Ohio State Partner in $5.7M Grant to Develop New Biofuel
by Mauricio Espinoza (Ohio State University/North Texas d-News) Ohio State University’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) will play a key role in the engineering of a novel plant-based fuel, funded by a $5.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.
The grant, awarded by DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) under the Plants Engineered to Replace Oil (PETRO) program, includes a $1.2 subcontract to OARDC. Leading the project is Chromatin Inc., a Chicago-based developer of energy-crop feedstocks. Other partners include San Diego-based Allylix and Kansas State University.
The three-year project, titled “Plant-based Sesquiterpene Biofuels,” involves the production of a hydrocarbon from two drought-tolerant plants: guayule, a woody shrub native to the southeastern U.S. and Mexico, and sweet sorghum, a crop similar to sugar cane that is grown in southern U.S. regions. This hydrocarbon can be easily extracted and cheaply converted into a renewable transportation fuel.
OARDC’s role in the project involves the engineering of these two crops at the genetic level so they can boost the production of farnesene, a natural plant oil that can be converted into a diesel-like fuel. READ MORE