Looks like the $500 million Energy Biosciences Institute — a partnership between BP, and the research labs of UC Berkeley, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to work on bioenergy technology — is finally up and running. The group said Wednesday that the contract has been finalized and work is officially under way. Hopefully we’ll see more fun-filled protests on the UC Berkeley campus.
The group said that while it will initially focus on advanced biofuels for transportation, its work will cover three areas: one, the conversion of heavy hydrocarbons into clean fuels; two, improved recovery from existing oil and gas reservoirs; and three, carbon sequestration. Christopher Somerville will lead the institute as director and will join UC Berkeley faculty from the Department of Biological Sciences at Stanford University. That’s a steal.
The group is currently evaluating 85 research proposals, and will make decisions soon. There will be another round of proposals solicited in spring 2008.