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JBEI and LS9 Biotechnology of SF converting Biomass to fuel with microbes: huge money saving potential

In agriculture, Bioscience, Biotechnology, cleantech, Energy, entrepreneur, Environment, greentech, Power Grid, Science, Sustainable, Technology, Venture Capital on January 31, 2010 at 10:59 am

The secret to cheap, sustainable fuel from waste is near and natural. We have microbes that can get the job done without expensive chemical conversions.

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Read about it in Science Daily.

ScienceDaily (Jan. 31, 2010) — A collaboration led by researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) has developed a microbe that can produce an advanced biofuel directly from biomass. Deploying the tools of synthetic biology, the JBEI researchers engineered a strain of Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria to produce biodiesel fuel and other important chemicals derived from fatty acids.
See Also:
Plants & Animals
Food
Bacteria
Matter & Energy
Fossil Fuels
Energy Policy
Earth & Climate
Energy and the Environment
Renewable Energy
Reference
Biomass
Biomass (ecology)
Biodiesel
Distributed generation
“The fact that our microbes can produce a diesel fuel directly from biomass with no additional chemical modifications is exciting and important,” says Jay Keasling, the Chief Executive Officer for JBEI, and a leading scientific authority on synthetic biology. “Given that the costs of recovering biodiesel are nowhere near the costs required to distill ethanol, we believe our results can significantly contribute to the ultimate goal of producing scalable and cost effective advanced biofuels and renewable chemicals.”
Keasling led the collaboration, which was was made up of a team from JBEI’s Fuels Synthesis Division that included Eric Steen, Yisheng Kang and Gregory Bokinsky, and a team from LS9, a privately-held industrial biotechnology firm based in South San Francisco. The LS9 team was headed by Stephen del Cardayre and included Zhihao Hu, Andreas Schirmer and Amy McClure. The collaboration has published the results of their research in the January 28, 2010 edition of the journal Nature. The paper is titled, “Microbial Production of Fatty Acid-Derived Fuels and Chemicals from Plant Biomass.”
A combination of ever-increasing energy costs and global warming concerns has created an international imperative for new transportation fuels that are renewable and can be produced in a sustainable fashion. Scientific studies have consistently shown that liquid fuels derived from plant biomass are one of the best alternatives if a cost-effective means of commercial production can be found. Major research efforts to this end are focused on fatty acids — the energy-rich molecules in living cells that have been dubbed nature’s petroleum.
Fuels and chemicals have been produced from the fatty acids in plant and animal oils for more than a century. These oils now serve as the raw materials not only for biodiesel fuel, but also for a wide range of important chemical products including surfactants, solvents and lubricants.
“The increased demand and limited supply of these oils has resulted in competition with food, higher prices, questionable land-use practices and environmental concerns associated with their production,” Keasling says. “A more scalable, controllable, and economic alternative route to these fuels and chemicals would be through the microbial conversion of renewable feedstocks, such as biomass-derived carbohydrates.”
E. coli isa well-studied microorganism whose natural ability to synthesize fatty acids and exceptional amenability to genetic manipulation make it an ideal target for biofuels research. The combination of E. coli with new biochemical reactions realized through synthetic biology, enabled Keasling, Steen and their colleagues to produce structurally tailored fatty esters (biodiesel), alcohols and waxes directly from simple sugars.
“Biosynthesis of microbial fatty acids produces fatty acids bound to a carrier protein, the accumulation of which inhibits the making of additional fatty acids,” Steen says. “Normally E. coli doesn’t waste energy making excess fat, but by cleaving fatty acids from their carrier proteins, we’re able to unlock the natural regulation and make an abundance of fatty acids that can be converted into a number of valuable products. Further, we engineered our E. coli to no longer eat fatty acids or use them for energy.”
After successfully diverting fatty acid metabolism toward the production of fuels and other chemicals from glucose, the JBEI researchers engineered their new strain of E. coli to produce hemicellulases — enzymes that are able to ferment hemicellulose, the complex sugars that are a major constituent of cellulosic biomass and a prime repository for the energy locked within plant cell walls.
“Engineering E. coli to produce hemicellulases enables the microbes to produce fuels directly from the biomass of plants that are not used as food for humans or feed for animals,” Steen says. “Currently, biochemical processing of cellulosic biomass requires costly enzymes for sugar liberation. By giving the E. coli the capacity to ferment both cellulose and hemicellulose without the addition of expensive enzymes, we can improve the economics of cellulosic biofuels.”
The JBEI team is now working on maximizing the efficiency and the speed by which their engineered strain of E. coli can directly convert biomass into biodiesel. They are also looking into ways of maximizing the total amount of biodiesel that can be produced from a single fermentation.
“Productivity, titer and efficient conversion of feedstock into fuelare the three most important factors for engineering microbes that can produce biofuels on an industrial scale,” Steen says. “There is still much more research to do before this process becomes commercially feasible.”
This research was supported by funds from LS9, Inc., and the UC Discovery Grant program. LS9 is using synthetic biology techniques to develop patent-pending UltraClean™ fuels and sustainable chemicals. The UC Discovery Grant program is a three-way partnership between the University of California, private industry and the state of California that is aimed at strengthening and expanding California’s economy through targeted fields of research.

