Biofuels are a broad assortment of fuels that in one way or another come from renewable biomass. With oil price increases, depletion of petroleum reserves, and a need for energy independence, renewable biofuels are gaining increased public and scientific attention.
Biodiesel is currently made from animal fat and vegetable oils through a process called transesterification. Often it is made from recycled grease, but these oil sources are limited, and new more efficient methods of renewable oil and hydrocarbon production are needed.
At Montana State University, our students and faculty are working with a number of federal agencies and private industry to develop advanced methods for third generation renewable biofuels that will lead the way to increased energy independence. Specifically, our interdisciplinary research is focused on discovery, growth, and characterization of novel microbial strains and on developing a fundamental understanding of the metabolic machinery that leads these organisms to produce renewable fuels and feedstocks.