The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded three grants of $125 million each to set up Bioenergy Research Centers in Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Madison, Wisconsin; and near Berkeley, California.
According to this release from the DOE, they are intended to accelerate basic research in the development of cellulosic ethanol and other biofuels:
“These Centers will provide the transformational science needed for bioenergy breakthroughs to advance President Bush’s goal of making cellulosic ethanol cost-competitive with gasoline by 2012, and assist in reducing America’s gasoline consumption by 20 percent in ten years,” Secretary (Samuel) Bodman said. “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 America’s energy security.”
A diverse team of researchers from 18 of the nation’s leading universities, seven DOE national laboratories, at least one nonprofit organization, and a range of private companies will run the centers. Energy Department officials say they chose the locations based at least in part on having them near diverse energy sources.