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Department of Energy DOE: Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy Peer Review Best Practices Workshop

In building, cleantech, Energy, entrepreneur, Environment, finance, greentech, maintech, Power Grid, Science, Solar, Sustainable, Technology, technology transfer, Venture Capital on January 27, 2010 at 11:10 pm

This Association of Public Land Grant Universities (APLU) sponsored event was designed to help DOE employees improve the grant review process. Had it been open to the public… it would have been of great interest to anyone trying to get government funding in the renewable energy arena.

It was a privilege to attend this event.

Jim Turner at the Association of Public Land Grant Universities (APLU) put on a stellar speaker panel and provided participants with the opportunity to meet the experts in the funding process. A select group of speaker presentations are listed below. One of the best featured speakers included D. Wayne Silby (Chair), Founding Chair of the Calvert Funds; Co-chair, Calvert Social Investment Foundation; Chair-elect and Principal, Syntao.com. Catherine Hunt, Dow, Director of Technology Collaboration Development was engaging and informative about finding practical solutions to industry problems.

The agenda and presentations are included below:

EERE Peer Review Best Practices Workshop
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
1307 New York Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20005
8:30 am Continental Breakfast

9:00 am Welcome : Peter McPherson, President, APLU

9:05 am Opening Remarks:Henry Kelly, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, DOE Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

9:15 am Keynote : Bill Bonvillian, Director of Federal Relations, MIT

9:45 am Peer Review Best Practices: Basic Science
Moderator: Jim Turner, Energy Programs, APLU

  • W. Lance Haworth, Director of Office of Integrative Activities, NSF
  • David T. George, Director, Office of Scientific Review, NIBIB, NIH
  • Linda Blevins, Senior Technical Advisor, Office of Science, DOE
  • Diana Jerkins, Interim Integrated Programs Director, Competitive Programs Unit, NIFA, USDA

11:15 am Peer Review Best Practices: Applied Research and Technology Development
Moderator: JoAnn Milliken, EERE

  • Marc Stanley, Deputy Director, NIST
  • Arun Majumdar, Director, ARPA-E
  • Julie A. Christodoulou, Director, Naval Materials Division, ONR
  • Lita Nelsen, Technology Licensing Office, MIT

12:30 pm Lunch

1:00 pm Peer Review Best Practices: Private Sector and Academic
Moderator: Jim Turner, Energy Programs, APLU

  • Catherine Hunt, Dow, Director of Technology Collaboration Development
  • Supratik Guha, Senior Manager, Semiconductor Materials and Devices,
  • Thomas J. Watson Research Center, IBM
  • Wayne Silby, Chairman, Calvert Special Equities
  • Mike Witherell, Vice Chancellor for Research, University of California at Santa Barbara and former head of Fermilab

2:15 pm Alternate Approaches to Peer Review

  • Ken Gabriel, Deputy Director, DARPA
  • Doug Comstock, Director, Innovative Partnerships Program, NASA

