Bioenergy centers receive $375 million | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 85 Issue 27 | p. 29 | Concentrates
Issue Date: July 2, 2007

Bioenergy centers receive $375 million

Department: Government & Policy | Collection: Green Chemistry, Sustainability

Three laboratories were selected last week by the Department of Energy to find natural enzymes and other biological means to efficiently and inexpensively break down cellulose to make ethanol and other biofuels. Each lab will receive $125 million over the next five years. The newly funded bioenergy research centers are located at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the University of Wisconsin, Madison. The research focus is to move beyond reliance on corn as a biofuel feedstock in the U.S. and replace it with other cellulosic raw materials. Development of "transformational technologies" is the research goal, said both Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman and Energy Undersecretary for Science Raymond L. Orbach, when making the announcement. Comparing the U.S. biofuels energy research agenda to World War II's Manhattan Project and the space race, Orbach said the research expected to take place at the new centers could lead to fundamental cellulose-based discoveries that go beyond applications to ethanol and other biofuels. Some 18 different universities, seven DOE laboratories, at least one nonprofit organization, and many companies will take part in centers' research.

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