DOE Awards $375 Million for Three Bioenergy Research Centers

June 26, 2007

DOE announced on June 26th that it will invest up to $375 million in three Bioenergy Research Centers in Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Madison, Wisconsin; and Berkeley, California. The centers will focus on understanding how to reengineer biological processes to develop new methods for converting the cellulose in plant material into ethanol or other biofuels that serve as a substitute for gasoline. Future biofuels production will require the use of feedstocks more diverse than corn, including cellulosic material like agricultural residues, grasses, poplar trees, inedible plants, and non-edible portions of crops.

The diverse teams of researchers at the centers will hail from 18 of the nation's universities, seven DOE national laboratories, at least one nonprofit organization, and a range of private companies. Work at the centers is expected to begin in 2008, with full operations starting in 2009. DOE plans to fund the centers for the first five years of operation. See the DOE press release and DOE's Genomics:GTL Web site.