CLEMSON — Clemson University research and technology projects will receive nearly $4 million from federal appropriations this year.

The projects range from construction of a biofuels research plant to connecting South Carolina’s research universities to the national high-speed network called the National LambdaRail.

The appropriations total $3,953,750.

Five projects or programs received appropriations, including the Clemson University Cyberinstitute, advanced photonics research, the biofuels research plant, peach tree disease and fruit tree genetics research and the Advanced Materials Incubation Center.

“This federal investment supports research and economic development efforts that will benefit all South Carolinians,” Clemson University President James F. Barker said. “Clemson would like to thank the members of the South Carolina delegation for their vision and their support.”

Clemson University Cyberinstitute
The Cyberinstitute will link South Carolina to university researchers, industry partners and technology entrepreneurs throughout the nation.

“The Cyberinstitute will help Clemson, including CU-ICAR, link to all public universities across the state and connect to a nationwide backbone of world-class university research,” said Rep. Bob Inglis.

Advanced photonics research
Clemson’s Center for Optical Materials Science and Engineering Technologies (COMSET) focuses on developing novel optical materials. Photonics-based technologies are used in a wide array of everyday products, including DVD players, long-distance communication and garage door sensors.

“Over the course of this research in new photonic materials for communications, defense and sensing systems, it has not just generated new advanced materials and structures, but led to the creation of two South Carolina-based companies and has helped build the instrumental infrastructure that led two companies to relocated to Anderson County,” said John Ballato, Clemson’s associate vice president for research and economic development and a COMSET founder.

Cellulosic biofuels pilot plant
Researchers at the biofuels research plant at the Clemson University Restoration Institute in North Charleston will develop ways to economically convert plant materials into fuel and help reduce the nation’s dependence on fossil fuels.

“More so than any state in the union, South Carolina has the resources necessary to establish itself as the leader in new energy development,” said Rep. Gresham Barrett. “By continuing research on new energy options, South Carolina not only helps the nation become less dependent on foreign oil, but also empowers our state, our people and our economy.”

Inglis said, “The research Clemson is doing with biofuels and renewables will help us solve the energy challenges that our state and country are facing. The proposed cellulosic biofuels pilot plant could help eliminate the fuel-versus-food issue associated with corn-based ethanol.”

Peach tree short life and fruit tree genetics research
Clemson researchers are working to identify genes and control resistance to such diseases as peach tree short life, Armillaria root rot and plum pox virus that cause serious economic harm to the peach industry. They also are studying genes that control chilling requirements in trees and their winter dormancy and a series of genes important to fruit quality and human health.

Advanced materials incubation center
To be located at the Advanced Materials Center in Anderson County, the incubator will provide space for advanced materials-related start-up companies and “landing parties,” companies exploring the viability of locating new businesses or relocating existing businesses in the area.

Ballato called it “a critical link in the chain connecting research and economic development.”