3:00 pm Public Comment Period

:: EERE Peer Review Best Practices Workshop Agenda
:: EERE Peer Review Best Practices Workshop Speaker Bios
Powerpoint Presentations
  1. :: Henry Kelly, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary,
  2. DOE Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy
  3. :: W. Lance Haworth, Director of Office of Integrative Activities, NSF
  4. :: Linda Blevins, Senior Technical Advisor, Office of Science, DOE
  5. :: Diana Jerkins, Interim Integrated Programs Director, Competitive Programs Unit, NIFA, USDA
  6. :: Marc Stanley, Deputy Director, NIST
  7. :: Julie A. Christodoulou, Director, Naval Materials Division, ONR

Clean Energy Week Events 2010 in Washington DC

In cleantech, Energy, Environment, greentech, Power Grid, Solar, Sustainable, Technology on January 25, 2010 at 10:10 pm

Complete list of events: http://www.cleanenergyweek.org/schedule.php

National Coalition of Organizations Create Clean Energy Week, Washington DC — February 1st – 5th, 2010

Organizations nationwide are joining together to maximize efforts to move clean energy to the forefront of national policy. Officially declaring February 1-5, 2010 as Clean Energy Week, a growing list of partners are working together to produce a high-impact week of powerful and effective activities and events.

Clean Energy Week, February 1-5, highlights:

  • February 1: Clean Energy Week Press Conference – Presented by ACORE, Alliance to Save Energy, and the Clean Economy Network. National Press Club, Holeman Room, 9:30am
  • February 1-5: NASEO State Energy Policy and Technology Outlook Conference
  • February 2-3: Business Advocacy Day for Jobs, Climate & New Energy Leadership – Clean Economy Network and Ceres’ Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy. More Information
  • February 3-5: RETECH 2010 Conference & Exhibition, Washington DC Convention Center
  • February 4: Finance Education Day by the U.S. Partnership for Renewable Energy Finance (US PREF)
  • February 4: Clean Energy Breakfast Roundtable – with Special Hill Guest Speaker. 8am (Clean Technology & Sustainable Industries Organization, Clean Economy Network and K&L Gates). Please contact CTSI or community@ct-si.org for an invite. Free with Invite
  • February 4: Renewable Energy Interactive Webinar (World Team Now) – 2:30-4pm. For more information and to register. Free Webinar
  • February 4: Buy Clean Energy 2010 Program Launch (Center for Resource Solutions). More information available! – Open Opportunity
  • February 4: A cutting-edge feed-in tariff that has the potential to transform New York State into a leading center for renewable-energy investment and job creation will be discussed in a public forum at the Cooper Union’s Great Hall in NYC at 6:30 p.m. http://www.nyses.org
  • February 5: Opportunities and Challenges for Renewable Energy in Latin America and the Caribbean (Latin American and Caribbean Council on Renewable Energy – LAC-CORE, Washington Convention Center: For more information and to register. Free Event

Partners Include:

Landfill Creates Fuel for Garbage Trucks in CA- What’s Maryland going to do about it?

In cleantech, Energy, entrepreneur, Environment, greentech, investment, Science, Sustainable, Technology on January 20, 2010 at 8:58 pm

  • Landfill Creates Fuel for Garbage Trucks
  • So Arnold Schwarzenegger has set the bar high for the other Governors and asked for zero emissions. T. Boone Pickens is answering the call and helping to provide natural gas to all bus and garbage trucks in California. Methane from garbage dumps is a source of dirty but clean local fuel.
    This begs the question- what is our state going to do about it?

    In my case- this means Maryland. Our Governor- Martin O’Malley is green and getting greener. Let’s see him learn from California’s example- don’t let politics get in the way. We have green initiatives- can’t we have the MTA switch to natural gas. If not- why not? The Federal government supports clean fuel and pays most of the bill for new buses. Why can’t ours be clean like California’s?

