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May 16, 2007

Public interest prediction

research beaker iconDr. Ghasem ShahbaziLast summer the N.C. General Assembly turned to the North Carolina Biotechnology Center for a comprehensive plan for developing biofuels and speeding them into production. The Biotechnology Center's steering committee turned the project over to five co-conveners for a blueprint for Fueling North Carolina's Future: North Carolina's Strategic Plan for Biofuels Leadership." The plan is built around "Nine Realistic Strategies" for a biofuels industry that is "economically important, sustainable, and significant." The five principal authors of the biofuels plan were Billy Ray Hall of the N.C. Rural Economic Development Center, Steven Burke of the Biotechnology Center, Dr. Johnny Wynne of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at N.C. State, Norris Tolson of the N.C. Department of Revenue and Dr. Ghasem Shahbazi , a member of the SAES faculty.

Hall, Wynne, and Shahbazi  are now being called on to present the plan to agencies and organizations that need to be at the forefront of implementation. Shahbazi has become a spokesman for the plan's research priorities for conversion technologies that will utilize existing feedstocks and agricultural byproducts.

Legislation has been introduced into the N.C. General Assembly that authorizes funding for some of the research recommendations in the Strategic Plan. If the legislation passes, A&T and N.C. State will be well positioned to apply for $25 million earmarked for one of the plan's nine ""Realistic Strategies" that has research at its core. The pioneering role North Carolina's two land-grants played in biofuel research before it became a hot-button issue will probably translate into a considerable amount of media attention for the SAES and the Bioengineering Program which Shahbazi directs in months to come.

Posted May 16, 2007 03:48 PM


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