University of Illinois launches bioenergy research center

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — The University of Illinois is launching a new bioenergy research center that will be used to generate new fuel products directly from plants.

The new Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation is a collaboration with the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, where it will be housed, and the Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Environment.

Biology professor Evan DeLucia will direct the center. He tells The News-Gazette that scientists from the university’s multiple disciplines will partner with 17 institutions on the project aiming to reduce the nation’s dependence on fossil fuels. Some of the partners include Iowa State, Princeton, Mississippi State, West Virginia and Boston University.

DeLucia says a five-year, $115 million grant, from the state Department of Energy will help the center pay for its research.