    LIVERMORE, CALIF. – Hundreds of trash trucks across California are rumbling down city streets using clean fuel made from a dirty source: garbage. The fuel is derived from rotting refuse that San Francisco and Oakland residents and businesses have been discarding in the Altamont landfill since 1980. Since November, the methane gas created from decaying detritus at the 240-acre landfill has been sucked into tubes and sent into an innovative facility that purifies and transforms it into liquefied natural gas.

    http://greenopolis.com – Altamont, California, best known for the Rolling Stones Gimme Shelter concert, now has a new claim to fame- passing gas. Only this time its all good. The Altamont Landfill and Resource Recovery Facility is now the worlds largest landfill to liquefied natural gas facility. With the innovative capture technologies in place, methane- a Greenhouse gas 23 times more potent than CO2- is being turned into a resource. The project represents cross sector collaboration with Waste Management, Linde, and the State of California.The captured methane is processed into liquefied natural gas that is powering 300 Waste Management trucks daily, realizing ultra low carbon emissions from the natural gas and saving all that petro diesel and fine particle pollution to boot. WM is hoping to harvest 13,000 gallons of this fuel a day for their fleet. This is a project grand in concept, innovative leadership and scale. Its a great example of once again closing the loop and transforming waste to resources. This approach will provide green jobs and cleaner air for California and the rest of us.

Clean tech gets big piece of venture-capital funding – USATODAY.com

In cleantech, Energy, entrepreneur, Environment, greentech, investment, Power Grid, Science, Solar, Technology, technology transfer, Venture Capital on January 13, 2010 at 12:44 pm

Clean tech gets big piece of venture-capital funding – USATODAY.com.

Venture-capital funding for clean-technology firms fell 33% in 2009 from the year before, but the sector fared better than others amid a dismal economy, data released Wednesday indicate.

More than $5.6 billion in venture-capital investment went to clean-tech firms — including solar, wind, energy efficiency, transportation and biofuels — last year, say preliminary data from market researcher Cleantech Group and finance firm Deloitte.

Total venture-capital investment has retreated to 2003 levels, but clean tech has reset only to 2007 levels, the Cleantech Group says. “It was a difficult year, but I see clean tech … as the best of the worst,” says Shawn Lesser, founder of finance firm Sustainable World Capital.

The money flow underscores that:

Clean tech has muscle. In 2004, the sector accounted for about 3% of venture-capital investment. That expanded to about 25% in 2009. The sector last year, for the first time, received more private venture capital than any other sector, including software, Cleantech Group says.

Efficiency and transportation are in. The top clean-tech recipient in 2009 was solar, which got 21% of it. But solar investment was down 64% from the previous year, while the transportation and energy-efficiency sectors had record years.

The drop for solar stems from several factors, including the big amounts of money needed to commercialize technologies, says Dallas Kachan, managing director of the Cleantech Group. Meanwhile, energy-efficiency firms — those concentrating on everything from lighting to green building materials — often need less money to bring products or services to market, may rely on more proven technologies and may pose less risk to investors. “They’re not reinventing the wheel,” Kachan says.

Last year, venture capital for transportation — for such things as electric cars and new battery technology — rose 47% to $1.1 billion. Investment in energy efficiency rose 39% to $1 billion.

North America may be slipping. The region is still dominant for clean-tech venture capital, but it’s getting a smaller share than it used to. Last year, North America received 62% of clean-tech venture-capital dollars, down from 72% in 2008, the Cleantech Group says. Europe and Israel took in 29% of 2009 dollars, up from 22% in 2008. That Europe and Israel increased their share of venture-capital funding may reflect the desire for investors to pursue less risky deals in markets where clean tech is already more widely deployed, Lesser says.

Test

In Technology on January 4, 2010 at 7:54 pm

Halima Aquino
Bolton Hill Consulting, Ltd.

MIT Press Reframing the Conversation on Energy and Climate

In cleantech, Energy, Environment, greentech, investment, Power Grid, Science, Sustainable, Technology on December 5, 2009 at 2:49 pm

MIT Press Reframing the Conversation on Energy and Climate.

If you have any trouble playing the video here- then press HERE

Bolton Hill Consulting assisted MIT Innovations editors to organize this educational event at the National Academy of Sciences. (Live Streaming & Video production provided by Alan Tone at Fimmaker etc).

Time For Change
Reframing the Conversation on Energy and Climate

A discussion on the occasion of the release of the Innovations journal special issue on energy & climate.

November 24, 2009
The National Academy of Sciences
Washington, D.C.

