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University of South Florida Patel College of Global Sustainability is a member of a consortium awarded $15M by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to advance the US bioeconomy

September 28th, 2017
By: Samantha Miller


USF-PCGS principal investigator Dr. George Philippidis (right) with SPARC director and UF professor Dr. David Wright (left) and SPARC project manager Dr. Sheeja George (middle). (Photo courtesy of Dr. G. Philippidis)

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) just announced a $15 million award to a consortium of universities and companies, a member of which is USF's Patel College of Global Sustainability (PCGS) with Dr. George Philippidis as co-Principal Investigator.

The Southeastern Partnership for Advanced Renewables from Carinata (SPARC) will be pivotal in building a bioeconomy in the United States. It will develop regionally adapted Brassica carinata, a promising inedible oilseed plant of the mustard family, as the source of a new biofuels and bioproducts industry that will be deployed in the southeastern United States, including Florida. Oil derived from the seeds of carinata will be converted to renewable jet fuel for civil and military aviation. The seed biomass will serve as a source of high value renewable chemicals and animal feed.

SPARC, which includes the University of Florida (lead), the University of South Florida, the University of Georgia, Auburn University, and other institutions, Agrisoma Biosciences and Applied Research Associates (ARA) from the private sector, government agencies, and the aviation industry, will lead the 
sustainable commercialization of the entire supply chain of
carinata and the development of a green workforce for the new 


Carinata cultivated by farmers in the southeastern US in winter time under the direction of SPARC will be used to produce commercially renewable jet fuel, valuable chemicals, and animal feed for the US economy. (Photo courtesy of Dr. G. Philippidis)

Under the direction of Associate Professor George Philippidis, the USF subaward of $1.2M over the next five years will focus primarily on SPARC's extraction technologies for value-added chemicals from carinata and on green workforce development and integration. The project will engage several USF graduate students from various colleges and will utilize PCGS' state-of-the-art Biofuels & Bioproducts Lab.