News Local/State

DOE Awards Funding For Bioenergy Research Center At U Of I

Woese Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana.

The new bioenergy research center at the University of Illinois will be housed at the Carl R. Woese Institute For Genomic Biology, or IGB. The IGB is collaborating with the U of I's Institute for Susainability, Energy and Environment or iSEE. Jim Meadows/Illinois Public Meadows

If Congress approves, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will be host to a $104 million center for research into new biofuels and bioproducts.

The US Department of Energy is awarding the money over the next five years to help create the university’s new Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation --- CABBI for short.

Plant Biology Professor Evan DeLucia will serve as CABBI’s director. He says the Energy Department was attracted to the U of I because of the bioenergy work it’s already doing.

“We have a 320 acre energy farm”, said DeLucia. “As far as I know, it’s the only facility like it, at least in the United States, where we grow in a very sophisticated way these energy crops, the ecology and environmental impact of these crops is very closely monitored.”  

DeLucia says the Energy Department also liked Illinois’ new Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory. The $32 million facility is now under construction at the Urbana campus, and nearly completed.

DeLucia says the new bioenergy research center could open as soon as December. CABBI will be a joint project of the U of I’s Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Environment (iSEE), where DeLucia has been serving as director, and the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology (IGB).  DeLucia says CABBI will be headquartered at IGB.

CABBI will join three other biotechnology research facilities funded by the US Department of Energy: the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center led by the University of Wisconsin; the Center for Bioenergy Innovation led by the DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory; and the Joint Bioenergy Institute, led by the DOE’s Berkeley National Lab.