Fri, Oct 31, 2014 01:56
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BP Biofuels, Texas AgriLife Research sign agreement to advance biofuel feedstock development

Texas Business reports: COLLEGE STATION – BP Biofuels and Texas AgriLife Research, part of The Texas A&M University System, signed a three-year agreement to develop and commercialize cellulosic feedstocks for the production of advanced biofuels.

The collaboration will utilize AgriLife Research’s diverse high biomass energy crop breeding program and BP Biofuels’ position as one of the few global energy companies growing commercial-scale biomass crops for liquid fuels.

“This partnership with BP Biofuels is a fine example of how the public sector and private industry can combine resources to create unique solutions for our world,” said John Sharp, chancellor of the Texas A&M System, in a prepared statement. “The innovation of our researchers ensures that AgriLife will play a role in meeting our energy needs.”

The research and development project has two integrated components — plant breeding and production agronomics.  Plant breeding efforts will be focused on developing new varieties of pearl-millet napiergrass, kinggrass, energy cane and miscane suitable for cellulosic biofuel feedstock production along the U.S. Gulf Coast. 

To expedite the selection of commercially robust feedstocks, elite progeny from the plant breeding program will be advanced for demonstration-scale production at a research farm in Texas. The integration of plant breeding and production agronomics will enable BP Biofuels and AgriLife Research to develop elite genetics and production guidelines for future growers.

“Developing new varieties of energy grass is essential to commercializing a cellulosic biofuels industry that will enhance domestic energy security, create jobs for Americans and improve rural economies.Working with Texas AgriLife Research is an important step in the process of bringing clean transport fuels to scale and to market.” said Tom Campbell, technology vice president at BP Biofuels.

    “The opportunity to collaborate with BP Biofuels is an excellent opportunity for Texas AgriLife Research to perform market-driven, scientific research that will create future value to the producers of the State of Texas and beyond with an industry leader,” said Craig Nessler, director of AgriLife Research. “Renewable energy produced from dedicated energy crops will play a vital role for the 21st century economy.”

This new relationship between BP Biofuels and AgriLife Research emphasizes both entities’ commitment to make biofuels commercially competitive with more traditional fuels, officials said.  Through this agreement, AgriLife Research will continue to fulfill its research mission to strengthen agriculture’s position for global renewable energy and it will allow BP Biofuels to further pioneer the cellulosic biofuels market.