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Biomass & Biofuels Group

John Cushman and students in a greenhouse

John Cushman

John Cushman, Lead
Professor, Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

The Biomass and Biofuels Group brings together plant biochemists and ecologists; civil, environmental, and chemical engineers; and economists to study basic and applied approaches for the efficient production of non-food feedstocks from forested or marginal lands with limited freshwater availability as sustainable and renewable sources for biofuel generation within regional production systems.

We have complementary expertise in the production of biomass and biofuels from a diverse set of feedstocks and the conversion of these feedstocks by depolymerization, thermochemical and pyrolysis processes into useful gaseous, liquid and solid fuels.

The group is currently focused on five major research areas:

  1. Selection and optimization of terrestrial and aquatic biofuel feedstocks;
  2. Collection and efficient use of herbaceous, woody and waste stream biomass feedstocks;
  3. Leveraging of solar, wind, geothermal and wastewater resources in the production of biomass and biofuel feedstocks;
  4. Development pretreatment, extraction and conversion processes for biofuel production;
  5. Determination of the economically optimal mix and levels of (1-4) considering alternative locations, transport costs, size and sunk costs; and market opportunities for biofuel feedstock production, energy production and delivery.

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