Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center Newsletter: February 2014
Note From GLBRC Director, Tim Donohue:
Tim Donohue
Tim Donohue
I am proud to report that the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) is entering its seventh year with many critical accomplishments under its belt and an even stronger commitment to high-impact research, exciting technology delivery, and outstanding outreach. In 2013, the GLBRC published its 500th paper, filed its 80th invention disclosure, incubated its second start-up company, and saw its publications cited number hit nearly 14,000. In addition, the Wisconsin Energy Institute on the UW-Madison campus opened its doors, providing a mega-center for energy research in which GLBRC Plants, Deconstruction, Conversion, Sustainability, and Education scientists and staff will collaborate to usher in a bright future for biofuels research.
Looking ahead to this year, the GLBRC will maintain the invaluable support of the U.S. Department of Energy, Congress and the Executive branch; benefit from the continued advice of its Scientific Advisory Board; and initiate key discussions about the resources needed for the Center's future. For 2014, the GLBRC has also renewed its focus on the agronomic, genomic, and systems-level knowledge needed for tomorrow's cellulosic bio-refineries to become reality, and on forging industry relationships that will facilitate the real-world application of the Center's many discoveries. 

I look forward to reporting to you on our advances in 2014!
GLBRC researchers recently compared three common biofuel crops to assess each crop's environmental benefits. Methane consumption, pest suppression and bird populations were highest in perennial grasslands, and these benefits intensified when grasslands were located near other grass habitats, suggesting that coordinated land use plans may also play an important role in future bioenergy research and policy. Read more
Plant scientists at GLBRC have identified a new gene responsible for producing a previously unknown enzyme that is central to lignin synthesis. The breakthrough, published in Science, could improve the conversion of cellulosic-or non-food-biomass to biofuels. Read more
GLBRC scientists are developing new yeast strains capable of accelerating the process of converting cellulosic plant biomass to ethanol. GLBRCY0, a special strain of heat and stress-resistant yeast, significantly shortens the time needed for ethanol processing. Read more
Renewable Chemical Ready For Biofuels Scale-Up
Using a plant-derived chemical, GLBRC researchers have developed a process for creating a concentrated stream of sugars that's ripe with possibility for biofuels. With support from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, the team will begin scaling up the process later this year. Read more
Plant Power Month at Aldo Leopold Nature Center
During the month of November, GLBRC education and outreach staff teamed up with the Madison-based Aldo Leopold Nature Center for "Plant Power," an educational exhibit on biofuels. Center visitors learned about global energy crops, cutting-edge biofuel research and how renewable energy sources can be a part of the climate solution. Education and Outreach director, Dr. John Greenler, rounded out the month's activities with a prairie walk and group discussion of bioenergy research and sustainability issues. Read more

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