Skip to main content


Brawn honored as inaugural Levenick Chair in Sustainability

URBANA, Ill. – In January 2020, professor Jeffrey Brawn was named the inaugural Stuart L. and Nancy J. Levenick Chair in Sustainability, the first endowed chair in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences (NRES) at the University of Illinois. A pandemic-belated ceremony happened yesterday on the Urbana campus.

Read full story

Can sustainability standards effectively mitigate food system challenges?

URBANA, Ill. – While agrifood production is essential for feeding our growing global population, it can also contribute to environmental and social problems, including deforestation, biodiversity loss, poor or precarious labor conditions, and persistent poverty. Certification and standards can encourage use of sustainable production practices, but how effective are such programs in addressing food system challenges?

Read full story

Marginal land available for bioenergy crops much scarcer than previously estimated

URBANA, Ill. -- Land is the planet’s limiting resource. We need land for food, biofuel, feed, ecosystem services, and more. But all land is not equal. Concerns about diverting land under food/feed crops to biofuel feedstocks have led to interest in using marginal land to produce these dedicated bioenergy crops for advanced biofuels. Marginal land has typically been defined as land that is of low quality and not in food crop production.

Read full story

Comparing the pathogen numbers in backyard and commercial composts

Compost—organic material that is added to soil to help plants grow—is widely used by gardeners because it improves soil health and reduces the amount of organic waste in landfills. Although several studies have looked at commercial composts, very few have investigated backyard compost samples. In a new study, researchers have measured the number of pathogens in both types of compost.

Read full story

Luis Rodriguez named associate director of iSEE

The Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment is pleased to welcome Luis Rodríguez as its new Associate Director for Education & Outreach.

Read full story

Energycane produces more biodiesel than soybean at a lower cost

URBANA, Ill. ­– Bioenergy from crops is a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels. New crops such as energycane can produce several times more fuel per acre than soybeans. Yet, challenges remain in processing the crops to extract fuel efficiently. 

Four new studies from the University of Illinois explore chemical-free pretreatment methods, development of high-throughput phenotyping methods, and commercial-scale techno-economic feasibility of producing fuel from energycane in various scenarios.

Read full story

CABBI challenges CRP status quo, mitigates fossil fuels

Researchers at the Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation (CABBI) found that transitioning land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) to bioenergy agriculture can be ad­­­vantageous for American landowners, the government, and the environment.

Read full story

ACES student offers sustainability advice in her first book

While quarantine can be rough, something good that has come out of it for many people is the discovery of new hobbies.

Maybe you took an interest in bread baking or tried the famous whipped coffee? Or maybe you’re like University of Illinois student Alexa Smith and decided to write a book during quarantine.

Read full story

Two ACES researchers receive 2021 iSEE seed funding

ACES professors Amy Ando, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, and Girish Chowdhary, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, will receive 2021 seed funding from the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE) at the University of Illinois, under its 2021 interdisciplinary research initiative and Campus as a Living Laboratory (CALL) project. Read more from

Read full story

Outdoor adventures forge connections, science career paths

URBANA, Ill. – Ashli Trudeau wrapped her hand around the little bird ever so gently, carefully following instructions to keep the American Goldfinch safe. She could feel the bird’s tiny feathery heart racing against her fingers, and her own skipped a beat.

“Its feathers were one of the softest things I have ever felt,” she recalls. “I only held the bird for 10 or 15 seconds, but that memory will stay with me forever.”

Read full story
Subscribe to Sustainability