Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Renewable Energy Technology Options Program:Engineering Biomass with Processing Traits(ST8205-1)

Agrivida Inc.


A major cost hurdle in converting biomass into ethanol and other products is converting the plant matter into sugars. While corn starch is easily converted to sugar, less-expensive cellulosic biomass requires either expensive enzymes or other costly pre-processing. Agrivida is a biotechnology company that hopes to engineer willow and other non-food crops so they grow their own enzymes. This innovation relies on the ability to control the timing of enzyme function so plant growth is not disrupted. Rather, the enzymes do not activate until the biomass is processed.

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Project Description

The goal of the project was to develop crops that are more easily refined into bio-based fuels, products, or chemicals.


Successful implementation could reduce biomass conversion costs by 30% and therefore positively impact every downstream processing step.

Project Results

Stage One objectives included identifying strategic New York partners, discussions with the Salix Consortium, NY agricultural trade groups, such as the New York Corn Growers Association, and universities including land-grant institutions, evaluating the feasibility of a NYS office, and further product development by designing DNA amplification sequences. Stage Two objectives, if funded, would include further partnership and technology development. The project recently received Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funding.


Agrivida Inc.
200 Boston Ave., Ste 2975
Medford, MA 02155

Principle Investigator

Michael Raab

Universities Involved


Project Type:

Indigenous/Renewable Energy Resources

Technologies Types:

NYSERDA Contact Information

Judy Jarnefeld


R&D - Environment & Energy Res

Contract Details

Start Date: 1/11/2010
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST8205-1

Last Updated: 12/1/2010