regional Feedstock Partnership – Created to address barriers associated with the development of a sustainable and predictable supply of biomass feedstocks, the Feedstock Partnership works on: 1) biomass resource assessment, 2) biomass resource development, and 3) biomass resource education and outreach.
Knowledge-base from the academic study and commercial use of shrub willow (Salix spp.) as a sustainable feedstock crop for bioenergy, biofuels, and bioproducts, as well as for environmental engineering and horticultural applications. Produced by Dr. Larry Smart, the site facilitates a global exchange of knowledge among the entire willow community and the public.
PREMNET: Pennsylvania Renewable Energy Monitoring Network
PREMNET is a real-time energy monitoring tool designed to measure and report the impacts of renewable energy projects throughout Pennsylvania. Data from monitoring equipment installed at selected sites show petroleum savings, energy use, cost savings, and CO2 emissions avoided; developed by Dan Ciolkosz, Penn State Extension.
Info to help farmers and small operators to understand how to successfully produce high quality pellets from crop residues, perennial grasses, and other readily available biomass feedstocks. Directed by Dan Ciolkosz, Penn State Extension, student researcher findings can be found in this Research Summary: Small Scale Biomass Pellet Production Project.
Media Gallery provides educational resources on agricultural energy production and use; bringing together materials from many specialists and practitioners. The gallery is a venue for sharing between colleagues and stakeholders, using a Creative Commons license. Video, webinars and images can be easily searched, up and downloaded, embedded or linked to. Produced by Sue Hawkins, University of Vermont.
WEBINAR and PRESENTATION ARCHIVES
Hosted by Mike Jacobson, Penn State Extension, on the 2nd Tuesday of each month, featuring specialists from Universities, Agencies and the private sector. The series began as a Sun Grant project with an emphasis on woody biomass; it continues now through the NEWBio Project.
- Is Ethanol Ruining My Engine? Andre Boehman, University of Michigan. Sept 2013
- Health Impacts of Wood Combustion: State of the Science and Policy Opportunities Polly Hoppin and Molly Jacobs, University of Massachussets, Lowell. July 2013
- The Future of Residential Wood Heating: Growth or Collapse? John Ackerly, President, Alliance for Green Heat. June 2013
- Process Pathways from Wood to Transportation Fuels: Seeking Suitable Scale Peter Van Walsum, University of Maine. May 2013
- Biomass Feedstock Production in the Northeast: Land Use, Yields, and Sustainability – Peter Woodbury, Cornell University. April 2013
- Add Some Heat: Building Support for Biomass Thermal in the Northeast – Charlie Niebling, Raleigh Hill Strategies. March 2013
- Switchgrass, Miscanthus, and Arundo growth on Surface Mines in West Virginia – Jeff Skousen, University of West Virginia. Feb 2013
- Miscanthus and Energy – Scott Coye-Huhn, Aloterra Energy. Jan 2013
- Social versus Biophysical Availability of Wood – Brett Butler, USDA Forest Service. Nov 2012
- Wood and Coal Energy Opportunities – Shawn Grushecky, University of West Virginia Appalachian Hardwood Center. Sept 2012
- The Bumpy Road From Coal to Wood – Ed Johnstonbaugh, Penn State Extension. Apr 2012
- Heating the Northeast – Reflections from the Conference – Jonathan Kays, University of Maryland Extension. Mar 2012
- Biomass Harvesting Guidelines: Forest Management Issues – Alexander Evans and Bob Perschel, Forest Guild. Dec 2011
- Forest Biomass and Bioenergy: Opportunities and Constraints in the Northeastern United States – Charles Canham, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies; Thomas Buchholz, Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, University of Vermont. Sept 2011
- Short Rotation Woody Crops in the Northeast – Tim Volk, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Aug 2011
- Wood Chip and Pellet Supply and Trends in the Market: Thoughts from Vermont – Paul Frederick, VT Department of Forestry. May 2011
- Woody Biomass in Minnesota; Opportunities for Income and Environmental Benefits – Dean Current, University of Minnesota Department of Forest Resources. April, 2011
- Biomass Carbon Accounting: Implications for Policy and Climate – Brian Kittler, Pinchot Institute. March, 2011
- Green Buildings and Wood Energy – Dan Ciolkosz, Penn State Extension, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering. Feb 2011
- Why Wood Energy? – Chuck Ray, Penn State School of Forest Resources. Feb 2011
Produced by William Sciarappa, Rutgers University; the presentations feature specialists at a variety of conferences and Extension meetings. Video presentations and slides are available on the eXtension Farm Energy Media Archive:
- Fueling Ethanol: Government policies, network externalities and the diffusion of E85 stations in the United States – Gabriel Lade’s current research plan involves integrating biofuels into trade and political economy models.
- New Research in Biofuels Economics – Should funding be invested in pure biofuel research or on production & infrastructure?
- Feedstocks for Lignocellulosic Biofuels – Steven Long, University of Illinois presents research on perennial grass feedstocks that won’t compete with food crops. Learn about the complex process of converting sugars into ethanol in lignocellulosic biofuel.
