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 BioEnergy and Sustainable Technology Lab

In the BioEnergy and Sustainable Technology (BEST) Lab in the Soil and Water Sciences Department at the University of Florida, we investigate and develop bioremediation techniques for agricultural and industrial wastes, with emphasis on the microbial and environmental factors influencing biodegradation. The current focus includes livestock waste management technology for odor control, energy production, nutrient recovery and water quality improvement.

We offer opportunities for undergraduate students to participate in experiential learning through individual research projects and internships in the lab and hands-on field work in the Student Compost Cooperative facilities and gardens.

Biogas - A Renewable Biofuel

This website is dedicated to increasing understanding of biogas production and utilization and how it can fit into sustainable energy production. One may find information on the nature of biogas, the various types of feedstocks available, the various types of anaerobic digestion processes, and the types of final utilization technologies.

BioEnergy Summer School (BESS)

The Bioenergy Summer Internship Program is sponsored by the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, with funding from the IFAS Dean of Research. The intent of this program is to introduce undergraduates to bioenergy research and foster interest in future graduate studies.

Through a paid internship, students are provided with an opportunity to learn about current trends in bioenergy and participate in basic and applied research related to bioenergy. The program includes a combination of lectures, field trips, seminars, discussion sessions, and group/individual research projects.

Undergraduate Research Experiences

In addition to research projects completed during the Bioenergy Summer Internship Program, the BEST Lab has provided opportunities for undergraduate students to conduct research as McNair Scholars and University Scholars.

Student Compost Cooperative

The Student Compost Cooperative (SCC) is a cross-disciplinary outreach program dedicated to promoting sustainability at the campus and community level. The SCC maintains several composters to give students a place to compost their food waste, and a garden area for them to use the compost they create. The SCC encourages and trains students, faculty, and staff at the University of Florida and the Gainesville community to compost their food waste and to appreciate the value of recycling by turning this waste into natural fertilizer.

Research and Applications of Sustainable Technologies

A range of projects have been conducted at the BEST Lab, including both research and implementation of bioenergy and sustainable technologies. Examples of projects have involved bioremediation of landfill leachate, anaerobic digestion, algal cultivation, diverting food waste from landfills and biodigesters for developing countries.

UF and Community Outreach

The BEST Lab provides facility tours and demonstrations of biogas generation and usage, composting, rainwater harvesting, algal cultivation and related sustainable technologies for UF class field trips. Primary school field trips have also toured the lab.