The solutions to our climate challenge aren’t just “out there,” they are right here-before your eyes, in your hands.
—John P. Holdren,
Science Adviser to the President of the United States, Introduction to Innovations 4:4 Energy for Change: Creating Climate Solutions

EVENT DESCRIPTION

The goal of this meeting was to contribute to reframing the conversation on energy and climate by illuminating opportunities inherent in the transition away from carbon intensity. The meeting focused on how technologies already in use can be combined with common-sense policies and 21st century modes of organization to create jobs, advance innovation, and enhance international cooperation. Led by the Science Adviser to the President of the United States, John Holdren, and informed by a year-long project on energy & climate at the National Academy of Sciences, the meeting was be organized into a set of forward-looking conversations respectively emphasizing opportunities for business, for the United States, and for the global community of nations.

Selected video highlights from Time for Change: Reframing the Conversation on Energy and Climate.

AGENDA

Panel #1: Building Change: The built environment and electric power service delivery video

Moderator:Ellen Vaughan, Environmental and Energy Study Institute .pdf

Panelist:Ralph Cavanagh, Natural Resources Defense Council .pdf

Panelist: James Turner, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities .pdf

Panelist: Henry Green, National Institute of Building Sciences .pdf


Panel #2: Driving Change: Transport and reduced oil consumption
video

Moderator:Philip Auerswald, George Mason University

Panelist:Judi Greenwald, Pew Center on Global Climate Change

Panelist: L. Jerry Hansen, United States Army

Panelist:William Drayton, Ashoka and Get America Working! .pdf


Panel #3: Legislating Change: U.S. policy options and directions
video

Moderator:Edward Maibach, George Mason University

Panelist:Richard Meserve, The Carnegie Institution

Panelist:Jason Grumet, Bipartisan Policy Center

Panelist:Bracken Hendricks, Center for American Progress


Introduction of Keynote Speaker

Philip Auerswald, George Mason University

Keynote Address video

John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to the President of the United States .pdf


Panel #4: Negotiating Change: International agreements and new institutional arrangements at a global scale
video

Moderator:William Bonvillian, MIT .pdf

Panelist:Thomas Schelling, University of Maryland .pdf

Panelist: Frank Alix, Powerspan Corp. .pdf

Panelist:Iqbal Quadir, MIT

Closing Address video

Rear Admiral Philip Hart Cullom, United States Navy


Concluding Remarks
video

William Bonvillian, MIT .pdf

Read William B. Bonvillian and Charles Weiss’s MIT Press Book: Structuring an Energy Technology Revolution

Subscribe to Innovations

Obama announced $3.4 billion in spending for the nation’s ‘smart’ power grid will help – washingtonpost.com

In Energy, Power Grid, Sustainable, Technology on October 28, 2009 at 10:55 am

How the ‘smart’ power grid will help – washingtonpost.com.

Published in the Washington Post

Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 28, 2009

President Barack Obama announced $3.4 billion in spending for the nation’s power transmission system Tuesday. White House economic adviser Jared Bernstein talks to The Associated Press about the new ‘smart’ electric grid. (Oct. 27) (The Associated Press)

Modernization investment will create jobs, Obama says

Video
President Barack Obama announced $3.4 billion in spending for the nation’s power transmission system Tuesday. White House economic adviser Jared Bernstein talks to The Associated Press about the new ‘smart’ electric grid. (Oct. 27)

ARCADIA, FLA. — President Obama stepped up his promotion of the job-creating potential of the $787 billion economic stimulus package Tuesday, announcing $3.4 billion in grants to improve the nation’s electrical grid.

The federal money will pay for “smart meters,” updated transformers and other devices to make the transmission of power more efficient and reliable. Obama called the grants the largest investment in energy-grid modernization in U.S. history.

“There’s something big happening in America in terms of creating a clean-energy economy,” he said.

Obama’s vision for changing energy habits and reducing U.S. dependence on fossil fuels, especially foreign oil, relies on establishing a national “smart grid”: an array of switches, sensors and computer chips that will be installed at various stages in the energy-delivery process.

