Research Summary and Future Focus
Overview: In a world of continuing population growth and GDP, with limited natural resources and environmental concerns, the need for the development of sustainable energy and materials has never been as compelling. Ragauskas’ research efforts are directed translational biorefining studies to address
these needs in collaboration with leading researchers at ORNL, UTK, and UTIA and strategic partnerships both in this nation and internationally. His vision for the Governor’s Chair position is to focus on fundamental research that allows him to establish the science underlying the goal of making Clean Energy, Chemicals and Bio-Derived Materials accessible and affordable. This vision is focused on four primary areas, 1) addressing the affordability of biofuels by increasingly focusing on biomaterials and new fuels, 2) expanding our work on identification of gene function in plants from a biofuels emphasis to a material focus that links to the biorefinery, 3) developing new biomass characterization tools, and 4) developing the ‘technology space’ for multifunctional bio-derived systems engineered at the nano-scale to provide unique smart physical properties.