UGA scientists pursue new options for biofuel

High cost and inefficiency are huge obstacles to biofuels becoming more commonplace. But GRA Eminent Scholars and their colleagues at the University of Georgia are finding novel ways to overcome aspects of those obstacles. An online feature published in October offers a look at these efforts (and provides a good overview of biofuel’s viability as an energy source). Eminent Scholar C.J. Tsai is using CRISPR and other gene-editing tools to speed the breeding of poplar trees and make them more adaptable to climates. Scholar Robin Buell is re-engineering poplars to maximize their biomass for energy usage. Other researchers are working to change the structure of the cell walls of plants like switchgrass to promote their use as a fuel source. UGA’s contributions to the field could greatly expand America’s capacity for producing billions of gallons of low-carbon biofuels each year. • See the feature >