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Companies and Georgia Research Alliance Support Biofuel Research at Georgia Tech.
by Abby Vogel
With support from a broad range of organizations, Georgia Tech researchers are exploring advanced technologies aimed at making transportation fuels from forestry products.
photo by Rob Felt
Roger Reisert, CEO of C2 Biofuels, holds a slice of pine tree trunk in a lab on the Georgia Tech campus. (300-dpi JPEG)
In June 2006, Chevron Corporation and Georgia Tech formed a five-year, $12 million strategic research alliance to pursue advanced technology aimed at making cellulosic biofuels and hydrogen viable transportation fuels.
The alliance focuses its research on four areas:
- Producing cellulosic biofuels
- Understanding the characteristics of biofuel feedstocks
- Developing regenerative sorbents (porous materials used to remove gases such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and nitrogen)
- Improving sorbents used to produce high-purity hydrogen
A portion of the money will be used to set up a bioethanol laboratory on the Georgia Tech campus to support ongoing and future biofuel research. The laboratory will contain new equipment, including analytical equipment to study how much ethanol is being produced, how long it takes to ferment and the quality of the ethanol being produced.
C2 Biofuels is a Georgia Tech VentureLab startup that seeks to develop fuel-ethanol production from biomass material available in large quantities in the Southeast, including Southern yellow pine. Led by Roger Reisert, a Georgia Tech alumnus, C2 Biofuels obtained two $100,000 grants from The Agriculture Innovation Center in Tifton to match the initial investment from Georgia Tech alumnus Glen Robinson Jr.
Reisert has provided grants to Georgia Tech and University of Georgia researchers to evaluate and develop processes and technologies. Since the target ethanol yield has been met by the researchers, Reisert’s efforts are now focused on building a pilot bioethanol plant in Georgia.
Georgia Research Alliance (GRA)
Founded in 1990, the Georgia Research Alliance (GRA) helps build Georgia’s technology-rich economy by bringing business and state government together to invest in the innovative research at six affiliated Georgia research universities, including Georgia Tech.
With the support of Governor Sonny Perdue and the Georgia Legislature, the GRA added an energy initiative last year, the Energy Research Seed Grant Program (ERSGP), to spark university-based research into the development of new approaches to producing and conserving energy resources.
With Georgia’s abundant resources and potential of cellulosic biomass, this program sought contributions to the growth and efficient harvest of improved cellulosic crops (including forest resources) and the conversion of cellulosic crops to higher value energy and/or chemical co-products. Four Georgia Tech researchers were awarded seed grants under the ERSGP for funding from July 1, 2006 to June 30, 2007.
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Last updated: November 3, 2007