Agrisoma Biosciences Inc., is expanding its partnership with the University of Florida (UF) to advance the supply of bio jet fuel in the United States.
The Quebec-based company and its subsidiary, Agrisoma USA, is working with a network of 40 academic researchers from seven Universities associated with UF's Institute of Food and Agricultural Science. Agrisoma's goal is to maximize production of the tiny Carinata seed grown in the southeastern US, used to produce bio jet fuel.
"Our research shows that Carinata grows well in the winter when fields are unseeded, giving farmers the opportunity to make a profit on their farms during winter months," says Steven Fabijanski, PhD., President and CEO of Agrisoma Biosciences Inc.
The research project will operate under the oversight of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture, in conjunction with the Florida-based Southeast Partnership for Advanced Renewables from Carinata (SPARC).
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue is providing a $15M grant from the USDA to support the research initiative aimed at scaling commercial production of Carinata for aviation fuel.
The SPARC team consists of scientists from several Southeast U.S. universities, government agencies, industry and a consortium representing the commercial aviation industry.
"Our goal is to commercialize Carinata to produce jet fuel and feed for livestock while mitigating risks along the entire supply chain," says David Wright, project lead and an agronomy professor at the University of Florida.
For several years, Wright has led a team of researchers at the UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center in Quincy, Florida in studies to increase production of Carinata. These studies, supported by Agrisoma, have initiated large-scale commercial production of the crop in Florida, Georgia and Alabama.
An advantage of the fuel produced from Carinata is that it requires no blending with petroleum-based fuel, says Ian Small, an assistant professor in the UF/IFAS plant pathology department and SPARC deputy project director.
The military and commercial aviation industries are interested in renewables due to national security, their commitment to environmental stewardship and potential incentives from carbon credits, says Wright.