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Proposal to Establish a Livestock Research Institute

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Proposal to Establish a Livestock Research Institute Powered By Docstoc
					             The Idaho Institute for Bioenergy and Bioproducts Research
                              at the University of Idaho



                                   Jon Van Gerpen
                    Head, Biological and Agricultural Engineering
                         419 Engineering and Physics Bldg.
                                University of Idaho
                                Moscow, ID 83844
                                    208-885-7891
                                 jonvg@uidaho.edu


                                 Team Members
                Donald Blackketter, Dean-College of Engineering
       Greg Bohach, Associate Dean-College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
                 Dean Edwards, Professor-College of Engineering
            Armando McDonald, Professor-College of Natural Resources
          Matt Morra, Professor-College of Agricultural and Life Sciences




 This proposal seeks to establish an institute to coordinate and promote bioenergy and
bioproducts research at the University of Idaho. There is currently no equivalent entity
                                that would be replaced.




                                           1
 The Idaho Institute for Bioenergy and Bioproducts Research
Introduction
A group of committed faculty at the University of Idaho has met and determined that
there is a need for a new Institute that would focus on research related to bioenergy and
bioproducts. The institute would be known as The Idaho Institute for Bioenergy and
Bioproducts Research. While research in areas such as biodiesel, forest biomass
utilization, and oilseed byproducts have a long and well-publicized history at UI, there is
a considerable amount of related work that could be included within the scope of the
institute. This includes on-going research on feedstocks for cellulosic ethanol,
conversion of animal waste to energy and bioplastics, production of biofumigants and
biopesticides, and thermochemical conversion of biomass to liquid and gaseous fuels. In
addition, related research and extension activities to investigate the economic,
sociological, and political impacts of bioenergy, collection and pre-processing of
biomass, and efforts to commercialize the by-products of bioenergy production would
also be within the scope of the institute. The scope of the institute could expand to
include other topics related to sustainable energy if justified by funding availability and
faculty expertise.

Background

                 The Need for Research on Bioenergy and Bioproducts

Recent high petroleum prices focused public attention on the central role that fossil-fuels
play in our economy. While these prices have come down as a result of the recession,
there is general consensus that high petroleum prices will return, perhaps to even higher
levels, when the world economy recovers. Development in China and India has created a
new demand for petroleum that cannot be met in the face of depleting supply. Further,
the central focus played by petroleum supply issues in U.S. foreign policy also reinforce
the sense of impending crisis caused by the world’s dependence on petroleum fuels.

Use of fossil fuels for energy production is considered to be the leading source of
greenhouse gases that are responsible for the anthropogenic component of global climate
change. Substituting biologically based materials for petroleum in fuels and as industrial
feedstocks can reduce emissions of greenhouse gases because biological organisms
extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Bio-based products are frequently referred
to as carbon-neutral because the carbon dioxide they release is balanced by the carbon
dioxide they remove from the atmosphere.

There is growing recognition in the scientific and business communities that biobased
feedstocks are a realistic option for future supplies of energy and materials. In a widely
circulated report by Oak Ridge National Laboratory entitled Biomass as Feedstocks for a
Bioenergy and Bioproducts Industry: The Technical Feasibiity of a Billion-ton Annual
Supply, the authors showed the feasibility of sufficient supply of feedstock to replace
30% of current U.S. petroleum consumption by 2030. A study by Sandia National
Laboratory and General Motors R&D Center has shown that 60 billion gallons of

                                             2
biomass-derived ethanol (about ½ of current gasoline consumption) could be produced
with an investment of $250 billion. This amount is far less than recent government
spending on economic stimulus and is equivalent to the investment required to provide
only 40 billion gallons of domestic oil production. It has become apparent that under the
Obama administration, future government policy and spending will focus on petroleum
displacement and biological materials offer the only source of sufficient scale to
significantly impact the needs of the U.S.