But no less important to the administration are the job-creation aspects of the investments. With the nation’s unemployment rate at 9.8 percent and projected to rise, energy technology promises a bounty of new jobs.

The Commerce Department is scheduled to release estimates Thursday of economic growth for the third quarter of 2009, and for the first time in a year, forecasters say, the economy has expanded.

But job losses continue to plague the country, although not nearly as much as when Obama took office. That has left an opening for Republican critics, who have said that rising unemployment is evidence that the president’s economic policies are not working.

“We’ve seen a $4 trillion budget — $787 billion stimulus, $700 billion financial bailouts, health care, cap and trade [climate change legislation]. Everything seems to be more government, big government,” said Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.).

While many economists say the stimulus money has helped stabilize the economy, most voters think otherwise, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll. It found that 22 percent of Americans think the package has made the economy worse, while 35 percent say it has had no effect.

That sentiment is lending urgency to the administration’s efforts to stem unemployment and talk up the virtues of its economic approach.

On Tuesday, Vice President Biden celebrated plans to reopen a General Motors plant in Wilmington, Del., to produce long-range plug-in electric hybrid vehicles.

The plant has been purchased by luxury automaker Fisker Automotive, which plans to hire 2,000 workers to manufacture the cars, and estimates are that 3,000 other jobs will be created to support the operation. The undertaking is being financed by a $529 million Energy Department loan.

World Bank Development Marketplace Climate Adaptation Grant Recipients to be Announced November 10-13, 2009

In agriculture, Bioscience, Biotechnology, cleantech, Environment, greentech, Science, Sustainable, Technology on October 20, 2009 at 12:27 pm

The Development Marketplace is a competitive grant program administered by the World Bank. The 2009 global competition is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and additional DM partners. It aims to identify 20 to 25 innovative, early-stage projects addressing climate adaptation.

Open to the public: this year’s Climate Adaptation Grant Recipients will be announced on Nov 10-13, 2009

Development Marketplace – DM2009 – Climate Adaptation.

In 2008- twenty-two project winners collected their crystal awards and grant checks in the 2008 Global Development Marketplace: Sustainable Agriculture for Development:

The winners came from Sub-Saharan Africa, South and East Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean.  India, Mexico, Brazil, Ecuador, Cambodia, and Vietnam were each the home of two award winners.  Altogether, 15 countries and Sub-Saharan Africa as a region were represented.

The projects that made the final cut — from 1,800 applications that were winnowed down to 100 from 42 countries — promise to deliver a number of objectives and innovations to increase agricultural productivity, give farmers more land rights and link them to global markets, and, overall, reduce the deep poverty of rural regions in developing countries.

All the grants are $200,000 or less — but the World Bank Group and other funders of DM2008 see even the smallest projects having a catalyst effect on lagging agricultural development that has been undercutting gains in the global fight against poverty.

In her opening remarks, Katherine Sierra, Vice President of Sustainable Development at the World Bank, a DM2008 partner, complimented the winners on their “ambition and drive,” and said their innovation comes when it’s especially needed — amid the crisis of rising commodity prices.

“Today we meet to celebrate innovation,” said second speaker Monique Barbut, CEO of the Global Environment Facility, a competition partner.  “And the projects we are recognizing here do just that by supporting communities struggling with the agricultural challenges of the food price crisis.”

More compliments came from other speakers representing other partners — Mercy Karanja, Senior Program Officer of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Albert Engel, Head, Division for Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food at GTZ.

The winners that used technology are listed below: (listed by project, country, sponsoring organization, and objective):

1. Using Cassava Waste to Raise Goats, Nigeria, University of Agricultural, Abeokuta. To create a new market linking cassava producers and goat keepers through the introduction of a simple drying technology that will turn cassava waste into goat feed.  As a result, the project will increase farming incomes and reduce carbon dioxide wastes by eliminating the need to burn cassava waste.

2. Converting Rice Fields into Green Fertilizer Factories, Ecuador, Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral (ESPOL). To increase rice yields and reduce dependency on imported artificial nitrogen fertilizers through the re-introduction and cultivation of the Azolla Anabena plant as a biofertilizer.

