The U.S. Department of Energy has announced funding for new research centers to accelerate the development of specialty plants and processes for a new generation of biofuels and bioproducts.
The Center for Bioenergy Innovation (CBI), led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, is one of four bioenergy centers chosen by DOE to advance a new biobased economy with the production of fuels and other products directly from nonfood biomass. The DOE announcement provides a total of $40 million in initial funding for the four centers in fiscal year 2018, with plans for a total five years of funding, a press release said.
The new centers follow the success of predecessor Bioenergy Research Centers established by DOEâ€™s Office of Biological and Environmental Research within DOEâ€™s Office of Science in 2007. The ORNL-led BioEnergy Science Center (BESC), for instance, has demonstrated scientific breakthroughs in its mission to overcome the natural resistance of plants to being broken down and converted into useful bioproducts.
â€œOur team of leading researchers is excited to use new approaches in biology to address the basic research challenges in developing real-world applications in the future sustainable bioeconomy,â€ said CBI Chief Executive Officer Gerald Tuskan. Tuskan, an ORNL Corporate Fellow, led the sequencing of the genome of Populusâ€”a fast-growing perennial tree recognized for its potential in biofuels productionâ€”as well as the largest study of natural diversity in poplar trees for BESC. [Read more…]