Exploring Bioenergy Sustainability

Photo of logs piled up in the woods.

Earth and Environmental Studies Professor Pankaj Lal has received a five-year, $450,000 National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development grant to explore sustainable bioenergy solutions in the Midwestern and Southern United States. The highly competitive award supports the research and education initiatives of faculty such as Lal who are in the early stages of their careers.

Lal’s research project, titled “Exploring Place-Based Opportunities for Bioenergy Sustainability,” will focus on place-based policy solutions that develop forest- and agriculture-based bioenergy as a fossil fuel alternative. His solutions will be based on analysis of factors such as location suitability, socioeconomic uncertainty and environmental impact.

The project’s strong educational component will also help strengthen the pipeline of young talent in STEM disciplines through research and student mentorship opportunities, as well as the development of new courses.

“I’m honored and excited to receive this prestigious award, which acknowledges that we are doing something special here at Montclair State in the study of the sustainability of renewable energy resources in general and bioenergy in particular,” says Lal. “The real-world value of this research makes it a worthwhile effort.”