The US Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture has awarded around $6m in grant to University of Hawaii's College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) and its project partners.

The four-year funding will used in the development of high-yielding biofuel feedstocks that can be used to establish advanced local biofuel production processes; and to guide development of an advanced biofuel supply chain.

CTAHR noted that its faculty from the departments of Molecular Biosciences and Bioengineering, Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences, and Natural Resources and Environmental Management has collaborated with researchers from Oregon State and Washington State University and with ZeaChem, Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar Company, and Hawai’i BioEnergy.

The project is expected to assess the use of fast-growing tropical grasses, including banagrass, sweet sorghum, energycane, and Napiergrass-pearl millet crosses in the production of biofuel, including testing and modifying harvesting and storage techniques for the feedstock grasses and minimizing energy yields.

In addition, researchers will develop methods to test the sustainability of renewable energy production in Hawaii.