Governor Greg Abbott today celebrated the launch by Texas Tech University of the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) Engineering Research Center for Advancing Sustainable and Distributed Fertilizer Production (CASFER) in Lubbock. Texas Tech received the largest grant in university history in August from the NSF for the CASFER Center to turn technology into sustainable solutions that impact agriculture, including research on fertilizer.
At the launch of the CASFER Center, Governor Abbott was joined by Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec and Dr. Gerri Botte, Professor and Chair of the Whitacre Department, Chemical Engineering, Whitacre College of Engineering at Texas Tech University .
“Today marks a major milestone in Texas Tech becoming one of America’s leading universities with this important grant from the National Science Foundation,” Governor Abbott said. “The research center will place Texas Tech at the forefront of fertilizer research to feed America’s future. Texans need to be able to grow their own food, make their own products, and create their own internal supply chain. The leadership of Texas Tech and the National Science Foundation is part of the process that makes us freer, stronger, and more empowered.
Engineering Research Centers (ERCs) represent the largest and most prestigious grants available from the NSF. In August, NSF announced that Texas Tech would be one of four new ERCs. Texas Tech will lead the center and will be joined by Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Case Western Reserve University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The United States currently imports between 20 and 30 percent of nitrogen-based fertilizers, with farmers spending almost a third of their operating costs on fertilizer. In his remarks at the launch of the CASFER Center, Governor Abbott noted that a 50% increase in fertilizer prices leads to a 40% increase in food prices.
CASFER’s vision enables resilient and sustainable food production by developing next-generation, modular, distributed and efficient technologies to capture, recycle and produce nitrogen-based fertilizers. The Center will work toward increased food security for the nation, reduced environmental impact of agricultural emissions, decreased U.S. dependence on foreign sources of nitrogen-based fertilizers and creating affordable and sustainable sources of nitrogen-based fertilizers for American farmers.
Learn more about the CASFER program here.