The US Department of Energy (DOE) will fund $375m for three Bioenergy Research Centers for an additional five-year period, to accelerate fundamental research towards the development of advanced, next-generation biofuels.

The funding will be distributed among three research centers, the BioEnergy Research Center (BESC) led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) led by the University of Wisconsin-Madison in partnership with Michigan State University, and the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

The research centers established on the basis of a nationwide competition will receive $25m every year, as part of the initiative.

Commenting on the initiative, Energy Secretary Steven Chu said that the development of advanced biofuels will improve the nation’s energy security, expand the domestic biofuels industry, and produce new clean energy jobs.

"By investing in innovative approaches and technologies at our Bioenergy Research Centers, we can continue to move the biofuels industry forward and grow our economy while reducing our reliance on foreign oil," added Chu.

The research centers will focus on bringing new methods and discoveries to develop new lines of research, and accelerate the transformation of scientific breakthroughs into new technologies.

During the previous five years of operation, the research centers have produced around 1,100 peer-reviewed publications and more than 400 invention disclosures and/or patent applications.