In 2006, the Battelle Technology Partnership Practice prepared a study for the Idaho
Department of Commerce and Labor entitled Idaho’s Technology Platforms: Building on
the State’s Core Competencies. That study identified Biobased Fuels and Products as one
of three technology platforms that offer the greatest opportunity to grow Idaho’s
technology sector. The study specifically acknowledged research on biodiesel production
and testing at the University of Idaho as having helped to build the base of expertise and
related infrastructure needed to play a key role in the national alternative fuels effort.

The specific strategies recommended in this report to implement the technology platform
include the development of a Northwest regional biorefinery consortium that would
involve state governments, industry, universities and national labs. Additional strategies
include recruiting and incentivizing construction of 2-3 biorefineries in the state by 2010
and creating a Bioproducts Development Center to showcase biobased products. A
Bioenergy and Bioproducts Research Institute could address these state priorities by
serving as the university contact for a Northwest biorefinery consortium, providing
technical support and trained staff for the new biorefineries in the state, and filling the
role of a Bioproducts Development Center for technologies developed at the University
of Idaho.

                               Why Idaho Can Be A Leader

The University of Idaho is on a unique position to provide national leadership in
bioenergy and bioproducts research. The university already has many strong programs
that with improved coordination and support can attain national prominence and the
increases in funding that follow from this recognition. Recent investments by the
university greatly enhance these opportunities for leadership and recognition.

The University’s most important resource for bioenergy and bioproducts research is its
faculty who in many cases already have national reputations for their work in this area.
The following faculty have experience and existing projects that would be included
within the scope of the Institute for Bioenergy and Bioproducts Research. This list is
intended to demonstrate the scale and diversity of faculty activity in this area and is not
intended to exclude other interested faculty.

                       Jon Van Gerpen – biofuel engineering
                       Jack Brown – oilseed breeding
                       Matt Morra – biopesticides from oilseed meals
                       Donald Thill – bioherbicides from oilseed meals

                                              3
                         Brian He – biofuel engineering
                         Dev Shrestha – biofuel engineering
                         Robert Zemetra – ethanol, lower lignin wheat
                         Sanford Eigenbrode – pest control in oilseeds
                         Larry Makus – economics of biofuel production
                         Aurelio Briones – anaerobic digestion of animal waste
                         Gulhan Yuksel – ethanol fermentation
                         Andrzej Paszczynski – lignin degradation
                         Robert Smith – carbon sequestration
                         Dean Edwards – algae oils
                         Don Blackketter – sustainable energy
                         Judy Steciak – biofuels combustion
                         Steve Beyerlein – utilization of biofuels
                         Eric Coats – byproduct utilization
                         Armando McDonald – cellulosic ethanol, byproducts
                         Zonglie Hong – plant cell wall biochemistry
                         Ron Crawford – lignin degradation
                         Priscilla Salant – sociological impacts of farming for energy
                         J.D. Wulfhorst - sociological impacts of farming for energy
                         Levan Elbakidze – economic modeling of bioproducts
                         Karen Den Braven – biofuels utilization
                         Hans Kok – Sustainable farming practices
                         Mark Coleman – thermochemical processing of forest biomass

   In addition to the strong faculty already making major contributions in this area, the UI
   has many other areas where it has competitive advantages over other institutions also
   seeking national prominence in the bioenergy/bioproducts area.

1. Extensive experience with integrated biodiesel production. For many years, the UI
   has had a successful program that combines oilseed production and byproduct utilization
   with biodiesel production and utilization. The vertical integration of the UI biodiesel
   program is unique among U.S. universities because it combines the efforts of experts in
   engineering, plant science, soil science, entomology, agricultural economics, and
   marketing. Evidence of the success of this program is the recent award of a second 5-
   year $1 million grant from the USDA to maintain the National Biodiesel Education
   Program. Individual researchers have contracts in place with industry and government
   that total several million dollars per year.
2. Analysis of the socio-economic impacts of bioenergy production. The UI has a well-
   established bioenergy research group with the capability to assess the social and
   economic development impact of biofuel production on local communities across the
   rural-to-urban spectrum. This area has frequently been neglected in considerations of
   government biofuel policy or has been dealt with in a non-scientific manner. Connected
   to the bioenergy research group is the long-established Social Science Research Unit
   (SSRU, founded in 1989), which is a powerful tool for collecting survey data from
   stakeholders in various community settings and contexts. This unique facility gives the
   UI a competitive advantage in conducting social science research on bioenergy issues.

