Researchers at North Carolina State University have landed a $4 million grant to find means of turning trees and residue from forest harvesting into biofuels.

The grant is part of a five-year $15 million award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to fund the Southeast Partnership for Integrated Biomass Supply Systems. NCSU is a member of the partnership.

The researchers are tasked to determine what are the :most efficient cost-effective and environmentally friendly” means to develop a “biofuels pipeline” from the forests to biorefineries where the fuel would be produced.

“The Southeast is a veritable ‘wood basket’ that can produce much of the feedstock that shows great promise for production of biofuels,” said Dr. Steve Kelley, head of the NCSU Department of Forest Biomaterials. “Besides the obvious need for energy security, this project will develop economic and environmental measures that can inform the public discussion at the community level, and allow individual communities to evaluate their prospects for job creation and landowner income. We want to create the infrastructure capable of providing the backbone for increased biofuel capacity.”

Kelley is the principal investigator for the project.

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