- Laine Farms, USDA Conservation Innovation Grant – Hear how farmer Jim Laine developed his farm business plan to processes warm season grasses into pellets for on-farm burning and sale.
- Perennial Grass BioEnergy Crops: Switchgrass and Miscanthus – Dr. Stacy Bonos, Rutgers U., talks about why Switchgrass and Miscanthus x giganteus are now popular biofuel feedstocks.
- Agronomic Biomass Evaluations – Dr. Zane Helsel, Rutgers U., discusses his research on warm climate feedstocks, done as a visiting Professor at the University of Florida.
- Costs and Returns of the Production of Warm Season Grasses for Direct Combustion – Dr. Robin Brumfield, Farm Management Specialist at Rutgers, provides info on the economics of switchgrass.
- Unlocking Chemical Potential – Diane Hildebrandt, from the COMPS program at the U. of Johannesburg, South Africa, gives a concise overview of the basic physics of potential and kinetic energy and how it relates to all types of energy production.
- Challenges and Opportunities for On-Farm BioEnergy Production – Dr. Bill Hlubik explores whether NJ farmers can grow biofuel crops using their own existing conventional equipment and infrastructure.
- Batch Fermentation with yeast recycle by centrifugation – What can you do with fermentation? Learn about recent developments from president of Fermentec, Dr. Henrique Amorim.
- Bioenergy Feedstocks from NJ Farms – David Specca, bioenergy specialist at Rutgers EcoComplex describes how one state developed a detailed biomass inventory and compared net energy balances among the various choices in taking a science-based approach.
- Perspectives on Biofuels Development – Dr. Larry Walker, Director of the Northeast Sun Grant Institute of Excellence and of the Cornell Biofuels Lab provides assessment of the state of biofuel development and where we need to go in order to achieve greater sustainability, energy independence & commercialization.
- Bio-fuel Research in China – Cassava has high potential for being grown as a source of biofuel. Growing cassava in different biomes and its high genetic biodiversity is discussed byMing Peng, a researcher from the Institute of Tropical Biosciences and Biotechnology – Chinese Academy of Tropical Agriculture Sciences.
- Experiences with Biomass Energy – Harvesting and Processing of Native Grasses – Dan Arnett from Ernst Seed Inc. in Pennsylvania gives an overview of one of the few commercial, profitable facilities growing, processing and selling biofuel derived from switchgrass. The three markets described are; residential, commercial and industrial. Mr. Arnett describes the construction of their 24,000 ton/yr processing facility, a scale at which this technology begins to become profitable.
This Biofuels Teaching Game was developed at Cornell University in the Northeast Sun Grant Institute of Excellence at Cornell. It is designed to teach K-12 students the concepts and steps involved in converting various biological starting materials into biobased transportation fuels – from the farm to the fuel pump. The game also emphasizes the important benefits of research by allowing “quick advances” for players who land on a “Cornell R&D” spot and are advanced more rapidly toward the goal. The biofuel pump at the end of the game states “We all win!” reminding us of the ecological benefits that use of biofuels will bring to the whole planet. Biofuels are a renewable energy form with no net carbon emissions.
To meet the needs of educators for research-driven information on renewable energy technology, Cornell Cooperative Extension Oneida County has launched a new Bio-Fuels Education outreach tool geared for 8th/9th grades.
This is an electronically-available lesson that provides educators a complete, learning-standard ready information package. The package consists of a Smartboard lesson, “Future Fuels” video and a comprehensive Teachers Guide. The lesson provides objectives; information; vocabulary; resources; and classroom activities related to cellulosic ethanol production for liquid transportation fuel development.
This web-based resource will help our next generation of leaders develop an awareness and appreciation for a sustainable energy future. It is leader-directed curriculum, targeting youth Kindergarten through 5th grade. Developed by Scott D. Scheer, the Ohio State University, the material consists of three bioenergy curriculum pieces in these content areas:
ARTICLES / PAPERS
- Evaluating Switchgrass Varieties for Biomass Yield and Quality in Massachusetts – Stephen J. Herbert, Leryn Gorlitsky, Masoud Hashemi, Amir Sadeghpour, University of Massachusetts
Camelina: A New Oilseed Crop for Permanent No-Till Systems in the Northeast – David Dowler, Penn State Extension; Penn State’s Camelina Project – new biofuel, biopesticide and feed meal source?
Research Summary: Sequestration of Carbon by Shrub Willow Offsets Greenhouse Gas Emissions – Tim Volk, Department of Forest and Natural Resources Management, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Research Summary: Small Scale Biomass Pellet Production Project – Scholars in the Penn State Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering: Clay Swackhamer, Brian Wright, Ryan Hilton, Drew Swomley, Brian Gray, and David Rooney.
Early selection of novel triploid hybrids of shrub willow with improved biomass yield relative to diploids – Michelle J Serapiglia, Fred E Gouker and Lawrence B Smart, Cornell University. BMC Plant Biology 2014, 14:74. doi:10.1186/1471-2229-14-74
Conference Presentations 2007 Northeast Sun Grant Regional Feedstock Summit
The resources indexed on this page were developed with the support of the Sun Grant Initiative, with funding from: