ArborGen named key member of biomass partnership

Charleston Regional Business Journal
September 30, 2011

Summerville-based ArborGen, a biotech company that develops and commercializes technologies to increase tree productivity, has been named to a partnership to accelerate the use of biomass in the United States.

The Southeast Partnership for Integrated Biomass Supply Systems was created by a $15 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The partnership’s goal is to develop sustainable feedstock production for crops dedicated to energy production, including trees and switchgrass.

The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture’s Center for Renewable Carbon is the lead institution for the partnership, ArborGen said in a news release.

ArborGen’s chief science officer, Maud Hinchee, and product development director Michael Cunningham will serve as the company’s representatives to the partnership.

“Our entire team of scientists, silvicultural and forestry experts work every day to develop new solutions for short-rotation woody feedstocks and biofuels- and bioenergy-related technologies,” Hinchee said. “We will lend our collective expertise toward this effort, which we believe will help meet the Southeast region’s need for biomass and our nation’s growing demand for wood, fiber and energy.”

ArborGen will assist in completing one of the Integrated Biomass Supply Systems partnership goals of exploring the inherent performance and cost advantages of short-rotation woody crops such as eucalyptus, pine and poplar, the company said.

The company’s expertise also will include matching the economic and environmental performance of each feedstock with a conversion platform, so that the woody biomass can be converted to energy.

Other academic and industrial partners on the 48-member team include

North Carolina State University
University of Georgia
Tuskegee University
Ceres Inc.
Auburn University
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Alabama A&M University
Fort Valley State University

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