From southeastern Florida to northern Mississippi to the Midwestern Corn Belt, CABBI scientists have struck sustainable oil with sugarcane. But the crop’s potential value to the renewable energy sector earns this particular variety a more appropriate designation: oilcane.
A groundbreaking endeavor uniting CABBI’s Feedstock Production and Conversion themes is coming to fruition with the fall 2020 harvest. By analyzing a sugarcane variety specifically designed to divert natural sugars for oil production, researchers can provide sustainable, plant-based fossil fuel alternatives.
The initial seeds of this project were sown as a result of CABBI Feedstock Production Investigators John Shanklin and Fredy Altpeter’s work on the PETROSS (Plants Engineered to Replace Oil in Sugarcane and Sweet Sorghum) DOE ARPA-E project. Their teams at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) and University of Florida, respectively, manipulated lines of sugarcane to accumulate elevated lipid content compared to their wild-type counterpart.