Enterprise Taps Sayre to Head Biofuel Efforts

John Davis

St. Louis-based Enterprise Rent-A-Car has named Dr. Richard Sayre, a leading biofuels researcher, to head its Institute for Renewable Fuels at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis.

This press release says the company created the Institute in 2007 with a $25 million gift from the company’s founding family, the Taylors… who own Enterprise, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car and operate the world’s largest automotive fleet, with more than 1.1 million vehicles:

“Just as we are committed to using our fleet to grow the market for commercially viable new fuels and engine technologies, we believe it is important to play a role in the search for sustainable, renewable fuels that can curb greenhouse gas emissions and reduce dependency on finite fossil fuels,” said Andy Taylor, chairman and chief executive officer of Enterprise. “Dr. Sayre and his team bring tremendous leadership to this effort.”

Dr. Roger N. Beachy, president of the Danforth Center, said Sayre’s deep experience in plant science will advance the mission of the Danforth Center and the Institute for Renewable Fuels. “Attracting a researcher of Dr. Sayre’s caliber speaks volumes about the work we have done over the last decade – and the pioneering work we will do in the future,” Beachy said.

Much of the work to be done by Dr. Sayre and his team of 10 researchers will focus on using algae to produce “third-generation” biofuels that someday could be used on a large scale to power cars, trucks, and aircraft. This complements the larger body of biofuels research underway at the Danforth Center.

“Extracting oil from algae to produce a more sustainable biofuel is one of the most promising and exciting areas of biofuels research today,” said Sayre, formerly a professor in the Department of Plant Cellular and Molecular Biology at The Ohio State University. “Algae have significant potential as a clean, renewable, and economical fuel source. And, because algae are not used as food, they are a biofuel source that does not compete with the food supply.”

Enterprise officials say the company’s success depends on the availability of vehicles and fuels, which both have to be acceptable to society.

Biodiesel, Ethanol, News