Research & Development

The Northeast Sun Grant has funded forty-one research and development projects beginning in 2007, through a competitive grants program.  The research portfolio contains experiments in the areas of feedstock development, bio-conversion processes, systems analysis, economics, environment and policy.


Jocelyn Rose, Cornell University, A Biofuel Screening Program for Grass Feedstocks: Diversity, Physiological Traits and Compositional Characteristics for Optimal Yield.

Thomas Molnar, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Developing the Potential of Hazelnuts as a Feedstock for Biodiesel and other Oleochemicals in the Northeast.

Roger Koide, Pennsylvania State University, Contrasting Soil Carbon Sequestration by Soybean and Canola.

Stacy Bonos, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Switchgrass with Improved Biomass Productivity on Marginal Land for the Northeastern US.

Stacy Bonos, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Improving Switchgrass Establishment through Breeding.

David Dowler, Pennsylvania State University Extension, Meadville, PA, Camelina: A new Oilseed Crop for Permanent No-till Systems in the Northeast

Stephen Herbert, University of Massachusetts, Optimal Harvest Time of Switchgrass: Yield, Nutrient Cycling and Air Emissions.

Stephen Herbert, University of Massachusetts, Assessing switchgrass establishment problems.

Larry Smart, Cornell University, Genetic Improvement for Yield and Establishment of Short Rotation Woody Biomass Crops on Marginal Lands

Armen R. Kemanian, Pennsylvania State University, Production and life-cycle assessment of switchgrass across the heterogeneous landscape of the Northeast

Rafiq Islam, The Ohio State University, Carbon-neutral perennial grass biofuels production from biosolids amended degraded forest and marginal lands in Ohio.


Changqing Wu, University of Delaware, Utilizing lignocellulose-to-ethanol residue for multifunctional natural products

David Hodge, Michigan State University, Catalytic Oxidation of biorefinery-and forest products industry-derived lignins for the production of functionally active aromatic monomers

Benjamin Dawson-Andoh, West Virginia University, Engineered High-Value Carbonaceous Products from Bio-refinery By-Products

Robert Birkenholz, The Ohio State University, “The Biobased Promise”, a consumer purchasing decisions study

Rafiq Islam, The Ohio State University, Training Professionals on Sustainable
Advanced Energy Feedstock Production for Enhanced Ecosystems Services from the Ground Up


Jude Liu, Pennsylvania State University, Development of Square Bale Handling Systems.

Hojae Yi, Pennsyvania State University, Predictive Relationships for Assessing Quality of Densified Biomass using Fundamental Mechanical Properties of Granular Bio-Feedstock


James Gossett, Cornell University, Influence of Alternative Pretreatment Strategies on Cellulosic Ethanol Production using Simultaneous Saccharification and Fermentation at High Solids Concentrations.

Nancy Kravit, University of Maine, Improving Woody Biomass Separation by Enzymatic Means.

Stephen Kresovich, Cornell University, Exploiting Diversity in Cellulosic Sorghums for Northern Latitudes.

Wei Liao, Michigan State University, Developing a Biological Process to Treat Feedstock for Cellulosic Ethanol Biorefining.

Gary Bergstrom, Cornell University, A Biofuel Screening Program for Grass Feedstocks: Diversity, Physiological Traits and Compositional Characteristics for Optimal Yield.

Dan Luo, Cornell University, High-throughput Engineering of Cellulase Consortia Using a Gel that Can Produce Proteins without Any Living Cells.

Stephane Corgie, Cornell University, Tapping Into Lignin Potential For High-End Co-Products Using Bionanocatalysts with Enhanced Depolymerizing Activities BIOMASS TO FUELS CONVERSION PROJECTS

Zhongtang Yu, The Ohio State University, Development of a Temperature-phased Anaerobic Digestion Process for Enhanced Conversion of Solids in Livestock Manure and Food Wastes to Methane.

Thaddeus Ezeji, The Ohio State University, Development of a Biocatalyst for Biobutanol Production and Recovery Gas Stripping.

Thaddeus Ezeji, The Ohio State University, Metabolic Engineering to Enhance Butanol Production from Lignocellulosic Biomass through use of an Endogenous Ribozyme and Artificial non-coding RNAs in Clostridium Beijerinckii

James Holden, Enhanced Microbial Cellulose Degradation and H2 Production above 80oC.

James Holden, Enhanced feedstock-to-H2 conversion using hyperthermophiles

Christopher Saffron, Michigan State University, Assessing the bioenergy production capability of native grasses using wet chemical techniques and bench-scale biochemical and thermochemical conversion approaches.

David Hodge, Michigan State University, Fractionation of Alkaline Pulping Liquors for Fuel and Chemical Production.

Gary Bergstrom, Cornell University, Genome-enabled selection and high throughput screening of microbial accessory enzymes for enhanced conversion of lignocellulosic biomass.

Lars Angenent, Cornell University, Producing Butanol from Syngas with hollow fiber reactors.

Peter van Walsum, University of Maine, Conversion of North Eastern macro-algae to liquid biofuels and bioproducts.

Lawrence Smart, Cornell University, Influence of varietal differences in shrub willow crop biomass composition and biochemical conversion yield.

Paul Dauenhauer, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, of a Catalytic-Cone Reactor for Direct Conversion of Woody Biomass to Transportation Fuels

Stephanie Lansing, University of Maryland, Creating renewable energy through sustainable nutrient management practices – digestion of manure and clover crops to reduce fossil fuel use in the Northeast.

Marshall Hayes, Cornell University, Experimental Evolution and Metabolic Engineering of Fusarium graminearum PH-1 and Colletotrichum navitas Cn09 for the Enhanced Conversion of Lignocellulosic Biomass.


Tom Richard, Pennsylvania State University, Biomass Feedstock Production in the Northeast: Economic and Environmental Implications.

Mario Teisl, University of Maine, Marketing New England Biofuels to Ensure Energy Security.

Marc McDill, Pennsylvania State University, Determining Costs, Product Recovery Factors, and Environmental Impacts for Biomass Harvest Treatments in Northeastern Forests.

Antonio Bento, Cornell University, Economic Costs and Environmental Consequences of US Biofuels Policies.


Andre Boehman, Pennsylvania State University, Determination of the Underlying Cause of the Biodiesel NOxEffect in Common Rail Diesel Engines.

Ramani Narayan, Michigan State University, Advanced Biofuels using Ozone-Mediated Technology.


Daniel Ciolkosz, Pennsylvania State University, Online Demonstration and Measurement of Renewable Energy Technologies.

Norman Scott, Cornell University, Small Farm Integrated Energy System.

David Specca, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Hydrogen, Natural Gas, Electricity, and Heat from Landfill Gas: Integration of Emerging Technologies for a Quad-Generation Demonstration.

Mary Wrege, Cornell Cooperative Extension Oneida County, Fuel-Smart II: A Biofuel Education Outreach Tool.

Thomas Brutnell, Cornell University- Boyce Thompson Institute, Community germination studies for bioenergy feedstocks in NY – an outreach module for student-driven research in high school science classrooms.

Daniel Ciolkosz, Pennsylvania State University, On-farm biomass densification education.

Michael Jacobson, Pennsylvania State University, Across the supply chain: Education and outreach in forest bioenergy.

William Sciarappa, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Development of on-line educational programming and agricultural bioenergy.

Susan Hawkins, University of Vermont, Bioenergy Multimedia Resource Development on

Scott Sheer, The Ohio State University, Development and Dissemination of a Bioenergy Educational Curriculum for Children