The N.C. Bioenergy Research Initiative recently awarded $1 million in grants for 12 research projects to boost bioenergy opportunities and production in the state.
“Exciting and promising work is happening in North Carolina in terms of bioenergy research, study and development, and I am pleased this grant funding is helping advance bioenergy opportunities and potential for farmers, agribusinesses, forestry industries and entrepreneurs,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler.
Below is a list of grant recipients and projects:
- $61,123 to N.C. State University’s Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering for the second year of its study of fertilization rates and yield response of the giant reed Arundo donax. The project will focus on collecting field data needed to establish realistic yield expectations and nitrogen fertilization rates under various North Carolina growing conditions.
- $40,652 to the NCSU Department of Forestry for a “Loblolly Pine Biomass Genetics/Cropping Study, Years Three – Five.” The project will continue genetic evaluation of loblolly pine varieties with high potential as an energy source.
- $34,111 to the NCSU Clean Energy Technology Center for “The North Carolina Bioenergy Council and Bioenergy Roadmap.” Funding will provide the opportunity for further discussion of bioenergy related topics including research, policies, and other issues related to the bioenergy industry in North Carolina.
- $100,000 to the NCSU Department of Soil Science for a project titled, “Nutrient Dynamics and Production of Bioenergy Crops in Swine Effluent Sprayfields, 2015-2016.” Funding will continue research on the nutrient requirements and uptake of proposed biomass crops grown in a sprayfield environment.
- $95,681 to the NCSU Department of Crop Science for the project “Optimizing Bioenergy Yield and Supply.” The purpose of the project is to determine the agronomic effects of harvest frequency and timing on dedicated bioenergy grasses.
- $98,640 to Carolina Land & Lakes RC&D for the development of “Pellets for Pullets.” This expands a previously funded project into areas of the state with a higher concentration of broiler production. Wood-pellet heating systems have been shown to offer cost savings, reduction in moisture and fossil fuel by-products and delivery of a better product to market, while utilizing a renewable domestic fuel.
- $69,793 to the NCSU Department of Soil Science to study the “Suitability of N.C. Piedmont Soils for Bioenergy Crop Production, 2015-2017.” This project will investigate the potential conversion of land to bioenergy crops with an emphasis on how soil biochemical and physical properties will be impacted.
Five additional projects are being funded through Tennessee Valley Authority Settlement Funds designated for research projects.
- $99,753 to the NCSU Department of Horticultural Science to expand “Cold-hardy Surgarcanes for Western NC (phase II, 2015-2016).” This project will develop and evaluate improved, high-yielding, cold hardy, non-invasive sugarcanes propagated vegetatively as advanced bioenergy crops for North Carolina.
- $96,111 to Carolina Land & Lakes RC&D for the development of “Pellets for Plants.” This project will explore opportunities related to wood-pellet heating systems for greenhouses.
- $85,343 to Appalachian State University’s Department of Technology and Environmental Design to expand the project, “Biomass Greenhouse-heating Systems for Resource-limited Farmers.” Funding will be used to conduct pilot tests on two local farms to transfer the biomass heat delivery system technology.
- $99,753 to the NCSU Department of Horticultural Science to expand the project, “Reinventing Giant Miscanthus (phase II, 2015-2016).” Funding will be used to develop and evaluate improved giant miscanthus varieties with enhanced yields and genetic diversity that have the capacity for vegetative propagation.
- $119,040 to the NCSU Department of Forestry for the “Western NC Bioenergy Forest Demonstration” project. Funding will provide a visible demonstration site for landowners and a research-based platform to evaluate weed control methods in combination with best practices of spacing and fertilization.
The N.C. Bioenergy Research Initiative is a program of the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Its goal is to support the research and development of agricultural and forestry-based feedstocks for bioenergy production and agribusiness development. The N.C. General Assembly approved funding for grants to stimulate energy production from N.C. agricultural and forest products.