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2023: Advancing Integrated Biorefineries for Sustainable Food and Fuel Systems

Sustainably meeting increasing demands for food, clean water, and green energy is critical to reversing climatic damage. A team of researchers envisions a new approach: an integrated biorefinery that adapts to the seasonal and locational availability of feedstocks, desired product distribution, public willingness to adopt biorefinery products, and equitable use of resources. The team will develop a Techno-Externalic Framework that combines technical and social science knowledge to create a decision-making tool to identify equitable, profitable, technically, and environmentally sound locations for integrated biorefineries. The work will demonstrate two key engineering proofs of concept: hydrothermal liquefaction, to convert wet biomass (such as food and agro-industrial processing wastes) into a liquid fuel ripe for upgrading to sustainable aviation fuels and a solid char for energy generation; and managing the process water generated by hydrothermal liquefaction.

Investigators: Jillian Goldfarb, Buz Barstow, Douglas Kriner, and Jeff Tester

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