LONG BEACH, Calif., Jan. 6, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, Global Clean Energy Holdings (OTCBB:GCEH) announced the establishment of a new non-profit research organization: The Center for Sustainable Energy Farming (www.CfSEF.org). The Center's mission is to perform cutting-edge plant science research in genetics, breeding and horticulture, and further develop technologies to allow for the economic commercialization and sustainability of energy farms globally. The Center will initially focus on Jatropha curcas, a promising 2nd and 3rd generation biodiesel and bio-jet fuel feedstock species.
Research at the Center will be focused on increasing agricultural production; creating a sustainable feedstock supply; reducing inputs including the use of fossil fuel, pesticides, water and fertilizer, and developing new and sustainable biofuels. In furtherance of the P3 (People, Planet, & Profit) concept, the Center's work will strive to improve the quality of life of the farming communities, and preserve and renew the environment through the application of plant science and biotechnology, while generating sustainable profits for the farmers and other stakeholders.
Dr. Mark Guiltinan, Professor of Plant Molecular Biology and Director of the Plant Science Center at the Huck Institute of Life Sciences at The Pennsylvania State University, will serve as the Center's Chief Scientific Officer. "It is our vision that this Center will help facilitate the development of industry and scientific partnerships, and provide a common research platform from which a new generation of sustainable biofuels can be produced," Guiltinan remarked. "To develop truly sustainable biofuel feedstock production systems, it will take the coordinated efforts of scientists with expertise in a wide array of interdisciplinary fields such as plant genetics and breeding, entomology, soil sciences, agronomy, plant pathology, environmental and social sciences as well as agricultural technologies." Initially, the Center will focus on Jatropha curcas as a feedstock species for the development of the model bioenergy farms of the future. "Jatropha is of particular interest for its high quality oil and suitability for production of renewable fuels, and it holds a tremendous potential for future improvements," said Dr. Guiltinan. "This could be one of the first crops domesticated and improved using the techniques and tools of modern genomics."
Jatropha is a non-food crop that is indigenous to Mesoamerica, and attempts have been made to commercially propagate the species in several tropical locations. "While the plant is capable of growing on marginal soils with minimal inputs of agrichemicals, fertilizers and water; to produce the level of yield that is needed to make it viable and scalable, it needs to be grown in a commercial setting and professionally managed," said Richard Palmer, CfSEF's Chief Executive Officer. He added: "To become mainstream commodities, bio-feedstocks need to be economically sustainable without government subsidies. This cannot be accomplished through plant genetics alone; it requires a comprehensive, systems approach. This is not a competition between geneticists; it is a global problem that needs a collaborative solution. We formed the Center to provide a platform to facilitate that collaboration and to leverage on research efforts that have already accomplished by ourselves and others."
The Center's goal is to triple Jatropha farming productivity (yield) within ten years, while significantly reducing inputs. These improvements will be accomplished through a combination of plant biotechnology, focused breeding, agronomic research, and improved horticultural technologies and practices. This will result in leading-edge growing methods that are environmentally friendly. "We feel this is an attainable goal, considering the successes with other crops, which have achieved large production increases through genomics and structured breeding programs," says Dr. Siela Maximova, Research Associate Professor at Penn State University and the Center's Director of Research. "Scientists from the Horticulture Department at Penn State have been working with this plant for a number of years and have contributed to the establishment of a Field Research Station with Global Clean Energy Holdings on their commercial farm in Mexico. This field station will be instrumental to the Center for the practical application of its research work. We are very excited about the short and long-term potential of this plant."
The Center has received initial funding through its industry partner, Global Clean Energy Holdings, Inc. and a significant grant from a leading global industrial company. The Center will continue to seek additional funding from new industry partnerships, and donations from private and public agencies supporting plant science, international agricultural, energy and social development projects.
The Center recently entered into a Master Research Agreement with The Pennsylvania State University ("Penn State") and plans to offer grants to interdisciplinary collaborating scientists and research institutions. Global Clean Energy Holdings, Inc. will continue to promote this research by supporting the field research station already established in Mexico to be used by the Center.
About The Pennsylvania State University:
Penn State is a multi-campus public research university that educates students from Pennsylvania, the nation and the world, and improves the well-being and health of individuals and communities through integrated programs of teaching, research, and service. Its' instructional mission includes undergraduate, graduate, professional, and continuing education offered through both resident instruction and online delivery. Its' research, scholarship, and creative activity promote human and economic development, global understanding, and progress in professional practice through the expansion of knowledge and its applications in the natural and applied sciences, social sciences, arts, humanities, and the professions. As Pennsylvania's land-grant university, it engages in collaborative activities with industrial, educational, and agricultural partners here and abroad to generate, disseminate, integrate, and apply knowledge that is valuable to society. More information regarding Penn State University can be found at http://www.psu.edu/.
About Global Clean Energy Holdings:
Global Clean Energy Holdings, Inc. is an emerging renewable agri-energy company focused on the production of non-food based feedstocks used as replacement for fossil fuels. More information regarding Global Clean Energy Holdings, Inc. can be found at www.gceholdings.com
Global Clean Energy Holdings, Inc. Merilee Myers