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Animal manure can contribute to Hawaii’s net zero energy goals

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two smiling men
From left: Samir Khanal and Tomoaki Miura

Help Hawaii achieve net zero energy by 2045, two researchers from the University of Hawaii at Mānoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) received a $150,000 Western Region Sun Grant to evaluate how bioenergy produced from bioresources such as agricultural residues and animal manures through anaerobic digestion can significantly contribute to renewable energy use in the state.

Samir Khanal of the Department of Molecular Biological Sciences and Bioengineering and Tomoaki Miura of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management plan to develop the first comprehensive geodatabase of available biological resources in the Hawaiian Islands and assess their potential for bioenergy production.

students in the laboratory
Graduates from CTAHRDepartment of Molecular Biology and Bioengineering.

“The Biofuels Atlas of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a valuable tool for identifying areas rich in raw materials, does not have specific data for HawaiiKhanal said. “Given the decentralized nature of biological resources in the Hawaiian Islands, it is essential to develop a comprehensive map of bioenergy resources.”

Khanal and Miura will connect geographic information system (GIS) modeling based on bioconversion data. The database will be an interactive online tool providing relevant information encouraging the use of distributed anaerobic digestion technology.

“We will collect field data from all four main islands and hire GISbased on analysis to map the bioenergy potential of agricultural residues and animal waste in the Hawaiian Islands,” Miura said. “This information is critical to resource management and strategic planning of the size and location of processing plants to maximize economic and environmental benefits for the state.”

More awards for Khanal and Miura

Khanal was appointed editor-in-chief Bioresource Technology, reflecting its achievements in the field of biological waste treatment/bioconversion and bioenergy. The journal is considered a first-class journal and ranks first in the field of agricultural engineering, receiving almost 10,000 manuscripts annually.

Miura was recently named a 2023 Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAA) in the biological sciences department. Miura was awarded for outstanding and lasting contributions to the application of advanced remote sensing technology in agriculture, conservation biology and ecology.

“Tomoaki is highly respected by his peers and colleagues, and we are delighted to recognize him for his extraordinary achievements across disciplines,” he said AAAA he wrote.

For more information, see CTAHRwebsite.