Issue Date: February 12, 2007
DOE Plans Third Biofuels R&D Center
Funding for a third R&D center to conduct basic research to discover microbes and plant species that will increase the yield and the speed of production of ethanol and other biofuels made from cellulosic feedstocks is proposed in the Bush Administration's 2008 budget. Last summer, the Department of Energy announced funding of $25 million annually for five years for each of two centers. The third would also receive $25 million per year. Proposals are due this month, says Raymond L. Orbach, DOE undersecretary for science, who adds that the final selections will be made by summer but the centers will not be fully operational until next year. However, to minimize start-up time and costs, the centers are to be established in existing universities, government laboratories, nonprofit organizations, and private companies. DOE is seeking "transformational technologies" that will more efficiently convert a range of plant fibers to ethanol and other fuels as well as to chemical feedstocks.
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