3. Linking Coffee Farmers to Markets via Traceable Coffee, Sub-Saharan Africa, Pachama Coffee Cooperative of Small-scale coffee producers. To support small farmers to obtain a greater share of the value-added in coffee production through the introduction of an online tracking system that will allow end consumers to trace a specific coffee back to the level of the actual farm.

4. Mini Cold Storage Ventures, India, Tiruchirappalli Regional Engineering College- Science and Technology Entrepreneurs Park. To establish cold chain enterprises among trained youth using the latest technology in refrigeration adapted to the needs of small farmers.

5. Renewable Energy-Powered Milk Coolers, Uganda, University of Georgia, To test a reengineered milk cooling system to match the needs of smallholder dairy farmers, resulting in reduced post-harvest losses and increased farm income.

6. Micro-Franchising Scheme for Agricultural Services, Cambodia, International Development Enterprises Cambodia. To develop a sustainable micro-franchise enterprise to provide affordable horticulture services through private extension agents.

7. Açaí Production for Income Generation and Forest Protection, Brazil, Centro Ecológico. To provide technical services to a local cooperative of small scale farmers in the biodiversity-rich Atlantic Forests to harvest and market the açaí berry.

8. Value Chain Development for Textile Products, Mongolia, VSO. To increase the domestic value of livestock production through better marketing opportunities and services to raw material producers and processors.

9. Organoleptic Analysis to Improve Market Access for Cacao Growers, Ecuador, Conservación y Desarrollo. To equip cacao growers with access to chocolate making machinery so that they can better serve differentiated markets and improve the quality of their product.

10. Ancient Cocoa: Modern Genomics Methods Benefiting Small Farmers, Trinida and Tobago, Bioversity International. To enhance the cocoa value chain by facilitating the identification of more profitable trace cocoa cultivars using modern genomics methods.

11. Riverbed Farming for Landless Households in Nepal, Nepal, Helvetas. To facilitate the use of leasing arrangements for landless households to gain access to unused dry riverbeds for off-season cultivation of horticultural produce.

12. Collective Land Ownership Model for Women, India, Manav Seva Sansthan “SEVA.” To demonstrate the effectiveness of a collective land ownership model that provides women secured land holdings necessary for them to adopt more profitable modern farming practices.

13. Legal Aid for Farmers’ Land Rights, China, Rural Development Institute. To create the first legal aid center in China devoted to farmers’ agricultural land rights.

14. Land Ownership for the Rural Poor in Mexico, Mexico, Agros International.To create two sustainable farming communities in Chiapas through the long-term lease of land and provision of integrated technical services to landless farmers.

15. Producing Biofuel from Indigenous Non-Edible Nuts, Tanazania, Africa Biofuel and Emission Reduction Ltd. To cultivate and sell an indigenous oil-seed for biofuel from the Croton tree, creating a new, sustainable cash crop for smallholder farmers.

16. Locally Produced Biofuel Outboard Motor, Senegal, Mission Goorgoorlu. To introduce along Senegal’s waterways an affordable and environmentally friendly mode to transport agriculture products to market. The project is using traditional vessels powered by a locally produced biofuel outboard motor fueled by processed indigenous oil seeds.

17. Agricultural Cooperatives for Biodiversity Conservation, Cambodia, Wildlife Conservation Society. To pilot Cambodia’s first market for payment for environmental services generated from agriculture using a “Wildlife-friendly” branding and marketing strategy.

18. Reducing Impacts of Ranching on Biodiversity, Mexico, Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda. To pilot a payment scheme for a “gourmet” menu of integrated environmental services generated from intensive cattle operations in the biodiversity-rich area of San Antonio Tancoyol.

19. Sustaining Nitrogen-Efficient Rice Production, Vietnam, University of Sydney. To establish an integrated production-supply-extension chain to ensure a reliable biofertilizer product that reduces chemical contamination and increases yields.

20. Low-Cost Housing: Waste Rice Straw Construction Panels, Vietnam, Vinh Sang Ltd. To create a sustainable enterprise that manufactures kits for affordable environmentally sustainable housing made from recycled straw waste in the Mekong Delta.

