AFRI Regional Bioenergy System Coordinated Ag. Projects

IPREFER is part of a significant federally supported research effort that started in 2011 when the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) funded seven regional integrated Coordinated Agricultural Projects (CAPs). An additional two projects were funded. The goal was to promote enhanced rural prosperity and national energy security by developing regional systems for the sustainable production of advanced biofuels, industrial chemicals, and biobased products. The regional systems focused on non-food dedicated biomass feedstocks such as perennial grasses, sorghum, energy cane, oilseed crops, and woody biomass. The CAPs were intended to enhance existing agricultural systems, create new job opportunities in rural areas, and support the existing North American fossil-based energy systems by contributing to the potential for these finite resources to be used at more moderate rates over a longer time period, potentially improving economic sustainability and slowing the rate of climate change. Learn more about the Bioenergy CAPs in this infographic and in the summaries provided below.

NIFA Bioenergy CAPs Map
SBAR logo

The Sustainable Bioeconomy for Arid Regions (SBAR) Center of Excellence works to optimize and integrate guayule and guar production to enable the Southwest U.S. to significantly impact biofuel and other high-value product markets. SBAR is led by the University of Arizona. SBAR is part of the USDA-NIFA Bioenergy Challenge Area Coordinated Agricultural Projects. Learn more about SBAR at their website.

Founded: 2017
Primary Feedstocks: guayule and guar
Project Partners: Bridgestone Americas, Inc., Colorado School of Mines, Colorado State University, Guar Resources, New Mexico State University, USDA-ARS, University of Arizona & University of Arizona College of Agriculture & Life Sciences Cooperative Extension

SPARC logo

In the Southeast, SPARC is working to establish over 800,000 acres of carinata as a viable winter crop, to create a carinata centered advanced renewables and coproduct supply chain in the region with national and global impact. SPARC is a collaboration of Southeast universities and industry partners led by the University of Florida. SPARC is part of the USDA-NIFA Bioenergy Challenge Area Coordinated Agricultural Projects. Learn more about SPARC at their website.

Founded: 2017
Primary Feedstock: Carinata
Project Partners: Applied Research Associates, Auburn University, Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative, Florida A&M University, Glades Crop Care, NuSeed, USDA-ARS, University of Florida, University of Georgia, University of South Florida

AHB logo

The Advanced Hardwood Biofuels (AHB) project, led by the University of Washington, worked on researching and developing ways to grow and convert hybrid poplars into bio-based chemicals and liquid biofuels in the Pacific Northwest. Learn more about AHB at their archived website.

Years Active: 2011-2019
Primary Feedstock: Purpose grown woody crops (e.g. poplar)
Project Partners: Agriculture Center of Excellence, Biofuels and Bioproducts Laboratory (UW), Greenwood Resources, Oregon State University, Portland State University, Rocky Mountain Wildlife Institute, UC Davis, University of Idaho, University of Washington, Washington State University, ZeaChem Inc.

BANR logo

In the Rocky Mountains, the Bioenergy Alliance Network of the Rockies (BANR) investigated the use of insect-killed trees as a sustainable feedstock. Colorado State University led the project and worked with other universities and industry partners to develop biofuels and biochar. Learn more about BANR at their archived website.

Years Active: 2012-2019
Primary Feedstock: Beetle-killed pine
Project Partners: Cool Planet Energy Systems, Colorado State University, Montana State University, National Renewable Energy Lab, U.S. Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Research Station, University of Idaho, University of Montana, University of Wyoming

CenUSA logo

In the Midwest, CenUSA Bioenergy investigated the creation of sustainable biofuels and bioproducts using perennial grasses. The project, led by Iowa State University, also worked on producing biochar as a soil amendment. The perennial grasses increase carbon sequestration and improve existing cropping systems’ sustainability by reducing agricultural runoff of nutrients and soil. Learn more about CenUSA at their archived website.

Years Active: 2011-2019
Primary Feedstock: Switchgrass
Project Partners: ADM, Iowa State University, Purdue University, Renmatix, USDA-ARS, University of Minnesota, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, University of Vermont, University of Wisconsin

IBSS logo

The Southeastern Partnership for Integrated Biomass Supply Systems (IBSS) investigated the production of biofuels and bioproducts from switchgrass, pine, poplar, and eucalyptus. The project, led by the University of Tennessee, focused on economic and environmental barriers to sustainable biofuel and bioproduct production. Learn more about IBSS at their archived website.

Years Active: 2011-2016
Primary Feedstock: Switchgrass, pine, & cold-tolerant Eucalyptus
Project Partners: ArborGen, Auburn University, Ceres Inc., KiOR, Genera Energy, North Carolina State University, Rentech-ClearFuels, University of Georgia, University of Tennessee

NARA logo

The Northwest Advanced Renewable Alliance (NARA), led by Washington State University, researched how to convert forest residuals, including forest and mill residues and construction waste, into bio-jet fuel and other co-products. Learn more about IBSS at their archived website.

Years Active: 2011-2019
Primary Feedstock: Forestry residuals
Project Partners: Alaska Airlines, Andritz, BANR, Biomass ad Infinitum, LLC, Catchlight Energy, Compañia Logistica de Hidrocarburos, Cosmo Specialty Fibers, Facing the Future, Forest Business Network, Gevan Marrs LLC, Gevo, GreenWood Resources, ICM, Montana State University, National Center for Genome Resources, NREL, Oregon State University, Penn State University, Salish Kootenai College, South Hampton Resources, IBSS, Steadfast Management, Thomas Spink, Inc., University of Idaho, University of Minnesota, University of Montana, University of Utah, University of Washington, University of Washington Extension, US Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station, USDA Forest Products Lab, Washington State University, Western Washington University, & Weyerhaeuser


NewBIO logo

The Northeast Woody/Warm-season Biomass Consortium (NEWBio) investigated various feedstocks for advanced biofuels, including willow, switchgrass, and miscanthus. Led by Penn State University, NEWBio also looked into alternative markets for cellulosic bioenergy crops. Learn more about NewBIO at their archived website.

Years Active: 2011-2019
Primary Feedstock: Forestry residuals
Project Partners: Aloterra Energy, American Refining Group, Biomass Renewable Energy LLC, Chesapeake Bay CommissionCNH America LLCCornell University, Dartmouth College, Delaware State University, Double A Willow, Drexel University, Ernst Conservation Seeds, ExxonMobil Research and Engineering, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Idaho National Laboratory, Ohio State University, Penn State University, Praxair, Primus Green Energy, Renmatix, Inc., Rutgers University, SUNY-ESF, USDA-ARS, USDA Eastern Regional Research Center, USDA NRCS, University of Vermont, & West Virginia University

SUBI logo

In the Gulf States, the Sustainable Bioproducts Initiative (SUBI) led by Louisiana State University AgCenter. SUBI worked on using existing refinery infrastructure in the Southeast to convert energycane and sweet sorghum into biofuels and bioproducts.

Years Active: 2011-2015
Primary Feedstock: Sweet sorghum, energy cane
Project Partners: Ceres Inc., Genencor, John Deere, Louisiana State University AgCenter & Optinol