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UK launches new, £27M bioenergy centre

willowsThe UK’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) has announced the launch of a new Sustainable Bioenergy Centre, seeded with startup funds of £27 million, the “biggest ever single UK public investment in bioenergy research.”

The centre’s aim is to promote research and development of non-food biofuel crops to “replace the petrol in our cars.”

“The centre is exactly the sort of initiative this country needs to lead the way in transforming the exciting potential of sustainable biofuels into a widespread technology that can replace fossil fuels,” said Lord Drayson, Minister of State for Science and Innovation.

The new bioenergy centre will work with a number of academic and industrial partners, including the universities of Cambridge, Dundee, York and Nottigham. In all, those partners are contributing about £7 million toward the centre’s startup.

Among the centre’s goals: to improve both the yield and quality of non-food biofuel crops in a way that’s both socially and economically viable.

“The centre is taking a holistic systems-level approach, examining all the relevant areas of science needed for sustainable bioenergy and studying the economic and social impact of the bioenergy process,” said Douglas Kell, chief executive of the BBSRC. “By working closely with industrial partners the Centre’s scientists will be able to quickly translate their progress into practical solutions to all our benefit — and ultimately, by supporting the sustainable bioenergy sector, help to create thousands of new ‘green collar’ jobs in the UK.”

Considering the “non-green-collar” jobs being lost by the thousands, that news comes not a moment too soon.

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