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Northeast Sun Grant Institute at Cornell spurs 'green revolution'

ITHACA, N.Y. -- In a time of skyrocketing gasoline prices and concerns over global warming, Cornell University is helping to spearhead the next green revolution by using plants to produce energy, industrial chemicals and green materials.

Awarded more than $8.2 million in federal funding over four years through the recent signing of the federal Transportation Bill, Cornell has been tapped by the federal government as one of five Sun Grant Centers of Excellence -- regional hubs that will take the lead in researching the use of plant biomass in energy and chemical production; for education and outreach activities; and for soliciting and funding proposals that focus on using renewable agricultural resources to produce heat, electricity, biofuels, natural products, such as biopesticides and bioherbicides, and industrial chemicals.

"With our global community entering a less certain oil future, over the next 10 to 25 years, there will be a major transition to agricultural-based bio-industries," said Larry Walker, professor of biological and environmental engineering at Cornell and director of the institute.

Cornell, the land-grant university of New York state, is the lead university for the Northeast Sun Grant Institute of Excellence, which serves 14 states and the District of Columbia, from Maine to Maryland to Michigan. That makes Cornell one of only two universities in the nation, along with Oregon State University, now designated by the federal government in all of the four categories of land, sea, space and sun grant institutions.

"Genomics, nanobiotechnology and breakthroughs in molecular biology, genetics and biological engineering have opened up a broad spectrum of opportunities and challenges for manipulating microbial and plant systems to produce novel organic compounds and to meet part of the U.S. and world energy needs," said Walker. "Opportunities abound for integrating these advances in engineering and science into regional, national an
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Contact: Blaine P. Friedlander Jr.
bpf2@cornell.edu
607-254-8093
Cornell University News Service
20-Sep-2005


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