                                                4
3. Analysis of the relationship between energy and water. Management of limited water
   resources is the dominant theme of agricultural production in the West. Producing
   energy from agriculture and forestry will impact water consumption and quality. In arid
   areas, water will be needed for energy crops to grow. Disposal of some energy production
   by-products, such as the effluent from anaerobic digesters processing animal waste, has
   to be done in a manner that does not degrade water quality. The UI has very strong
   programs in this area including Waters of the West (WoW), the Boise Water Center, and
   the Idaho Water Resources Research Institute (IWRRI). The UI also has strong
   connections with the Idaho Dept. of Water Resources and the Center for Advanced
   Energy Studies (CAES), which are also interested in the relationship between water and
   energy. Since this is a regional issue, the opportunity exists for regional proposals and
   the UI has the strength to be the lead on these projects.
4. Excellent infrastructure for research on energy and products from animal waste.
   The UI is currently investing nearly $30 million to develop a new livestock research
   center in southern Idaho. This facility will feature a fully-functional, state-of-the-art
   dairy and will include a digester for converting the animal waste from this facility into
   energy and other bioproducts. The ability to manage and conduct research on a fully-
   instrumented, commercial-scale digester is a unique opportunity. The UI is currently
   investing in new hires to take full advantage of this opportunity and develop a leadership
   role in developing this technology. The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
   (CALS) has recently hired a microbial physiologist to work on issues of bioproducts from
   animal waste. A search is underway for another new faculty member to work in this area
   with a joint research and extension appointment who would be jointly funded by CAES
   and CALS. Anaerobic digesters have been around for many years but most attempts to
   implement them have been unsuccessful due to high labor requirements and low energy
   costs. The UI could lead efforts to implement sophisticated automation and new biomass
   feedstocks to provide energy that is cost-competitive with traditional sources.
5. New crop development. The UI has had a diverse and active effort to develop new crop
   varieties that would improve the viability and profitability of bioenergy. One of the best
   known programs has been the Brassicaceae breeding program headed by Dr. Jack Brown
   that has developed canola and mustard varieties that provide superior biodiesel
   feedstocks as well as by-products that can be used as bio-pesticides. This group has also
   initiated cultivar development programs in oilseed camelina and sunflower. Several
   canola, rapeseed and mustard cultivars have already been commercialized and many
   more are in development. The international reputation of this program is substantiated by
   the current $2 million contract to develop biofuel plants for EcoEnergy, a Gibraltar-based
   bioenergy company. Other projects include developing wheat varieties with low-lignin
   straw that would be suitable for cellulosic ethanol production, and cultivation of native
   dry-land plants as potential crops for biofuels and bioproducts.
6. Idaho has extensive biomass resources. Biomass production and bioenergy are
   destined to be regional industries due to the high cost of transporting low-density
   feedstocks. Northern Idaho has extensive biomass resources in the forestry waste that is
   removed to minimize fire risk. The technology needed to utilize this resource will also be
   region-specific because the biomass type, terrain, and energy needs will be different in
   different parts of the country. UI has a well-established Forest Products Department that
   is already collaborating on bioenergy and bioproducts projects with researchers in

                                               5
   engineering and agriculture (Armando McDonald). The Forest Products department is
   seeking a new faculty member in bioenergy who would be jointly funded by CAES and
   CNR. OSU is the only other school in the PNW with a similar Forest Products program.
7. Center for Advanced Energy Systems and the Idaho National Laboratory. The
   Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES) provides a unique opportunity for the UI to
   interact with the Idaho National Laboratory and the other state universities on bioenergy
   and bioproducts. The INL has a specific mission focus on biomass collection and pre-
   processing. CAES provides a vehicle for INL and the state universities to collaborate on
   research projects and the proposed bioenergy center could be the point of contact
   between CAES and the University of Idaho.

