$125 million bioenergy initiative powered by Midwest ag industry, MSU research

The three DOE BRCs were announced today at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. They are established and operated to accelerate basic research on the development of cellulosic ethanol and other biofuels.

These centers will provide the transformational science needed for bioenergy breakthroughs to advance President Bushs goal of making cellulosic ethanol cost competitive with gasoline by 2012 and assist in reducing Americas gasoline consumption by 20 percent in 10 years, said Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman.

The collaborations of academic, corporate and national laboratory researchers represented by these centers are truly impressive, and I am very encouraged by the potential they hold for advancing Americas energy security.

Research at the DOE GLBRC will be done by a dream team of scientists from Wisconsin; Michigan State; Lucigen, a Madison-area biotechnology company; the Pacific Northwest and Oak Ridge National Laboratories; and the University of Florida, among others.

The research focus: breeding new varieties of bioenergy plants, developing new processing techniques and agents from microbes for breaking down cellulose, improving the microbial and chemical processes that convert biomass to energy products, providing an environmental and economic framework for sustaining the biomass-to-fuel pipeline and integrating new technologies including genomics and new computational methods into bioenergy research.

Keegstras expertise is in plant cell wall biology a crucial area in making biofuels. He has extensive management and scientific experience, having served for 14 years as director of the DOE-funded Plant Research Laboratory at MSU and as faculty member in the botany department at UW-Madison for 15 years.

He said the two universities' complementary expertise from agriculture sciences to microbiology to chemical engineering combined with knowledge from the rest of the par

Contact: Sue Nichols
Michigan State University

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