Iowa Public Television


Biofuels Researchers Team With Gardeners

posted on November 10, 2011

     ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - University of Minnesota biofuels

researchers are teaming up with master gardeners in the school's

extension service.

     They're seeking to find out whether biofuel production can

reduce water and nutrient runoff from farm fields, cut down on

erosion and turn a profit for farmers who grow it. They'll explore

that possibility under a five-year, $25 million multistate grant

from the USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

     The nationwide research will focus on using perennial grasses as

a feedstock for biofuels. The Minnesota research will test biochar

-- a nutrient-rich leftover from using heat to convert the biomass

into fuel -- as a soil amendment. The master gardeners will test

biochar's ability to increase productivity in vegetable and flower

gardens, and determine its viability as a commercial product for

home gardeners.

Tags: agriculture biofuels research