Fri, 25 Nov 2011 00:04:02 GMT — Michigan Tech is planning for a sustainable future with the use of alternative biofuel. Today's use of biofuel is mainly corn ethanol however the use of corn can lead to a high demand that cannot be met. So in order to create less of a problem, there are other options like using wood based material. But before this research can begin, everything must be planned out. Michigan Tech was awarded over a half million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to begin the planning process."Most of the biomass that would be available in the United States and also in other countries in the Pan American region would be woody in origin. That would be agricultural residues or forest residues. It could even be different feed stock such as urban wood waste from building demolition or even from domestic waste that is thrown away," said Director of Sustainable Futures Institute Dr. David Shonnard. This lab modifies plant based genes and turns them into genetically engineered plants which are then used for ethanol production. Using wood based material to fuel our country may be closer than we think. This greenhouse contains genetically engineered plants that will be kept for one year and then analyzed to see if they are better in their growth and better for cellulose production. "They all contain different genes that are involved in the information of cellulose biosynthesis plant growth and other plants too, said post doctoral researcher Raju Akula. Dr. Shonnard says that the main outcome will be a research roadmap report which will have the input from researchers from the United States as well as countries from the Pan American region. This planning research will also help in the production of bioenergy.
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