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 DOE’s Office of Biological and Environmental Research within DOE’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.
“Our 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,” said CBI Chief Executive Officer Gerald Tuskan. Tuskan, an ORNL Corporate Fellow, led the sequencing of the genome of Populus—a fast-growing perennial tree recognized for its potential in biofuels production—as well as the largest study of natural diversity in poplar trees for BESC. [Read more…]