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12 July, 2007 - 10:28 By Staff Reporter

Arc seeks slice of US bio-energy initiative

Companies based in the Oxford2Cambridge Arc could be cut in on a new bio-energy initiative in the United States.

A partnership of three national laboratories and three research universities in the San Francisco Bay Area has been chosen to host one of three bioenergy research centres, funded by the US Department of Energy This new centre is expected to receive $125 million in DOE funding over five years.


The other two DOE Bionergy Research Centers are the DOE BioEnergy Research Center, led by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and the DOE Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, led by the University of Wisconsin.


Business Weekly and Nicholas Miles, the Arc's executive director have raised the possibility of collaborations between these new centres and bio-energy specialists in the Arc area.


Sean Randolph, president and CEO of the Bay Area Economic Development Forum, has promised to raise the possibility with the US bio-energy partner organisations.


Miles added: "The idea is intriguing and exciting." He intended to raise the matter with a representative of the University of California Berkeley Campus a collaborator in the bio-energy initiative - in a meeting this week.


A US government spokesman said: "These new bio-energy centres of excellence will provide the transformational science needed for bioenergy breakthroughs to advance President Bush's goal of making cellulosic ethanol cost-competitive with gasoline by 2012, and assist in reducing America's gasoline consumption by 20 per cent in 10 years."


The Bay Area centre research will focus on biofuels - liquid fuels derived from the solar energy stored in plant biomass.


Harnessing even a tiny fraction of the total solar energy available each year could meet most, if not all, of the nation's annual transportation energy needs.

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