LANSING — When Scott Swinton, an agriculture, food and resource economics professor at Michigan State University, asked landowners if they’d be interested in renting their land for bioenergy crops, the initial response was unexpected.
“The first thing we found was that a number of people that we sent questionnaires to were hoping MSU was secretly trying to find people they could rent land from to grow bioenergy crops,” Swinton said.
“I got scores of phone calls from people telling me they would love to rent their land to MSU if we were interested.”
But that wasn’t what Swinton was looking for. Instead, he was trying to study the willingness of farmers to rent land that isn’t used for crops.Continue reading →
Researcher Steven Karlen studies plants in a greenhouse lab. Image：Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center
Capital News Service
LANSING — Poplars and other trees can be bred to break down more easily to make biofuel and other products such as paper, according to scientists at the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center.
Their new study found that zip-lignin, an enzyme that indicates the high degradability of plants and that they injected into trees, is already in most plants. Plants that naturally have the highest amount can be selectively bred.
The center is a collaboration between the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Michigan State University and other partners. It was established by the U.S. Department of Energy. Continue reading →