                                     Why Idaho Should Invest

     Past experience has shown that institutes can provide the self-sustaining structure needed
     to support and coordinate programs and take them to a higher level. Highly successful
     examples of these programs at other universities include the Bioeconomy Institute at
     Iowa State University and the Joint Bioenergy Institute established by the University of
     California campuses at Berkeley and Davis and Sandia National Laboratory.

     In order for an institute to be successful, it is important to have a clear purpose and plan.
     The purpose of the Institute would be to develop bio-based solutions to the energy and
     materials needs of Idaho, the United States and the world. The Idaho Institute for
     Bioenergy and Bioproducts Research would seek to accomplish six primary objectives to
     achieve its purpose:
1.            Promote Research Collaboration: Provide a vehicle for interaction between
     researchers to share information, collaborate, identify new opportunities, and coordinate
     research activities. This would include sponsoring seminars, conferences and workshops
     on bioenergy and bioproducts.
2.            Seek External Support: Coordinate and assist with the preparation of proposals
     from the associates of the institute in the area of bioenergy and bioproducts. This will
     leverage past and present research work to attract new resources to support research.
3.            Education: Provide increased opportunities for undergraduate and graduate
     student education and involvement with research on bioenergy and bioproducts. This is
     expected to include a new interdisciplinary graduate degree program.
4.            State and Regional Outreach: Provide a single contact point for groups and
     individuals from outside the university to obtain information about bioenergy and
     bioproduct research at the University of Idaho. Assist in the development of a Northwest
     Biorefinery Consortium. Inform Idaho and regional policy-makers about bioenergy
     issues and opportunities.
5.            Industry Outreach: Serve as a liaison to identify industry needs and facilitate the
     prioritization of areas of research emphasis for the institute associates. The institute will
     collaborate with UI extension faculty who are already working with industry and
     facilitate the flow of technical information.
6.            Showcase Technology: Serve as a clearinghouse for developed UI technologies
     and provide assistance with intellectual property protection and commercialization in
     cooperation with existing UI efforts in this area.

                                                  6
Successful achievement of these objectives will lead to improvements in the quantity and
quality of bioenergy and bioproducts research at the UI. The University of Idaho will
become recognized as a leading institution for bioenergy and bioproducts research, its
students will have increased opportunities for education and research in this rapidly
growing field and will go out to become its leaders, and the state of Idaho will reap the
rewards of the economic development associated with the new companies and
employment opportunities that will accompany the growth of the bioeconomy.

Approach
The members of the team identified on the cover page of this proposal have met with
Vice President for Research Jack McIver to discuss the formation of this institute. Dr.
McIver was enthusiastic in his support of the concept and asked that it be submitted to the
RFI process. The Associate Dean for Research in CALS and the current Dean of the
College of Engineering are both part of the team for this proposal and have been involved
throughout its development.

An important function of the institute will be to nurture collaborative relationships with
other entities. It is these relationships that will provide the opportunity for increased
research funding, students, business spin-offs, and national recognition. Figure 1 shows
the large number of collaborative relationships that are anticipated for the institute. We
believe there are many regional and national groups that would be eager to collaborate
with a bioenergy and bioproducts institute at UI. Within the university, the National
Institute for Advanced Transportation Technology (NIATT) has a strong interest in clean
and sustainable transportation fuels and has supported biodiesel research for many years.
The Microelectronics Research and Communications Institute (MRCI) sponsors research
on hybrid vehicle technology that can utilize biofuels as well as autonomous vehicles that
could be used for automated harvesting of biomass from forests and crops from fields.
The department of Mechanical Engineering has strong programs in engine design and
combustion that could address problems of biofuel utilization.

Outside the university, the Idaho Office of Energy Resources is a strong advocate of
biodiesel and has supported our research in the past. The Center for Advanced Energy
Studies (CAES) and the Idaho National Laboratory have expressed strong interest in
collaborating on bioenergy projects and they are currently funding a joint project with UI,
BSU, and ISU that supports a Ph.D. student at the UI.

