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Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology

Where Science Meets Society

DOE Funds Major Bioenergy Research Center At Illinois Through IGB and iSEE

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is doubling down on energy research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, funding a multi-million dollar Bioenergy Research Center to provide scientific breakthroughs for a new generation of sustainable, cost-effective biofuels and bioproducts.

Grant helps realize “ultra-productive” biofuel crops, attract investors

Imagine—instead of acres of oil wells on barren land—endless fields of towering green sugarcane, with each stalk producing renewable and sustainable biofuel.

The University of Illinois and the University of Florida have been awarded a third round of funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to realize ultra-productive biofuel crops.

Improving Drought-Resistance of Biofuel Grasses

The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded a five-year, $12.1 million grant to a multi-institutional effort to develop drought-resistant grasses for use in biofuels. The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis will lead the initiative with researchers from the Carnegie Institution for Science, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Minnesota and Washington State University.

The grant is timely, said U. of I. plant biology professor Andrew Leakey, whose lab will receive $1.8 million of the funding.

Team Overcomes Major Obstacle to Cellulosic Biofuel Production

A newly engineered yeast strain can simultaneously consume two types of sugar from plants to produce ethanol, researchers report. The sugars are glucose, a six-carbon sugar that is relatively easy to ferment; and xylose, a five-carbon sugar that has been much more difficult to utilize in ethanol production. The new strain, made by combining, optimizing and adding to earlier advances, reduces or eliminates several major inefficiencies associated with current biofuel production methods.

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