22. Payment for Ecosystem Services and Sustainable Agriculture, Paraguay, Organization of American States. To implement in three pilot sites a menu of agro-forestry practices combined with a scheme of Payments for Ecosystem Services. This will be the first application of Paraguay’s Law of Ecosystem Services in the context of a rural farm economy.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Supports Sustainable Agricultural Development through Science & Technology

In agriculture, Bioscience, Biotechnology, Environment, finance, greentech, investment, Science, Sustainable, Technology on October 20, 2009 at 10:42 am

The following is taken from parts of the Gates Foundation’s website

Frequently Asked Questions About Agricultural Development – Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation support programs that will enable small farmers to break the cycle of hunger and poverty—to sell what they grow or raise, increase their incomes, and make their farms more productive and sustainable.
“We fund projects with partners who”:
  • Employ a collaborative and comprehensive approach.
  • Provide small farmers with the supplies and support they need to succeed.
  • Put women at the center of their work.
  • Help small farmers profit from their crops.
  • Use science and technology to develop crops that can thrive.

Updates on Funded Projects
During the original Green Revolution, overuse of fertilizer led to unanticipated environmental consequences. Today, we consider potential environmental impacts in all of our grantmaking, and are committed to a sustainable model of agriculture that takes into account the needs of both farmers and the environment. So while Africa’s severely depleted soils require fertilizer, we promote judicious and efficient uses of fertilizer, and more intensive use of organic matter. We also invest in efforts to improve soil and water conservation techniques.

Another unanticipated consequence of the original Green Revolution was increased inequity in some areas. Our work is focused on providing small farmers living on less than a dollar a day—most of whom are women—with tools and opportunities to lift themselves out of hunger and poverty. We and our grantees work to involve small farmers in the design and evaluation of our projects, to ensure that our work meets their needs and addresses the realities they face in their local areas.

Another difference is that the original Green Revolution focused primarily on raising the yields of two staple crops: rice and wheat. Africa’s diverse agroecological zones and varied conditions will require a much greater range of approaches, from boosting productivity in a wider range of crops to developing crops that are resistant to drought, disease, and pests. We are working to carefully understand the different needs of small farmers throughout the continent and are designing our efforts to respond to their specific circumstances.

This new Green Revolution is broad based and includes significant African leadership on a number of levels. We are working with a wide range of partners to strengthen the entire agricultural value chain—from seeds and soil to farm management and market access—so that progress is sustainable over the long-term. We are also working to involve and empower women—who are integral to success in agriculture—at every level of our work.

Q: Do you pay attention to the environmental impact of your agricultural grantmaking?

A: Yes—we consider potential environmental impacts in all of our grantmaking. Our approach is to support both poor farmers and the environment.Population growth and poor soil health in Africa have forced farmers to clear and cultivate more marginal lands, often leading to erosion, deforestation, and sometimes desertification. In Asia, the misuse of fertilizers and irrigation has caused large areas of land to be lost to acidification and salinization.

We understand these are not sustainable ways to produce food or preserve the environment. In revitalizing small-scale farm production we are funding approaches that support small farmers and are ecologically sound.

Q: Does the foundation promote the use of fertilizers?

A: Healthy soil is critical to farm productivity, and the judicious use of organic and mineral fertilizers can help small farmers prosper while preserving their land.We support AGRA’s Soil Health Program, which focuses on integrated soil fertility management as well as the use of fertilizers where necessary to provide important plant nutrients missing from the soil and from organic materials available to the farmer. We invest in information and knowledge-sharing to assist small farmers in using the right fertilizers in the right way to nourish their soil. We also invest in efforts to improve soil and water conservation techniques.

We are committed to sustainable agriculture, using farming supplies that farmers can afford and that take environmental needs into account.

Q: What is the foundation doing about climate change?

A: The foundation believes that climate change is a major issue facing all of us, particularly poor people in developing countries, and we applaud the work that many are doing to help find solutions in this area. While the foundation does not fund efforts specifically aimed at reducing carbon emissions, many of our Agricultural Development grants directly address problems that climate change creates or exacerbates. For example, we have made several grants to help small farmers who live on less than $1 per day adapt to increased drought and flooding through the development of drought and flood resistant crops, improved irrigation efficiency, and other means.