DOE Awards $23 Million to Five Cellulosic Ethanol Conversion Projects

March 27, 2007

DOE announced on March 27th that five projects will receive $23 million over the next four years to develop highly efficient fermentative organisms that convert cellulosic biomass into ethanol. Cellulosic biomass includes a variety of non-food plant materials, such as agricultural wastes, saw dust, paper pulp, and switchgrass. Organisms that can ferment these cellulosic biomass materials into ethanol are crucial to the success of commercial-scale integrated biorefineries and cellulosic ethanol refining. Such organisms must be able to survive a wide range of environmental conditions while resisting mutations that would hinder their effectiveness.

DOE selected Cargill Incorporated, Celunol Corporation, DuPont, Mascoma Corporation, and Purdue University for the five projects. The total investment in the five projects could total more than $37 million, with DOE's Biofuels Initiative providing the federal government's share. The research will further President Bush's goals of making cellulosic ethanol cost-competitive by 2012 and reducing U.S. gasoline consumption by 20 percent in 10 years. See the DOE press release and details about the Biofuels Initiative.