The US Department of Energy (USDOE) will provide financial support of $40m for the establishment of four Bioenergy Research Centers (BRCs).

The research centres, which will be led by DOE National Laboratory or a top notch university, are expected to provide scientific breakthroughs for next generation of sustainable, cost-effective bioproducts and bioenergy.

The centres are designed to lay foundation for the development of a bio-based economy that can help in the production of a wide range of new products and fuels derived from non-food based biomass.

Initially, the centres will receive of funding $40m from the department for the year financial year 2018. The department also plans to provide funding for next five years.

The US Energy Secretary Rick Perry said: “The revolution of modern biology has opened up vast new opportunities for the energy industry to develop and utilize products derived from biomass as a sustainable resource. 

 “These centers will accelerate the development of the basic science and technological foundation needed to ensure that American industry and the American public reap the benefits of the new bio-based economy.”

The department has selected the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center which is led by the University of Wisconsin-Madison; the Center for Bioenergy Innovation which is led by DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory; the Joint BioEnergy Institute which is led by DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; and the Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation which is led by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The present funding is a follow-up of the original DOE Bioenergy Research Centers program established in 2007 and it consisted of three centres, including the centres that were led by the University of Wisconsin-Madison in partnership with Michigan State University, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. 

The department claims that in a ten year period, the three centres produced several breakthroughs including sustainable agricultural practices, major reengineering of plant feedstocks, developing new methods for deconstructing feedstocks and reengineering microbes for effective fuel production.