On Wednesday, September 28, 2023, officials gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony for the new greenhouse that will support CABBI research at the construction site located at 1902 South Fourth Street on the Research Park campus.
CABBI is a $252.5M U.S. Department of Energy-funded Bioenergy Research Center. It aims to provide the scientific discoveries and new technologies to develop an economically viable and ecologically sustainable domestic biofuel and bioproducts industry from dedicated bioenergy crops.
The greenhouse was designed with energy efficiency at the forefront and will create research and teaching opportunities for faculty and students across three colleges, including: the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES), the Grainger College of Engineering, and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS).
The planned structure will feature a solar panel array, a plant phenotyping facility, and walk-in growth rooms, plus room for potential future expansion.
“It will benefit an incredibly diverse group of people — from experts in gene editing and plant physiology to artificial intelligence and crop breeding — as they work together to develop a profitable and sustainable future for agriculture in Illinois and the Midwest,” said CABBI director Andrew Leakey.
Undergraduates will also benefit through CABBI’s Research Internship in Sustainable Bioenergy (RISE), targeted at students from backgrounds underrepresented in STEM fields, Leakey added.
Remarks at the ceremonial groundbreaking were given by Leaky, Susan Martinis (Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation), and Laura Appenzeller (University of Illinois Research Park Executive Director).
The state-of-the-art greenhouse is expected to be completed by summer 2024.