MSU Awarded Grant to Research Biofuel, Carbon Capture Technologies for Upper Missouri River Basin
by Evelyn Boswell (Montana State University) A regional interdisciplinary team led by Montana State University has received $6 million to develop new innovations at the intersection of food, energy and water systems while training the next generation of scientists.
The four-year grant from the National Science Foundation will allow MSU, the University of Wyoming and the University of South Dakota to coordinate a massive effort to address questions about whether biofuels and carbon capture technologies can be sustainably introduced into the Upper Missouri River Basin, said Paul Stoy, principal investigator and associate professor in the Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences in MSU’s College of Agriculture.
The main project goal is to develop a framework for evaluating proposals to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations — the leading contributor to climate change — while maintaining food security, water quality, biodiversity and other benefits, Stoy said.
Thirty-one private, state and federal institutions and more than 50 people, including 18 MSU faculty and 13 MSU graduate students, will be involved in the project that will run into 2020, Stoy said. MSU will take the lead on research related to agriculture and biofertilizers, food security, clean energy, and water supply and quality. Researchers at USD will focus on land use, biodiversity and ecosystem services assessment. UW will take the lead on issues related to agricultural economics, economic modeling and land use. Importantly for the integrated award, all institutions will have the opportunity to collaborate on all aspects of the project.
Montana partners in the project will include Little Big Horn College on the Crow Indian Reservation, Salish Kootenai College on the Flathead Indian Reservation and the Montana Institute on Ecosystems. Among the federal participants are the National Park Service, the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
… “negative carbon dioxide emissions.” The term refers to the withdrawal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by growing biofuels to produce energy and “capturing” carbon dioxide emissions to store in geologic formations or in soils and vegetation. READ MORE