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Agrisoma expanding partnership with Univ. of Florida on biojet fuel in US; Carinata seed

Agrisoma Biosciences Inc. is expanding its partnership with the University of Florida (UF) to advance the supply of biojet fuel in the United States. The Québec-based company and its subsidiary, Agrisoma USA, is working with a network of 40 academic researchers from seven universities associated with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Science. Agrisoma’s goal is to maximize production of carinata seed grown in the southeastern US.

Brassica carinata (carinata) is a non-edible oilseed crop used to produce industrial oil with highly desirable fuel chemistry for ‘drop in’ aviation fuels. The research project will operate under the oversight of the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture, in conjunction with the Florida-based Southeast Partnership for Advanced Renewables from Carinata (SPARC).

SPARC will focus on sustainable commercialization of carinata in the southeast. The five-year project will adopt a techno-economic-socio approach focused on:

  1. Alleviation of physical, environmental, economic and social constraints of regional feedstock intensification along the supply chain; and

  2. Ensuring stable markets for jet fuel and bioproducts through demonstration of enhanced value across the supply chain.

SPARC aims to provide a resilient advanced jet fuel and bioproducts supply chain solution to contribute to the US bio-economy and energy independence. Toward that end, its objectives are designed to remove technological, economic, and social constraints to feedstock development and fuel and bioproducts production through scientific innovation and stakeholder engagement, maximizing value at each step of the supply chain.

SPARC partners include academic institutions (Auburn University, Florida A&M University, University of South Florida, University of Georgia, Mississippi State University, and North Carolina State University), USDA-ARS, industry (Agrisoma Biosciences Inc. and Applied Research Associates Inc.), and a consortium representing commercial aviation sector (Commercial Alternative Aviation Fuels Initiative).

Agrisoma has commercialized carinata for sustainable production of both biofuels and animal feed proteins. Agrisoma sells carinata seed varieties optimized for advanced rotation and double cropping strategies that maximize greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions savings to growing programs located on several continents.

Our research shows that Carinata grows well in the winter when fields are unseeded, giving farmers the opportunity to make a profit on their farms during winter months.

—Steven Fabijanski, PhD, President and CEO of Agrisoma Biosciences

The USDA is providing a $15-million grant to support the research initiative aimed at scaling commercial production of Carinata for aviation fuel.

Our goal is to commercialize Carinata to produce jet fuel and feed for livestock while mitigating risks along the entire supply chain.

—David Wright, project lead and an agronomy professor at the University of Florida

For several years, Wright has led a team of researchers at the UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center in Quincy, Florida in studies to increase production of Carinata. These studies, supported by Agrisoma, have initiated large-scale commercial production of the crop in Florida, Georgia and Alabama.

An advantage of the fuel produced from Carinata is that it requires no blending with petroleum-based fuel, says Ian Small, an assistant professor in the UF/IFAS plant pathology department and SPARC deputy project director.

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