Governor Abbott Celebrates Launch Of Texas Tech University’s New Engineering Research Center

October 25, 2022 | Austin, Texas | Press Release

Governor Greg Abbott today celebrated Texas Tech University's launch of the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) Engineering Research Center for Advancing Sustainable and Distribute Fertilizer Production (CASFER) in Lubbock. Texas Tech received the largest grant in the university's history in August from the NSF for the CASFER Center to transform technology for sustainable solutions impacting agriculture, including fertilizer research. 

Governor Abbott was joined at the CASFER Center's launch by Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec and Dr. Gerri Botte, professor and Whitacre Department chair, chemical engineering, at Texas Tech University's Whitacre College of Engineering.

“Today marks a major step for Texas Tech becoming one of America’s leading universities with this important grant from the National Science Foundation,” said Governor Abbott. “The research center will put Texas Tech on the cutting edge of fertilizer research to feed the future of America. Texans must be able to grow our own food, manufacture our own goods, and create our own internal supply chain. The leadership at Texas Tech and the National Science Foundation are part of the process that makes us freer, stronger, and more self-reliant.”

Engineering Research Centers (ERC) 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 is joined by Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Case Western Reserve University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The United States currently imports between 20-30% of nitrogen-based fertilizers, with farmers spending close to one-third of their operating costs on fertilizer. In his remarks at the CASFER Center’s launch, Governor Abbott pointed out 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 for capturing, recycling, and producing nitrogen-based fertilizers. The Center will work toward increased food security for the nation, reduced environmental impact from agricultural emissions, decreased U.S. dependence on foreign sources of nitrogen-based fertilizers, and creating affordable, sustainable sources of nitrogen-based fertilizers for American farmers.

Read more about the CASFER program here.