Every year, AURI helps dozens of businesses and entrepreneurs develop ag-based products, move technology into real-world applications and improve their likelihood of success.

But equally important to AURI’s mission are industry-wide initiatives that investigate emerging value-added opportunities. These projects are identified through stakeholder meetings and attention to budding trends.

“To see around corners we need to take advantage of the eyes of our working partners,” says Michael Sparby, AURI project director. “What they see happening in their industry, combined with our expertise and observations, helps us to see what possibilities are developing.”

Unlike proprietary projects, information from AURI initiatives is public and meant to be shared with those who could benefit.

2010 Initiatives Include:

Biomass lignin content effect on densification – Identify lignin, cellulose and hemi-cellulose content of various biomass materials and the content’s relationship to densification potential, specifically for pelleting biomass.

Natural and organic meat product requirements – Develop informational materials on natural and organic meat production requirements for processors and others interested.

Agricultural industry and urban outreach – Educate the urban consumer on safe food-handling techniques and the role we all play in assuring a safe and wholesome end product.

Oligosaccharide assessment validation – Validate the benefits of using low-oligosaccharide soybean meal in swine and turkey diets.

Assessment of carbon sequestration – Assess the soil amendment value of various carbon materials from direct combustion and gasification. Evaluate different application rates and the short and long term benefits of returning carbon to the soil.

BQ-9000 certification of biodiesel laboratory testing – Offer direct and timely support to the biodiesel industry including new plant start-up assistance and troubleshooting.

Sustainable switchgrass and cordgrass – Determine fertilization requirements for switchgrass and cordgrass, and evaluate switchgrass varieties for Northwest Minnesota.

Lactose analytical quality testing methods – Assist dairy industry in developing a biosensing method to quantify lactose blood-glucose meters. This will improve the the dairy industry’s ability to monitor lactose in dairy ingredients and products.

Membrane biofilms – Evaluate membrane properties and cleaning systems designed to prevent biofilm processing during membrane processing.

Local foods distribution systems – Examine supply and demand capacity of the local food system, bottlenecks that disrupt the system and potential solutions.

Organic and natural feed markets – Develop a guide for organic and natural feed suppliers to help connect them to producers.

Investigating drying technologies for post-digester solids – Identify and evaluate economical and practical solutions for drying postdigester solids.

Summary of the state of biofuel production technology in Minnesota – Report on planned or implemented technology for ethanol production around the state. Beside basic wet and dry milling processes, look at efforts to reduce carbon footprints, develop cellulosic ethanol and other technological advances.

Butanol diesel blends – Evaluate the performance and emissions of butanol fuel blends in modern diesel and gasoline engines. Butanol may reduce particulate-matter emissions while maintaining superior cold-flow properties.

Farm-scale energy generation with hydrous ethanol – Collaborate with industry to develop a portable generator optimized to use high-ethanol blends.

Crop residue valuation template – Develop a template that allows anyone to calculate the financial value of crop residues such as corn stover and wheat straw.

Biomass air emission profile – Develop a biomass emissions profile to reduce permitting time and expense, which may allow more renewable energy projects to be implemented in Minnesota.

Biomass crop establishment – Determine best methods to establish prairie cordgrass and wild rye for biomass energy production in northwestern Minnesota.