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Scientists at UND Leading $3.75M Project to Turn Corn Stover Into Jet Fuel

A collection of researchers, professors, and students at the University of North Dakota’s College of Engineering and Mines are leading a $3.75 million, four-year project to explore the possibility of turning corn stover - corn stalks, stems, and leaves, etc. - into jet fuel.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Bioenergy Technologies Office, the project is being headed by Professor Wayne Seames and a team of scientists and engineers with the university’s Sustainable Energy Research Initiative and Supporting Education research center.

The goal will be to develop a process to convert the lignin found in corn stover, a polymer that together with cellulose forms the structural basis of plants, into jet fuel. Early research has been done at the University of Washington, however efforts there were based on reactors that are the size of a pencil and have not been indicative of possible commercial success.

The team at UND are picking up where the team in Washington left off, scaling up to desk-top reactors, and eventually room-sized reactors from which scientists can predict what a full-size commercial plant would look like and cost.

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