Purdue getting nearly $1.6 million for biofuels crop research

September 16, 2010

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University is receiving $1.59 million in federal funding for a project to conduct a sustainability assessment of energy crops for biofuels.

The funding is part of a $16.5 million renewable fuel initiative by the U.S. Department of Energy to provide high-quality biomass while increasing economic viability for producers and improving the environment.

Purdue researchers will develop strategies to meet the demand for biofuel crops while promoting environmental quality and ecosystem health, said Indrajeet Chaubey, associate professor in agricultural and biological engineering at Purdue.

"Ensuring a sustainable bioenergy future will require public confidence that river ecosystems’ draining fields that produce energy crops will be adequately protected," Chaubey said. "But large-scale land use changes may lead to unintended consequences."

Researchers will conduct a watershed-scale sustainability assessment of multiple energy crops such as miscanthus, switchgrass and hybrid poplar. They will evaluate sustainability in relation to soil erosion, water quality and quantity, biomass yield, profitability and aquatic biodiversity.

"The overall goal is to identify landscapes within a watershed where different types of bioenergy crops can be produced to meet demand and promote environmental sustainability," Chaubey said.

Chaubey and a team of nine Purdue professors will conduct the research in a four-year project expected to begin in January. 

Writer: Erica Sullivan, 765-494-8402, esulliva@purdue.edu 

Source: Indrajeet Chaubey, 765 494-1162, ichaubey@purdue.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Keith Robinson, robins89@purdue.edu
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