Energy Biosciences Institute

News Relating to the EBI or Energy Biosciences Institute

May 3rd, 2007

In the April issue of Frontiers - The BP magazine of technology and innovation, Steve Koonin, BP’s chief scientist, explains BP’s decision to become involved in the bioenergy sector, and what they hope to achieve.

‘BP believes the EBI is one of the largest mission-driven integrated science programmes to be initiated in the last 50 years,’ says Jim Breson, BP’s project manager who led the setting up of the EBI. ‘We conducted a very rigorous selection process involving many of the world’s top scientific organisations - 52 institutions in 10 countries in all. The competition was very stiff. One key reason for selecting Berkeley and its partners was because these institutions have excellent track records of delivering “big science” - that is, large, complex developments aimed at making scientific breakthroughs that can subsequently be deployed in the real world as engineering applications.

Read more: Back to a Bio Future

Febuary 5th, 2007
Announced on Thursday, February 1st the University of Illinois will begin working in collaboration with University of California Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to develop new energy sources through biosciences. A press release from the University of Illinois News Bureau:

“A $500 million research program announced today by the energy company BP will bring farm bioenergy production to Illinois on a grand scale, say researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Illinois will join the University of California at Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in forming the new Energy Biosciences Institute, with UC Berkeley taking the lead.

As part of the EBI, some 340 acres of farmland at the Urbana campus will be devoted to the study and production of feedstock for biofuel production. Researchers will explore the potential benefits of using corn crop residues, switchgrass, Miscanthus (Miscanthus x giganticus: a hybrid grass that can grow 13 feet tall), and other herbaceous perennials as fuel sources. The initiative will explore how adequate supplies of high quality plant biomass can be sustainably produced and utilized in facilities that convert the biomass to fuels.”

UIUC involvement in the collaboration with UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory was led by Miscanthus Lead Research PI Dr. Steve Long with support from faculty involved with the Miscanthus Research Initiative.