The Louisiana Institute for Biofuels and Bioprocessing (LIBBi) is a research, education and outreach initiative within the LSU AgCenter. Through innovative discovery and strategic industry partnership, the institute provides a sound, science-based road map to support new biofuels and bioprocessing enterprises and to prioritize pathways for mainstream integration of biorefining industries. It links Louisiana’s strong agricultural base with emerging bioenergy initiatives, thereby expanding and strengthening our state’s role in developing novel energy sources and expanding the economic base for Louisiana crop producers. Biofuel initiatives, in turn, can facilitate opportunities for economic development throughout Louisiana.
Louisiana enjoys a strong, diverse agricultural base. Its subtropical climate supports production of an exciting array of row-crop and forest species, many of which have potential as raw materials for cellulose-based fuel and chemical enterprises. Further, the state is well-positioned to produce novel “energy crops,” such as high-fiber sugarcane and sweet sorghum. Such crop-production ability, coupled with existing industrial capacity for fuel and chemical processing, positions Louisiana to be a strong player in the biofuel and bioprocessing arenas.
Whereas commercial-scale production of ethanol from starches and sugars is well developed, production of biofuels and specialty chemicals from second-generation sources such as cellulose is lagging. In response, the LSU AgCenter is developing technologies to produce biofuels, polymers and specialty chemicals from cellulose associated with Louisiana crops, e.g., bagasse from sugarcane. Initial production of such biobased materials could occur at dedicated facilities or, more ideally, at sugar mills during their extended annual inactive periods, which would effectively convert these facilities into year-round “biorefineries.” This latter approach not only would generate desired biobased products from Louisiana feedstocks but also would enhance economic development within as existing Louisiana industry.
Until 2009, Louisiana lacked a source for reliable, science-based information to support planning and decision making by emerging biofuels and bioprocessing industries within the state. The newly established institute will serve as this source and will help prioritize and coordinate research activities that will speed development and avoid unnecessary duplication of efforts. Further, the institute will provide education and training opportunities for employees of emerging industries and for students and interns interested in careers in biofuels and bioprocessing. Finally, the institute will facilitate information exchange and foster communication among policy makers, industry leaders, researchers and all of Louisiana’s citizenry.
LIBBi Board Members
Louisiana Biomass Resources Database