Athens, Ga. -- Scientists at the University of Georgia teamed with researchers at major universities, national research laboratories and industry colleagues to win a bid from the Department of Energy for a $125 million bioenergy research center that will seek new ways to produce biofuels.
Funded by the Department of Energys Office of Science, the Bioenergy Science Center is one of three funded from more than 20 proposals. It will employ the interdisciplinary expertise of the teams partners in biology, engineering and agricultural science and commercialization to develop processes for converting plants such as switchgrass and poplar trees into fuels. UGAs portion of the research is funded for $20 million over five years.
In announcing the awards, Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said, 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.
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, Bodman said.
In addition to UGA, the DOE Bioenergy Science Center partners include: the Oakridge National Laboratory (ORNL), University of Tennessee, Dartmouth College, the Georgia Institute of Technology, the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and companies ArborGen in Summerville, S.C.; Diversa in San Diego, Calif., and Mascoma in Cambridge, Mass. The team also includes seven individual researchers from across the country.
The Center will be based at ORNL in Oak Ridge, Tenn. UGA and its Complex Carbohydrate Research Center (CCRC) will be an anchor facility for the BESC.