Sustainable Energy

The increased demand for energy, due to population increase, has stimulated the world community to look for alternative resources to develop renewable energy from various sources to meet the demands of the swiftly growing population. One of the major natural resources that can be effectively exploited for energy production is the biomass from plants and animals. The economic benefits associated with energy production from biomass are extremely important to the rural population and farming communities.

The planned program will focus on applying an advanced composting technology to precipitate struvite, a value-added bio-based industrial product from animal waste, for sustainable crop production. The new technology uses cultured bacteria and a soluble magnesium source added to the animal waste to convert the organic nitrogen and phosphorus into an inorganic compound (ammonium magnesium phosphate hydrate). This addition of cultured bacteria scientifically reduces the bacterial hazard associated with handling fresh animal waste. The final industrial product will be a struvite enriched, slow-release, and environmentally-friendly manure.

Sweet Sorghums are characterized by their wider adaptability, rapid growth and sugar accumulation associated with high biomass. The sugar presented in the stalk juice of sweet sorghum can be fermented and converted to ethanol using relatively simple techniques. Sweet Sorghum stalks are ideal for ethanol production as the ethanol is significantly cleaner (low sulfur), and potable alcohol produced from sorghum grains has superior quality.

Knowledge Areas

  • Soil, Plant, Water, Nutrient Relationships
  • Pollution Prevention and Mitigation
  • Plant Management Systems
  • Waste Disposal, Recycling, and Reuse