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    Aerial Imaging and Remote Sensing for Precision Agriculture and Environmental Stewardship &
    Air-propelled Instrumented Robotic Sensory Platforms for Assateague Coastline Environmental Studies

  • Bio-fuels, Renewable Energy, and Carbon Sequestration

    The environmentally friendly paradigm of the Precision Agriculture project is synergistic with the “green” initiatives of UMES and University System of Maryland (USM) and has led to experiential learning and research efforts to produce bio-diesel from a variety of feedstock including different species of algae, soybean grown in UMES farm, as well as processing waste (used) cooking oil from campus dining services. Processed bio-diesel will be used to run farm equipment and other campus vehicles that currently use conventional petroleum diesel. Bio-diesel production from used cooking oil is already underway at UMES and a used cooking oil bio-diesel processing unit has been installed in a suitable facility. The bio-diesel produced from the facility is being made use of by some of the farm equipment utilized in the “Precision Agriculture” project. With funding from USDA Capacity Building Grant (CBG) program and under the supervision of the project leaders the students are coordinating the entire logistics of this rather complex operation involving dining services, physical plant, and farming staff. Project leaders envision the bio-diesel facility to be powered entirely by clean energy from wind, solar, bio-diesel generator, and other innovative renewable sources in the future, and provide an experiential learning and research platform for the students. 
    Use of carbon neutral bio-diesel instead of petroleum diesel with the farm equipment and carbon sequestration efforts that have been initiated to grow algae using exhaust gases from steam generation plants (used for heating) will reduce the carbon foot print of the campus consistent with the “green initiative” mandate of USM chancellor which is also reflected in the strategic plan of UMES president ( 
    UMES is also partnering with Cornell (Lead) and several other universities to advance a national K-16 bio-energy education effort ( with support from USDA-AFRI program. UMES component of the effort is co-directed by faculty in natural sciences and engineering, and involves faculty and students from all STEAM majors at UMES.