University of Georgia
October 2014
Energy
Clean energy is need of the century

Christian Brodbeck, right, explains to Hilsman Middle School students how a mobile wood gasifier turns pine wood and switchgrass into biofuels.

Clean energy: The need of the century

UGA researchers are making biological breakthroughs that will help solve the world’s energy problems.

University of Georgia researchers are looking to biology for the nation’s—and the world’s—energy future.

The Bioenergy Systems Research Institute, or BSRI, is the focal point for efforts that bring together the university’s legacies in agriculture, forestry, environmental sciences, engineering and agricultural economics with its strengths in carbohydrate science, biochemistry, genetics and microbiology.

Researchers from across the university discover renewable energy solutions, educate and prepare the next generation of renewable energy scientists to find solutions to our world’s energy needs, and collaborate with government, business and academic partners to enhance our nation’s energy security with clean energy.

UGA bioenergy research projects range from basic science to commercial applications. Some lay the foundation for tomorrow’s innovations and policies, while others produce technologies that are already advancing the quality of life in Georgia and the world.

Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biopower

UGA’s bioenergy researchers are helping transform our nation’s renewable and abundant biomass resources into cost-competitive, high-performance biofuels, bioproducts and biopower that are needed to meet growing energy needs.

“Given a choice between teaching an organism how to deconstruct biomass or teaching it how to make ethanol, the more difficult part is deconstructing biomass.”

—Jan Westpheling, Genetics

“Clean energy is the need of the century.”

—Ramaraja Ramasamy, College of Engineering

The Future of Bioenergy in the South

The American South, home not only to peanuts, corn, pecans and cotton, but also millions of acres of commercial forests, has huge biomass reserves that are among the most significant bioenergy sources in the U.S. Consequently, with the bioenergy industry eyeing the Southeast’s bioenergy reserves for future development, researchers are studying its impact on the environment, as well as public opinion about the biofuel industry.

“A lot of people talk about biofuels as being an obvious win-win, but it’s more complicated than that.”

—Sarah Hitchner, co-investigator and postdoctoral researcher associate, Center for Integrative Conservation Research

Education for a Sustainable Future

BSRI aims to inform a variety of audiences about bioenergy research, energy concerns and sustainability issues affecting our planet.

“They are getting multiple job offers before finishing their internships, and companies are telling me, ‘Please send me more of these.’”

—Joy Peterson, director of the MBB program