Elliott Campbell, a professor in the UC Merced School of Engineering, has received the National Science Foundation's Faculty Early Career Development Award, through which he'll receive $407,588 over five years, the university said.
During that time he'll study the capacity of abandoned agricultural lands to generate crops used to produce biofuels.
Campbell's project will begin with a study that will calculate the total area of abandoned agricultural lands in the U.S. and Brazil. He will then use field tests, historical crop figures and remote sensing data to estimate how much biofuel could be produced using these lands. Finally, he will determine the amount of greenhouse gases emitted during the production and transportation of the biofuels to help determine the environment's net gain.
The mass production of biofuels would be one of the greatest possible steps toward eliminating the world's dependence on fossil fuels, the news release said.