Issue Date: February 5, 2007
BP collaborates with academia, government lab on alternative energy research
Continuing the trend of mammoth collaborations between public institutions and industry, oil giant BP has chosen the University of California, Berkeley; Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) to be its partners in a $500 million institute for renewable and alternative energy research.
The Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI) was announced at a press conference on Feb. 1 by BP America Chairman Robert A. Malone, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich, as well as UC officials and LBNL Director Steven Chu. It has a two-pronged mission. The first goal is to spearhead research on developing biofuels from renewable sources such as corn; the second, to "enhance recovery" of oil from existing reservoirs and develop technologies for carbon sequestration to mitigate global warming, Malone said.
EBI will be governed by a committee of eight, equally split between BP, and the public universities and LBNL, Malone said at the briefing. The committee will oversee the distribution of the money to 25 different research groups over 10 years.
The committee will determine how research funds are apportioned, UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau said. Approximately one-quarter of the money will go to UIUC, he estimated. EBI's director will be named shortly.
Intellectual property rights, BP Chief Scientist Steven Koonin said, will be retained separately by the discoverers.
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