Bioenergy funding renewed


The Department of Energy renewed $25 million per year in funding for the BioEnergy Science Center, a partnership of UGA, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and other university and industry partners.

BESC was established by DOE in 2007 to accelerate progress toward development of liquid biofuels that add an affordable, sustainable, domestically produced option to the nation’s energy supply. The BESC team includes more than 300 researchers from 18 academic and commercial partners.

Research at BESC is focused on enabling revolutionary breakthroughs in overcoming biomass recalcitrance—the resistance of plant walls to releasing the sugars locked inside their cells for conversion to alcohol. The aim is to enable the use of lignocellulosic biomass—wood and grass, mainly—to produce transportation fuels. Lignocellulosic biomass is an attractive option because it is abundant and renewable; comes from non-food sources, including agricultural and wood waste; and can be grown on semi-agricultural lands that are not used for food crops.