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Champions Corner: Dr José Amador Honorato Salazar explores biomass as an alternative feedstock


José Amador Honorato Salazar is Mexico’s Mission Innovation Champion for 2020. Amador is a research scientist at the Experimental Centre, Puebla of the National Research Institute of Forestry, Agriculture and Livestock (INIFAP). He is a forest engineer with a major in forest industries technology from Chapingo Autonomous University, and received a PhD in wood science from the University of Wales, Bangor, UK. His work at INIFAP focuses on wood science, wood products and uses for the lesser-known woods of Mexico. His current work includes research on energy crops and the use of feedstocks for bioenergy, biofuel and bioproducts. Amador has also been a team leader and collaborator on research projects with national and international institutions, including research invitations from the Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute in Japan and the University of Surrey in the UK.

Tell us more about your organization

INIFAP is one of the largest government research organizations in Mexico. It was founded in 1985 and it is active throughout the country. The organization includes a central office which helps oversee dozens of research centers, experimental stations, laboratories and other facilities. The Institute’s research staff has diverse expertise, with specialities spanning 276 agricultural, livestock and forestry areas. INIFAP focuses on research, innovation and development in: the improvement and agronomic management of food, energy and livestock feed crops; livestock’s vaccines; the management and conservation of forest resources; forest products and improving processes in forest industries. Climate change and bioenergy are also research priorities for the Institute.

How do you intend to leverage being an MI Champion?

The transition from fossil fuels to clean and sustainable energy presents great challenges in Mexico and around the world. Biomass is an alternative feedstock for producing not only energy and biofuels, but also other products as well. I have been working with the Centre for Innovation in Inputs for Energy Crops and Co-products of Mexico. I am helping assess the availability – and the potential – of residues and by-products derived from agricultural and forest operations. The intent is to provide scientific and technical knowledge for policy decisions regarding biomass processing plants. As MI Champion, I aim to continue working on non-conventional energy crops, such as various agave and cactus species. One of my goals is to cooperate with national and international R&D organizations to encourage investments in biorefinery plants that utilize residual biomass.

Do you have any upcoming plans that you would like to share with the MI community?

To increase bio-based energy production and other clean energy sources, international cooperation is important. At INIFAP, we are cooperating with member countries of The Mesoamerica Project in The Mesoamerican Network for Research and Development in Biofuels (RMIDB). We share innovations and exchange technical knowledge about unconventional crops used for bioenergy. Calls for bioenergy research proposals will be announced by the RMIDB’s executive board.