Cornell University has announced a five-year, $5 million gift to its Center for a Sustainable Future from entrepreneur Yossie Hollander and his family to support a research project designed to address energy needs in the developing world.
The project aims to help people in developing countries at risk of losing access to liquid fuels and other energy resources due to an increase in global demand for oil. Conducted by a multidisciplinary team of scientists, the project will focus on using slow pyrolysis — the thermal decomposition of organic material without the use of oxygen — to generate biofuels and biochar, a charcoal-like material. As part of the project, associate professor of soil science Johannes Lehmann, a leading authority on biochar, will travel to Kenya to establish and equip a village-scale pyrolysis facility.
Hollander is a member of the management committee of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, and a founding director of the Our Energy Policy Foundation, which works to foster a broad, nonpartisan dialogue on the topic of U.S. energy policy.
"These funds will be used to support a project of strategic importance to sustainability research at Cornell and of even greater importance to villages in poor countries, where small-scale pyrolysis can make a difference in local energy production and provide a path for survival in an oil-constrained world," said Center for a Sustainable Future director Frank DiSalvo. "This gift provides remarkable support for this project at a most critical point in its growth and development."