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Alternative energy research in universities or with university and corporate partnerships has been very effective. Decades of biomass and tree research conducted together by Florida State University and Shell Energy corporation have resulted in the planting of the vastest "Energy Crop Plantation" in all of the US. Through alternative energy research on the university level, a plantation has been created that spans about 130 acres while being home to more than 250,000 planted trees including eucalyptus (which are non-invasive) and cottonwoods (native to the area) along with various row crops such as soybeans. This bringing together of "super trees" happened as a result of the University's alternative energy research with other parties including Shell, the Common Purpose Institute, US Department of Energy, and groups of sundry individuals who are interested in alternative energy research into energy sources that are not dependent on fossil fuels for our civilization's future. Alternative energy research undertaken by the University is focused on the creation of of biomass energy supplies from rapid-growth crops which is called "closed loop biomass" or just "energy crops". The research looks for ways to develop "power plants" like wood-fiber or wood-pulp providing plants; clean biogas for industries to use; plants like surgarcane that can be used for the development of ethanol; and crops like soybeans for use in biodiesel fuel production.

University involvement in alternative energy research also has a place at Penn State University. The alternative energy research here is focused on the development of hydrogen power, which is envisioned by many as one of the most practical alternative energy sources. Those who are doing this research at Penn State University believe that civilization is moving toward an economy that will be based on hydrogen fuel because of the need to reduce air polluting emissions while finding alternative sources of energy to that of petroleum to drive the engine of the United States. Hydrogen energy is clean burning and it can be endlessly renewed due to the fac that it can be taken up from water and crop plants. Hydrogen power is looked to as a sustainable energy resource and one that can be uncovered within the United States' infrastructure as the world's supply of affordable oil reaches its peak and then declines, driving up its cost. The University through its alternative energy research desire to further the commercial development of hydrogen powered fuel cells. These would be usable in conjunction with or in place of combustion engines to power our vehicles.

Not too long ago, President Bush announced his alternative energy initiative. He determined that the federal government would create five "Sun Grant" centers for concentrated alternative energy research. Oregon State University was honored by being made one of these centers. OSU has been allocated government grants of $2 million for each of the next four years so that it can pursue its alternative energy research. The Univeristy will be the leading center for researching alternative energy while it symbolizes the energy interests of the Pacific Islands, the United States' Pacific Territories, and nine western states. University President Edward Ray says, "The research being conducted through OSU's Sun Grant center will contribute directly to our meeting President Bush's challenge for energy independence." Those projects concerning alternative energy that the University's various teams of scientists are pursuing include figuring out how to efficiently convert organic materials like straw into sources for renewable biomass fuels and the study of how to efficiently get liquid fuel from wood fibers.

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