RALEIGH — The N.C. Bioenergy Research Initiative and the New and Emerging Crops Program recently awarded $1 million in grants for 15 projects aimed at boosting bioenergy opportunities and crop production in the state.
The Bioenergy Research Initiative began in 2013, after the North Carolina General Assembly allocated funding. The initiative’s grants of $500,000 support the development of energy production from North Carolina agricultural and forest-based products.
The New and Emerging Crops Program began after the General Assembly approved it in 2018. By awarding $500,000 in grants, the program advances its mission of identifying potential new crops, value-added products and agricultural enterprises and providing the agricultural research, marketing support and education necessary to make these crops commercially viable and profitable for North Carolina’s growers and agribusinesses.
“These grants allow researchers to test possibilities for our state,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “In some cases, the grants mean our research stations can continue great work that’s already been underway, while in other cases they’ll be tackling brand new projects. Either way, I’m confident they show promise as profitable endeavors for our state’s agriculture industry.”
The grants include $80,738 to Appalachian State University’s Department of Sustainable Technology & the Built Environment to fund a two-year project titled Biochar with Anaerobic Digestion: Enhancing Crops. This project builds upon previous work by investigating the synergy between anaerobic digestion and biochar technologies and the potential for improved soil quality using biochar combined anaerobic digestate on Appalachia soils.