US government provides $590 million to renew Bioenergy Research Centers

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The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced $590 million (€546.9m) to renew its four existing Bioenergy Research Centers (BRCs).
The DOE said the funding will help support the department's research into the next generation of sustainable, cost-effective bioproducts and bioenergy from domestic biomass resources, which is critical to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, ensuring energy security and generating economic opportunities in rural America.
It added that, since their inception, BRCs have made groundbreaking scientific contributions and advancements in biotechnology. They are assisting in expanding the diversity of reliable domestic clean energy sources, and "ensuring" the US reaches the nation's net-zero emissions goal by 2050.
The decision to renew the four BRCs followed a successful review by a panel of outside peer reviewers on each centre’s past five years of performance. Initial funding for the four centres will total $110 million (€101.9m) for Fiscal Year 2023, outyear funding will total up to $120 million (€111.2m) per year over the following four years and is contingent on availability of funds.
Each of the four centres, led by a National Laboratory or University, supports the science behind a bio-based economy and aims to break down the barriers to building a strong domestic bioenergy industry, said the DOE.
The centres include the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, led by the University of Wisconsin-Madison in partnership with Michigan State University; the Center for Bioenergy Innovation, led by DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory; the Joint BioEnergy Institute, led by DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; and the Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation, led by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Continuing to invest in these centers promises to yield a range of important new products and fuels derived directly from non-food plant biomass, such as switchgrass, poplar, energy cane, and energy sorghum.
“To meet our future energy needs, we will need versatile renewables like bioenergy as a low-carbon fuel for some parts of our transportation sector,” said US Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Continuing to fund the important scientific work conducted at our Bioenergy Research Centers is critical to ensuring these sustainable resources can be an efficient and affordable part of our clean energy future.”

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