Cellulosic-Derived Biofuels Initiative

The Cellulosic-Derived Biofuels Project will develop and demonstrate the necessary technologies to breakdown cellulosic materials from agricultural residues (corn stover), forestry wastes (such as saw dust, tree thinning, or pulp-mill residues), and purpose-grown crops from either marginal land (switchgrass) or cropland (sorghum) into sugars which can be fed to microorganisms that produce oil for biodiesel and JP8 jet fuel.

The Initiative Plan

  1. Assess the current and potential sources of biomass in the Commonwealth, including the economics and environmenal impacts.
  2. Determine best practices for saccharification, the process sugars are extracted from biomass materials and fed to oil producing algae.
  3. Determine effective uses of Co-products from Biomass and Algae Processes to improve the economic viability of the production process.
  4. Develop a pilot plant with an estimated 1M gallons per year capacity that coverts biomass into bio-oil for refinement to biodiesel and bio JP-8 jet fuel in Central Kentucky ultimately leading to commercial viability.

Research Overview

  1. Economic Development & Analysis
  2. Biomass Survey
  3. Switchgrass Establishment Studies
  4. Conversion of Biomass to Energy - Cellulose to Usable Sugars
  5. Co-Product Utilization
  6. Genes for Enzymes Involved in Algal Oil Production