The National Institute for Food and Agriculture recently announced the recipients of $90 million in funding through the agency’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative’s Sustainable Agriculture Systems program.
The Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) is a main collaborator in a project lead by West Virginia University’s Jingxin Wang. The project, “Mid-Atlantic Sustainable Biomass for Value-added Products Consortium (MASBio)” was awarded $10 million over five years to deliver a sustainable and economically feasible biomass for value-added products system in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States.
FPL researcher Richard Bergman, with support from Kamalakanta Sahoo, will be leading a task group focusing on conducting system and scale-up analyses using robust artificial intelligence-based data analytics.
The integrated and transdisciplinary research, education and extension project will facilitate development and commercialization of bioproducts and the rural bioeconomy through collaborations with regional universities, industry partners and national laboratories while building upon existing partnerships with regional stakeholders.
Specific project objectives to fully implement MASBio include:
(1) identify and demonstrate feasible and cost-effective approaches to soil amendment and feedstock production to increase the biomass yield on reclaimed and marginal lands,
(2) demonstrate efficient and effective harvest and logistics strategies for an optimized supply chain of integrated biomass crops and forest residues for continuous industrial use,
(3) develop and optimize bioproduct conversion processes through collaborations with industry partners,
(4) evaluate the sustainability and human dimensions of the developed system,
(5) conduct system and scale-up analyses using robust artificial intelligence (AI)-based data analytics,
(6) engage the next generation of bioproducts leaders through education and internship programs, and
(7) outreach and engage with entrepreneurs, stakeholders, and business developers to promote bioeconomic development through integrated outreach programs.