Cornell Initiative for Sustainable Bioenergy Crops (CISBC)

Program or topic

Cornell Initiative for Sustainable Bioenergy Crops (CISBC)

Department(s) or unit(s)

Dept. Plant Biology

Contact information

Dr. Jocelyn Rose
Director of the Cornell Initiative for Sustainable Bioenergy Crops (CISBC)
331 Emerson Hall
jr286@cornell.edu; 607-2554781

Program goals

The mission of the CISBC is to promote the development of effective long-term agroenergy cropping systems, which will require the collaboration of many plant science disciplines. These include, but are not limited to, breeding, physiology, pathology, genetics, biotechnology and ecology. In addition, this multidisciplinary consortium must engage with other fields of expertise, including process engineering and applied economics.

Brief description

A reduction in the dependence of society on fossil fuels is an increasingly urgent issue, and it seems certain that within a relatively short space of time, a portfolio of alternative renewable resources will play an important role in providing our energy needs. Bioenergy crops are considered an important part of this equation and a number of factors, including concerns about global climate change and energy security, have triggered political incentives to dramatically expand their use as sources of transportation fuel and industrial chemicals.

In the United States a number of ambitious targets have already been proposed, such as replacing 30% of the current petroleum with biomass-derived biofuels by 2030. To achieve such goals, or even to approach more modest targets, will require entirely new sustainable agroenergy systems, and these will inevitably present enormous technical and operational challenges, many of which are not yet appreciated.

Plant scientists thus have an immense task to make a significant contribution to this new bioenergy economy, whilst maintaining a reliable supply of food, feed and other plant derived materials to a growing population. Moreover, this must be formulated in a way that is sustainable and that has minimal environmental effects

Cornell University is poised to provide leadership in this complex multidisciplinary effort.

  • Cornell has world renowned breadth and excellence in plant sciences and related disciplines. The university’s diversity in applied and basic plant science research, linked to an extensive extension and outreach infrastructure, represents a powerful means to link cutting edge research with practical solutions in the field.
  • As New York’s land-grant university, Cornell has a long-standing tradition of bringing applied and basic science to bear on problems of local, national and international development.
  • Cornell is also one of few institutions in the world that is able to assemble so many physical and life scientists, engineers, and social scientists with the talent and motivation to create a sustainable, vital, bioenergy future.


Category: Agriculture/Farming, Bio-energy/-fuel/-gas, Bio-energy/biofuel crops, Energy

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