Southeast Regional Regional Biomass Research Center (SERBRC)
The Southeast Regional Biomass Research Center (SERBRC) is one of four regional USDA Biomass Research Centers. The SERBRC is a network of existing USDA-ARS facilities and scientists located in Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, New Orleans, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina and Texas.
SRRBRC Research Focus Areas
Development of improved perennial grasses for bioenergy feedstocks is led by scientists at Tifton, GA, Canal Point, FL and Houma, LA. Additionally, development of germplasm for sweet sorghum-type sorghums is led by scientists at Tifton, GA. Scientists develop new feedstocks for increased yield and conversion characteristics through collaborations with agronomists, molecular biologists and chemical engineers. New feedstocks are field-tested to select for disease and insect resistance and to determine their suitability for production in different growing environments throughout the region. Genes for resistance to numerous biotic stresses such as the sugarcane aphid and aspergillus on sorghum have been identified for use in breeding for more tolerant cultivars.
The production of perennial grasses for bioenergy feedstocks is led by scientists at Tifton, GA College Station, TX, New Orleans, LA and Houma, LA. All field management practices for perennial grasses such as stand establishment, weed control, fertility management, harvest management, and feedstock storage are conducted to determine best management practices for growing various bioenergy feedstocks. Studies are undertaken to identify optimal landscape locations for integrating biofuel crops into traditional cropping systems. Also, the effects of climate variability, from excessive drought and heat to excessive rainfall, on yield and quality of feedstocks have been researched and modeled. Various oilseed crops such as Brassica carinata as well as other winter crops have been evaluated for use in the Southeast to increase income to traditional summer row-crop farmers.
Scientists evaluate the biochemical and thermochemical conversion of various agricultural feedstocks (napiergrass, energy cane, crop oils). Collaborative research on feedstock conversion with scientists at Peoria, IL and Wyndmoor, PA have been performed on these feedstocks. Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) can now determine components in napiergrass that determine its potential value as a biofuel feedstock. Using NIRS along with field trials under varying production practices have been used to determine optimum ethanol yields. Scientists at Florence, SC study the properties and use of biochar which is a biproduct of thermo-chemical conversion. Scientists at New Orleans, LA are identifying special chemicals that can be produced from sweet sorghum.