Kansas Engages in Advanced Bioenergy, Biofuels R&D

Kansas is among a dozen north central states in the U.S. with the potential to produce up to two-thirds of the nation’s perennial bioenergy crops and crop residues. This brings the region into the national spotlight as the U.S. Congress considers federal farm policy to shift energy reliance from the Middle East to the Midwest.

To help guide this transition and ensure coordinated policy and research, directors from 12 state departments of agriculture, the Cooperative Extension Service and university agriculture experiment stations formed the North Central Bioeconomy Consortium. The states are Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. “The north central region currently leads the nation in ethanol production, and we plan to also lead the transition to cellulosic biofuels from perennial bioenergy crops and other biomass sources,” said Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Adrian Polansky. “This shared goal will align our states to achieve the most possible from our abundant renewable resources while protecting our environment and boosting our rural economies.” The North Central Bioeconomy Consortium recently received a $100,000 grant from the Energy Foundation of San Francisco to coordinate regional public policy development and research for a renewable energy future. A strategic partnership has been formed with the Great Plains Institute of Minneapolis to help coordinate, facilitate and implement the 12-state consortium agenda. “These are exciting and changing times for the north central region and the United States as we move toward greater renewable energy and fuels,” said Sara Bergan, executive director of the Great Plains Institute. “This consortium provides our region the opportunity to develop the next generation of biofuel feedstocks and energy technologies while providing the research and policy tools necessary to ensure long-term sustainability and economic vitality.”
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