The Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation (CABBI) launched in 2018 as the fourth U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Research Center. The CABBI project strives to address one of the world’s significant challenges—how to provide sustainable sources of energy while meeting society’s increasing growth. With more than $100 million of support from the DOE, CABBI is working to develop transformative technologies for the economic and sustainable production of fuels and chemicals from plants. Don Ort serves as the Deputy Director for Research & Development of CABBI.
Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency (RIPE) is an international research project that is helping plants harness energy from the sun to increase crop production. The goal is to equip farmers worldwide with higher-yielding crops to increase their income and opportunities and help improve global food security. RIPE formed in 2012, funded by a five-year, $25-million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,. In 2017, the project received a $45-million, five-year reinvestment to continue its transformative work from the Gates Foundation, the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, and the UK Department for International Development. In 2018, the project received a $13 million supplemental investment from the Gates Foundation to accelerate the transfer of our successes into food crops. Don Ort is the Deputy Director of the RIPE project.
Renewable Oil Generated with Ultra-productive Energycane (ROGUE) is a research project that is developing a new generation of bioenergy crops to produce biodiesel, biojet fuel, and bioproducts. ROGUE is engineering two of the most productive American crops—energycane and Miscanthus—to provide an abundant and sustainable supply of oil. The ROGUE project is supported by a $10.6 million grant from the Brookhaven National Laboratory, University of Florida, and . Together, these institutions are bringing us one step closer to a future fueled by plants.
The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) launched the Transportation Energy Resources from Renewable Agriculture program to develop a new generation of high-performance and sustainable bioenergy crops to increase feedstock yield dramatically—without requiring additional inputs such as fertilizer and water. The Mobile Energy-Crop Phenotyping Platform project—known as TERRA-MEPP—has developed a fleet of robots to monitor crops throughout the growing season. The start-up company EarthSense, Inc. is now commercializing TerraSentia, a compact, autonomous robot that harnesses cutting-edge deep learning. The University leads this $5 million-dollar research collaboration in partnership with Cornell University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, and Signetron, Inc.
Water Efficient Sorghum Technologies (WEST) is developing crops that require less water to improve agricultural productivity, sustainability, and resiliency. The WEST project’s goal is to produce more biomass with less water—expanding the theoretical growing region of bioenergy sorghum by millions of acres without irrigation. The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) sponsors WEST. The University of Illinois leads this partnership in conjunction with the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Cornell University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.