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May 20, 2016

UCR Provides More Detail On Biomass Based Fuel And Chemical Project That Received 1.3 Million


On May 11, 2016, the University of California, Riverside (UCR) provided more information about the project that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is funding with $1.3 million as part of the Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI). UCR received $1.3 million in funding to create biofuels and chemicals from waste plant materials. Ford Motor Company Chair in Environmental Engineering at the Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT) and Chemical and Environmental Engineering Professor Charles Wyman, and CE-CERT Research Engineer and Adjunct Assistant Professor Charles Cai are running the project to convert poplar wood into ethanol and polyurethanes using novel pretreatment and lignin polymer synthesis platforms. The team patented the method, called Co-solvent Enhanced Lignocellulosic Fractionation (CELF), as a versatile method to convert raw agricultural waste into renewable fuels and chemicals. "This project takes advantage of the unique ability of our novel CELF technology to effectively fractionate lignin from low-cost non-food sources of cellulosic biomass such as agricultural and forestry residues for conversion into polyurethanes that increase revenues for biorefineries while also enhancing ethanol yields," Wyman said. Eventually, this UCR project aims to increase revenue for bio-refineries while offsetting pretreatment costs to make biomass based fuels and chemicals more economically viable.