The primary energy crops that will be developed and evaluated by CenUSA Bioenergy are switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.), big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii Vitman), and indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans (L.) Nash). For additional information on switchgrass and biofuel production see the eXtension article "Switchgrass for Biofuel Production": www.extension.org/pages/26635/switchgrass-for-biofuel-production
We have selected advanced pyrolytic conversion to produce biofuels from perennial grasses. Pyrolysis is the thermal decomposition of biomass in the absence of oxygen to produce an energy-rich liquid called bio-oil, a flammable gas mixture, and a carbon-rich and nutrient-rich solid called biochar.
AFRI stands for "Agricultural Food and Research Initiative"and is part of the USDA's National Institute of Food & Agriculture. For information of the AFRI Sustainable Bioenergy Program and it's long term vision visit http://www.csrees.usda.gov/nea/plants/sustain_bioenergy_afri.html
The summer 2012 CenUSA Bioenergy Research Internship Experience for Undergraduates will provide rich interdisciplinary training and engagement opportunities for undergraduate students in all areas of the bioenergy value chain to meet the workforce challenges of the emerging bioeconomy. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information and a brochure. Apply at http://forms.engineering.iastate.edu/cenusa/reu/ (Application deadline is March 30, 2012)