Purdue startup is awarded $4.5M for bioenergy research

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — A Purdue University-affiliated agbioscience startup has been awarded $4.5 million from the U.S. Department of Energy for its research in the field of bioenergy.

GRYFN is creating technology to collect, analyze and process crop data from multi-sensor drones. The vast amounts of data help plant breeders scale-up their research efforts through phenotyping in the field.

The startup is using the technology to help in the rapid genetic improvement and production of sorghum crops for biofuel.

“Data collection in plant breeding is a labor-intensive and slow process, and measurements can be highly subjective,” said Matt Bechdol, chief executive officer of GRYFN.

Bechdol says the company’s work is to offer what he calls “easy-to-use” flying laboratories for plant researchers, helping them to create precise, repeatable analytic solutions for plant research.

“We believe our system helps make field data collection faster, more automated and consistent and will be collaborating with leading commercial crop breeding partners to validate this value,” Bechdol said.

While the technology could help with research into any crop, Bechdol says their advanced sensor systems will also go behind plant sciences.

“We are creating easy-to-use systems that combine sensors, advanced processing, artificial intelligence and drones to produce consistent, quality data for predictive and decision-making tools,” said Bechdol. ” This innovation has natural resources, infrastructure, and even archeological survey applications.”