Grant: $21,000,000 - Department of Energy - Sep. 1, 2009
86% voted satisfied - 14% voted not satisfied - 14 vote(s) cast
Award Description: Lignocellulose is the major structural material of plant bodies and constitutes the enormously important biorenewable resource used to make building materials, paper, textiles and many polymer derivatives. At the nanoscale lignocellulose is a highly versatile composite of three complex biopolymers, namely, crystalline nm-scale fibrils of cellulose which are linked together by less-ordered polysaccharides (such as xylans) and embedded in lignin, a complex and heterogeneous phenolic macromolecule. Despite its huge economic importance, many aspects of lignocellulose structure and formation remain shrouded in mystery. For instance, little is known of the details of how the cellulose-synthesizing nano-machine at the cell surface links simple sugar molecules into long strands and extrudes them at the cell surface in such a way that they make a strong, insoluble and highly inert crystalline fibril. In addition to its current economic importance as a biomaterial, lignocellulose is also the largesi store of renewable solar energy on Earth. DOE recently established three centers to develop cellulosic biomass into an economic transportation fuel. The fundamental knowledge and technical expertise to be developed by the Center is essential for designing novel ways to manipulate plant cell walls, an important step in unlocking the energy-rich cell wall for the next generation of sustainable biofuels and for creating new cellulosic biomaterials with diverse economic applications. Additionally, the understanding of how nature creates this most versatile of biocompo sites could be used to create new composites based on different polymers.
Project Description: The aims of these centers complements our proposed center, which is focussed the physical structure of lignocellulose at the nano scale and the rules and principles by which this material is created by plants and bacteria. The work of the proposed center is organized around three basic questions: (1) How does the cellulose synthase complex produce the cellulose microfibril? (2) What are the physicochemical interactions among cell wall components that lead to a strong network and what are the steps in their assembly? (3) How do macro-scale properties of cell walls (mechanics, porosity, thermal properties, etc.) emerge from nano-scale properties of cell wall components? The proposed center is comprised of a unique mix of plant and microbial molecular biologists, chemists, physicists, material scientists, engineers and computational modelers who will work in teams to tackle key questions of lignocellulose structure and formation, using both experimental and theoretical (including computational) approaches, with active interactions between the groups.
Jobs Summary: Nothing to report currently. (Total jobs reported: 0)
Project Status: Not Started
This award's data was last updated on Sep. 1, 2009. Help expand these official descriptions using the wiki below.