Colorado State University Clean Energy Supercluster Announces 2011 Seed Grants

Colorado State University’s Clean Energy Supercluster has distributed its fourth round of seed grants totaling $181,800 to foster cross-disciplinary collaboration and jumpstart ambitious research initiatives.

More than 150 researchers across campus participate in the academic side of the Clean Energy Supercluster on everything from economics and policymaking to new energy sources.

“Each grant award was carefully chosen by a great team of researchers already working in the area of clean energy,” said Bryan Willson, director of the Clean Energy Supercluster, which is a group of faculty members studying various aspects of clean energy.

“These researchers are at the top of their fields, and we are looking forward to seeing their results from these early-stage projects that otherwise struggle to find funding from other sources,” said Tim Reeser, executive director for Cenergy, the business arm of the Supercluster that assists faculty members with possible commercialization of technological innovations.

Reeser works closely with Willson, who is also chief scientific officer of Cenergy. For more information about the Clean Energy Supercluster, visit

The following 12 projects span six colleges and 12 departments that include 26 faculty, community members and students:

Biofuels and Emerging Technology

Is Green Diesel Healthy Diesel? ($15,000)
Researchers: John Volckens, Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences, and Anthony Marchese, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Optimizing Biofuel Feedstocks ($14,940)
Researchers: Jan Leach, Courtney Jahn and Paul Tanger, Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management

Solid Biomass Fuels R&D Infrastructure ($10,000)
Researchers: Morgan DeFoort, Dan Olsen and Dan Zimmerle, Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory; and Department of Mechanical Engineering

Pre-activation of Stress Response Genes in Industrial Bioethanol Yeast Strains Through Modulation of Gene Expression ($15,000)
Researcher: Lucas Argueso, Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences

Multi-locational Trial for Potential Release of Advanced and Drought Tolerant Camelina Lines ($25,000)
Researchers: Jerry Johnson and Patrick Byrne, Department of Soil and Crop Sciences; John McKay, Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management; and Dan Olsen, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Development of a Reporter System for Cell Wall Proteins in Lignocellulosic Biomass ($10,000)
Researcher: Patricia Bedinger, Department of Biology

Solar, Wind, and Efficiency

Plasma Fuel Reformer for Oil Furnaces ($15,000)
Researchers: Sachin Joshi and Azer Yalin, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Verification of Complexity in Design of Distributed Microgrid Islands ($25,000)
Researchers: Siddharth Suryanarayanan, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; and Sanjay Rajopadhye, Department of Computer Science

Cross-Cutting Topics

CSU Extension Agricultural Energy – Regional Workshops for Producers and Professionals ($9,800)
Researchers: Cary Weiner, Perry Cabot and Jeanna Paluzzi, CSU Extension

State-Local Relations and the Transition to a Low Carbon Society ($24,930)
Researchers: Michele Betsill and Dimitris Stevis, Department of Political Science

Orientation of Fort Collins Homeowners toward Adoption of Photovoltaics ($10,000)
Researchers: Craig Trumbo, Department of Journalism and Technical Communication, and Sammy Zahran, Department of Economics

The diffusion of distributed PV solar: Socio-cultural Drivers and Barriers ($7,200)
Researchers: Tuba Ustuner, Department of Marketing, and Douglas Holt, Center for Fair and Alternative Trade