DOE JGI performs sequencing on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy Bioenergy Research Centers. The Centers are intended to accelerate basic research in the development of cellulosic ethanol and other biofuels, advancing the federal initiative that seeks to reduce U.S. gasoline consumption by 20% within 10 years through increased efficiency and diversification of clean energy sources. The three Centers are located in geographically distinct areas and use different plants both for laboratory research and for improving feedstock crops.
DOE BioEnergy Science Center led by DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. This center will focus on the resistance of plant fiber to breakdown into sugars and is studying the potential energy crops poplar and switchgrass.
DOE Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center led by the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin, in close collaboration with Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. This center is studying a range of plants and, in addition to exploring plant fiber breakdown, aims to increase plant production of starches and oils, which are more easily converted to fuels. This Center also has a major focus on sustainability, examining the environmental and socioeconomic implications of moving to a biofuels economy.
DOE Joint BioEnergy Institute led by DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. This center will concentrate on “model” crops of rice and Arabidopsis, in the search for game-changing breakthroughs in basic science, and is exploring microbial-based synthesis of fuels beyond ethanol.