REFRESCH, an acronym for Researching Fresh Solutions to the Energy/ Water/ Food Challenge in Resource-Constrained Environments, is a Third Century Initiative project led by Johannes Schwank of the Energy Institute. The Third Century Initiative is a highly competitive $50 million, five-year funded research program developed by the Office of the Provost. Its goal is to provide freedom for researchers and students to tackle real problems, to learn immersively and together, and to prepare the University, as it approaches its bicentennial, for a third century of research leadership.
"In a time when a foreseeable complete transformation from a petroleum-based economy to a bio-based global economy finds itself in its early infancy, biowastes (e.g. agricultural wastes, municipal and solid wastes, sludge, wastewater and foodwastes), currently seen as low-valued materials, are beginning to be recognized as resources for the production of a variety of eco-friendly and sustainable products, with second-generation liquid biofuels being the leading ones."