The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture has opened a comprehensive research facility to accommodate faculty and industry initiatives through the new Center for Renewable Carbon (CRC). The new Bioenergy Science and Technology Laboratory is expected to support advances in bioenergy and biofuel production economies as well as the development of new chemicals and materials from renewable carbon (biomass) sources.
UT President Joe DiPietro called the CRC and its work the next step in the advancement of a biobased economy. The new CRC Bioenergy Science and Technology Laboratory includes specialized facilities for biomass pre-processing and processing measurement, biomass characterization, and biomass conversion to fuels and potentially useful coproducts like adhesives and carbon fiber. Additional CRC research capabilities include life cycle analysis and a biomass fractionation reactor.
Our scientists are working to solve some fundamental questions–to break down some fundamental barriers–to propel renewable carbon sources to the forefront of the next industrial revolution. The CRC’s express purpose is collaborative research and education associated with converting renewable carbon into energy, fuels, and useful industrial chemicals and materials—CRC Director Tim Rials
The CRC consolidates existing bioenergy and biomaterials research programs. The UT Biofuels Initiative will continue working to demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of cellulosic fuels. This effort involves a well-known collaboration between UT and Genera Energy, the State of Tennessee, and DuPont Danisco Cellulosic Ethanol (DDCE). The SunGrant Initiative, a federal effort that predates the Biofuels Initiative, will continue to coordinate research into the development of alternative energy from renewable carbon resources.
Through a Wood Utilization Program, the CRC will continue the work of the former UT Forest Products Center in support of wood and related materials systems to enhance the competitiveness of the forest products industry. Also, the CRC’s Bioenergy Production and Carbon Cycling Program will research environmental topics including the relationships between land use, bioenergy crops and carbon sequestration.