The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is spending $250 million on two
research labs to find more efficient ways to produce cellulosic ethanol
and other biofuels.
“This is an important step toward our goal of replacing 30 percent
of transportation fuels with biofuels by 2030,” said Energy Secretary
Samuel W. Bodman. “The mission of these centers is to accelerate
research that leads to breakthroughs in basic science to make biofuels a
cost-effective alternative to fossil fuels.”
The new research centers will develop methods to break down other
natural materials such as grasses, crop residue and animal byproducts to
make fuel. Plants and plant waste can be made into alcohol with an
enzyme that converts cellulose into sugar. Then sugar is fermented and
distilled into ethanol. The research centers are expected to be
operational by 2009.