Washington State University is developing a new Center for Bioproducts and Bioenergy.
While their primary focus has been on bioproducts, we currently have several
collaborative projects in place including a grant from the state of Washington to
investigate biodiesel use in the Seattle ferries. We are also working with the state of
Montana to assist them with establishing a biodiesel quality control laboratory to be
located in Havre, Montana and we have jointly presented 5 workshops on biodiesel in
Montana with the Montana Department of Environmental Quality. The United States


                                            7
Idaho National                  University of Idaho                       Other Institutes:
Lab                                                                       NIATT, MRCI,
                                                                          IWRRI
                                                                          Initiatives:
           CAES                                                           WoW


                             Institute for
                                                                    States:
                             Bioenergy and Bioproducts
                                                                    ID: Office of Energy
 UI Livestock                Research
                                                                    WA: WSU, Center for
 Research Facility                                                  Bioproducts and Bioenergy
                                                                    MT: Dept. of Energy
                                                                    OR: OR Environmental
                                                                    Council
  Colleges:
  CALS
  COE
  CNR
  Etc.                                                              PNW Industry Partners
                                                                    Tribes
                                   Faculty Associates




      Figure 1. Collaboration opportunities for the Institute for Bioenergy and
                               Bioproducts Research

Department of Agriculture is currently funding our work on biodiesel education and on
the life cycle analysis of biodiesel.

We have strong collaborations with many companies in the bioenergy field. There is
currently a $2 million contract in place with Eco-Energy located in Gibraltar. We have
excellent relationships with Blue Sky Biodiesel and Paradise Valley Biodiesel, the only
biodiesel plants in Idaho. We have also explored potential business collaborations with
Palouse-Bio LLC, a local group of farmer-owned coops, and Farm Fuel, Inc., a
California-based company. Several UI faculty visited Seville, Spain to discuss research
collaborations with Vecenergy-BIDA, a company considering locating a biodiesel plant
in Lewiston, Idaho.

CALS, working with the livestock industries in the Idaho, in addition to the Idaho State
Department of Agriculture have received funding for construction of a state-of-the-art
livestock facility in the Magic Valley. This $35 million facility will address

                                            8
predominantly environmental issues facing the livestock industries in the Western U.S.
and has received considerable interest from the USDA Agricultural Research Service,
and the INL, as potential partners. This facility will eventually house more than 1,500
head of dairy and beef animals, thereby providing an outstanding opportunity to
investigate the use of animal waste for bioenergy and co-products.

We have had a number of discussions with the Shoshone-Bannock tribes in Fort Hall, ID
about producing biodiesel. They have commissioned feasibility studies to look at
growing canola on their extensive holdings of irrigated land in SE Idaho and then
producing biodiesel on the reservation. They have told us that they would like to include
a tribal-financed, UI-operated research center located next to their biodiesel plant.

                                       Six Month Plan

It is essential to the success of the institute to quickly demonstrate that it can help faculty
attract external funding. To do this, it will be important to make the connections needed
to learn about funding priorities and opportunities, to make the institute an attractive
channel for faculty to use for their proposals, and to submit a large number of high dollar
proposals. To accomplish these requirements, the following goals will be established for
the first six months of the institute:

   1. Locate space and hire staff (director, administrative assistant, and grant writer).
   2. Meet with faculty associates to learn about their interest areas and to solicit their
      input on the activities of the Institute. Encourage collaborations and proposal
      generation by establishing a seminar series and social opportunities.
   3. Offer incentives to faculty such as travel, grant writing assistance, assistantship
      boosts (add $500/mo to RA to attract top students), and tuition waivers so they
      will submit proposals through the institute.
   4. Travel to meet with state and national government officials and agencies to gain
      visibility, promote programs and learn about priorities.
   5. Establish an advisory board of state-wide stake-holders to advise the institute.
   6. Create a web site to feature UI work and promote the institute.

After 6 months the accomplishments of the institute will be assessed and the activities
will be adjusted based on which are found to be most successful.

Outcomes
The Institute would facilitate collaborations between these faculty members and between
the faculty and outside industry and government agencies to provide new research
opportunities. A central focus of the institute would be to develop environmentally sound
approaches to energy and materials production that would maximize their socioeconomic
benefits.

