The University of Florida is one of 17 institutions partnering with the University of Illinois in the Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation (CABBI) to develop efficient ways to grow, transform and market biofuels.
UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences agronomy professor Fredy Altpeter will receive more than $4.2 million for his research during the next five years to develop new strategies for biofuel production from sugarcane.
“Our goal is to genetically enhance sugarcane so that the stems and leaves accumulate large amounts of oil while retaining the plants ability to produce large amounts of biomass,” Altpeter said. His team recently created a prototype of this oil-producing sugarcane in collaboration with the Brookhaven National Laboratory, another CABBI partner.
“This breakthrough demonstrates an enormous potential for producing large amounts of renewable and energy dense drop-in fuels, like biodiesel. Sugarcane is one of the most productive high biomass crops on this planet,” Altpeter said.
Using advanced genome editing technologies, sugarcane could far exceed traditional oil crops like soybeans or canola in terms of oil production per acre, according to scientific models.