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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Research Project: Accelerated Development of Commercial Hydrotreated Renewable Jet (HRJ) Fuel from Redesigned Oil Seed Feedstock Supply Chains

Location: Plant Physiology and Genetics Research

Project Number: 2020-21410-006-06-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Aug 1, 2012
End Date: Jul 31, 2017

The project objectives are interlinked to address three aspects of biofuel supply chain performance. The objectives contribute directly to the establishment of commercial HRJ fuel supply chains from oil seed crops: (1) Feedstock Enhancement. Produce genetically improved oil seed crops to enhance compatibility of feedstocks with HRJ fuel conversion processes and oil yield and quality stability under stressed production conditions. (2) Feedstock Production. Provide regionalized strategies to guide sustainable oil seed production integration into existing farms in ways that increase farm profitability and rural economic opportunities while providing biofuel refiners dependable supplies of high quality feedstocks. (3) Oil Quality. Develop cost-effective processes to remove crop oil impurities from feedstocks that would otherwise increase pre-treatment costs and reduce conversion efficiency of oils to HRJ fuels. (4) Conversion. Optimally configure conversion technology with genetically improved seed oils and pre-treatment requirements to reduce the cost of HRJ fuels produced. (5) Commercialization. Align community and business stakeholders to promote their economic opportunities though sustainable asset-based development that incorporates HRJ fuel production compatible with available resources.

Proposed work at ALARC integrates with a broad based plan to improve HRJ production, the proposal involving research objectives that span the hierarchies from oil biomass production, genetic improvement, conversion technology, life cycle analysis, to commercialization. The approach emphasized by SYs at ALARC will utilize genome wide association studies (GWAS) in Brassica napus to link genomic DNA sequence markers (e.g. single nucleotide polymorphisms [SNPs]) to agronomically important phenotypes expressed in the field. ARS scientists will exploit the massive genetic diversity in the USDA stock center and that provided by a collaborator in Idaho, as well as exploit new whole Brassica genomic sequence and bioinformatics tools in collaboration with KeyGene Company and SoyBase. Remote sensing and other high throughput scoring of phenotypes (including oil characters and stress tolerance) will be applied for association with newly identified polymorphisms and QTLs. Multi-location testing of superior genotypes across 10 locations in the Western US, with molecular-marker-aided selection, will lead to identification of elite genotypes for commercialization.

Last Modified: 10/16/2017
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