When Max Haase set out for a walk in Green Bay’s Baird Creek Nature Preserve on a May day in 2015, it was pretty normal stuff. Baird Creek was practically in his backyard, and it was a good day for a hike — sunny and unseasonably warm for so early in the UW–Madison biology major’s summer break.
Technologies for converting non-edible biomass into chemicals and fuels traditionally made from petroleum exist aplenty. But when it comes to attracting commercial interest, these technologies compete financially with a petroleum-based production pipeline that has been perfected over the course of decades.
The Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC), one of three bioenergy research centers established in 2007 by the Biological and Environmental Research program in the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science, recently published its 1,000th scientific paper.
MADISON — In the Microbial Sciences Building at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, the incredibly efficient eating habits of a fungus-cultivating termite are surprising even to those well acquainted with the insect’s natural gift for turning wood to dust.
he Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) had reason to celebrate when Clarivate Analytics – formerly the Intellectual Property & Science business of Thomson Reuters – recently released its 2016 list of “Highly Cited Researchers” in the natural and social sciences.
Bacteria and other microbes interact in diverse populations everywhere from the human gut to the oceans. Scientists are eager to understand these communities, called microbiomes, in the hopes of benefiting human health, feeding the planet and protecting the environment.
Reducing our reliance on fossil fuels means turning to plant-derived biofuels and chemicals. But producing them cost-effectively from plants and other organic matter – collectively referred to as biomass – is a major engineering challenge. Most biomass comes in the form of non-edible plants like trees, grass, and algae, which contain sugars that can be fermented to produce fuel.
MADISON -- When scientists reported in 2014 that they had successfully engineered a poplar plant “designed for deconstruction,” the finding made international news. The highly degradable poplar, the first of its kind, could substantially reduce the energy use and cost of converting biomass to a number of products, including biofuels, pulp, and paper.
MADISON – Scientists at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) have found a way to nearly double the efficiency with which Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a commonly used industrial yeast strain, converts plant sugars to biofuel.