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Plant Sensory Systems Awarded $1.8 Million from ARPA-E to Engineer Beets for Biofuel
Date:12/11/2012

Baltimore, MD (PRWEB) December 11, 2012

Plant Sensory Systems, LLC today announced the award of $1.8 million in funding from the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). The award will support a three-year program to develop an enhanced energy (sugar) beet, optimized for biofuel production. The beets will be engineered to use fertilizer and water more efficiently and produce higher levels of fermentable sugars compared to current feedstocks. The new beet crop will have lower production costs and increased yield for biofuels without competing against food-grade sugar.

“ARPA-E’s support will allow us to accelerate the development of the enhanced energy beets for biofuel,” said Frank Turano, Plant Sensory Systems’ Chief Research Officer. “We anticipate a 30% increase in fermentable sugars which will substantially increase domestic fuel production. The benefits will be shared by a number of entities in the biofuel supply chain including beet producers as well as the biorefineries.”

The energy-beet project, headed by Dr. Frank Turano, will be conducted in collaboration with Dr. Ann Smigocki, a sugar beet research geneticist at the US Department of Agriculture, Beltsville, MD and economists at North Dakota State University led by Dr. David Ripplinger. The team will work closely with ARPA-E to expedite the development and commercialization of the enhanced beets for biofuel production.

ARPA-E supports transformational research that translates science into breakthrough energy technologies that are too early for private-sector investment. Projects are selected through a merit-based process that is highly competitive. Plant Sensory Systems’ Energy-Beet project was one of 66 projects selected from thousands of concept papers and hundreds of full applications.

“The 66 projects selected toda
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