A group of students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has received a $5,000 research grant from BP to study the physical properties of biomass. "Although we know engineering properties of many materials, we need to understand how to handle biomass in a practical manner to utilize it as energy," said Luis Rodriguez, a professor in UIUC's department of agricultural and biological engineering. The study will first concentrate on regional grasses such as miscanthus and switchgrass, before moving to plants from outside the region, including willow, sugarcane, poplar and other woody biomass.

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