Clemson University will be partnering with ArborGen LLC, a company who researches tree genetics, to form a cooperative focused on the growth of biomass for the biofuels industry. The two will develop woody biomass as feedstock for biofuel development.
According to Charleston Regional Business Journal, the research will focus on development and conversion of cellulose, such as switchgrass, wood chips and other fibrous plant matter, into ethanol.
“This kind of research has global implications for climate change, energy security and the long-term stability of our local and national economy, particularly as it can help develop the rural infrastructure and jobs we need,” said Barbara Wells, president and CEO of ArborGen.
Joint areas of research include exploration of possible sources of biofuel, such as sweetgum, loblolly pine and poplar trees; equipment engineering; field trials; and pretreatment of woody biomass.
“This relationship marks a big move for the collaborative into trees as a feedstock,” said Karl Kelly, director of corporate operations at the Clemson University Restoration Institute in North Charleston. “ArborGen is a key industry leader — based in South Carolina — that can develop our existing switchgrass-to-ethanol program into other forms of biomass.”