We will develop cooperation with, and bridge the gap between academia and
communities considering industries related to biofuels and bioproducts. We are

                                               9
     anticipating that our research will have a direct, beneficial economic impact on rural
     communities. On a broader scale, our research will help decrease U.S. dependence on
     petrochemical feedstocks and decrease environmental contamination.
     One of our main goals is to train students in the area of biofuels and bioproducts
     production such that they have an appreciation and comprehensive understanding of the
     1) underlying science and engineering required; 2) agronomic constraints; 3) ecological
     and environmental implications of such production; and 4) socioeconomic consequences.
     We want to have each student fully understand and appreciate all direct and indirect
     impacts of biofuels/ bioproducts production. This includes effects on the economy and
     social structure of the communities in which the feedstocks are produced, all the way to
     potential impacts on carbon sequestration and global climate change. Too often graduate
     students focus on a narrow scientific or engineering project in the biofuels/bioproducts
     area that totally ignores how such technologies will impact rural communities and
     environmental quality. It is impossible to progress with sustainable, environmentally
     acceptable, and socially responsible biofuels/bioproducts production unless emerging
     scientists fully appreciate the overall consequences of such production.

     Success of the institute will be judged by tracking increases in the following parameters:
1.          Number and total value of proposals submitted.
2.          Grant dollars generated.
3.          Patents and other forms of IP.
4.          Contracts negotiated.
5.          Number of researchers involved.
6.          Undergraduate and graduate students involved in research.

     Investment
     The basic mission of the institute is to enhance research and encourage the development
     of more and larger projects. It is expected that it will generate overhead that would more
     than offset any initial investment required to establish the center. However, initially, the
     Institute will need space and start-up funds. The space required would consist of offices
     for a director, an administrative assistant, and a conference/meeting room. The
     estimated annual budget would be as follows:

        1.   Half-time director                            $60,000
        2.   Administrative assistant                     $35,000
        3.   Half-time grant writer                        $25,000
        4.   Office expenses (computers, etc.)            $15,000
        5.   Travel for faculty and director               $15,000
        6.   Assistantship boost, tuition waivers         $40,000
        7.   Undergraduate research experiences           $10,000
                                            Total         $200,000

     We expect that the funds for the office Institute could be obtained from the office of the
     Vice President for Research. In addition, since the Institute would be the CAES
     connection to bioenergy and bioproducts research at the UI, it is anticipated that start-up

                                                    10
administrative support may be available from CAES or INL. After an initial start-up
period, it is assumed that the Institute would be able to generate a portion of its own
administrative costs through overhead return on projects. In addition, the institute will
pursue center proposal opportunities from federal agencies and other entities that would
provide programming funds.

We believe that a reasonable estimate for the amount of new funding that could be
attracted by the Institute is $3 million within 3 years. In addition, we expect that at least
20 graduate students and an equal number of undergraduates could be working on
projects in the bioenergy/bioproducts area in that time period. The increased overhead
return associated with this level of funding provides a solid business case for the
university’s investment in the Institute.

The proposed structure of the Institute for Bioenergy and Bioproducts Research is shown
in Figure 2. The Director of the Institute will report to the Vice-President for Research.
The Institute will have an External Advisory Board that consists of representatives of the
constituencies served by the Institute. This board can provide input on research
directions and priorities. All of the faculty who indicate an interest of being involved
with the Institute would be considered associates of the Institute.


                                              VPR



                         Institute for Bioenergy and                        External
                         Bioproducts Research                               Advisory
                         Director                                           Board
                         Grant writer
                         Admin. Assist.



                                       Faculty Associates


    Figure 2. Structure of the Institute for Bioenergy and Bioproducts Research


The responsibilities of the director would include administering the activities of the
Institute, seeking opportunities for external funding on behalf of the institute associates,
communicating with the advisory board and external constituencies to establish priorities,
and developing projects. The grant writer would work with faculty to locate funding
sources and facilitate the submission of proposals. The administrative assistant would
support the director and grant writer with setting up meetings, managing
communications, scheduling travel, and maintaining the institute website.

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