Sustainable Bioeconomy for Arid Regions (SBAR) is a multi-level research project that will cultivate two desert-dwelling crops, guayule and guar, for a sustainable bioeconomy. Combined, guayule (perennial) and guar (annual) feedstocks can provide biomass year round for biofuel production.
Both crops are drought and heat tolerant, grow on marginal lands, and provide economic returns. Scale up to profitable production, however, requires feedstock improvements, expansion of cultivation, agronomic knowledge and practices, and economic crop residue utilization.
Researchers from The University of Arizona (UA), Bridgestone Americas, Inc., Colorado School of Mines (CSM), Colorado State University (CSU), New Mexico State University (NMSU), and the USDA-ARS will collaborate on research, development, and deployment (RDD) activities to: 1) improve feedstock; 2) produce feedstock in a sustainable manner; 3) understand how conversion to fuel is affected by variable feedstock quality; and 4) enhance transport, techno-economic, and sustainability models to provide a clear path to commercialization. Partners such as Iowa State University, Pacific Northwest Laboratories, and Mercurius Biofuels Inc. be engaged midway through the project to assess and scale-up bagasse conversion and upgrading to jet, biodiesel, and gasoline.SBAR will co-produce biofuels and bioproducts using minimal water and nutrients from guar and guayule crops.
New Mexico State’s Catherine Brewer gave this illuminating overview of the project’s promise and progress at ABLC 2018 in Washington DC.