|By TIM ALEXANDER
URBANA, Ill. — The Illinois Council on Food and Agricultural Research (C-FAR) has announced the University of Illinois (UOI) at Champaign-Urbana will be part of a team exploring how bioscience can be used to increase energy production and reduce the impact of energy consumption on the environment.
The UOI will work with energy company and project sponsor BP, the University of California at Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
The newly formed Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI) will invest around $500 million in five research areas, with around $100 million earmarked for studies through the UOI during the next 10 years.
The UOI was tabbed to participate in the ground-breaking study due in large part to the university’s biomass energy crops research program, established with support from C-FAR, which is a state-funded research entity comprised of Illinois food and agricultural industry stakeholders. UOI professor of crop sciences and plant biology Stephen Long said, without the efforts of C-FAR in initiating a five-year biomass energy crop development program at the university in 2003, the EBI project likely would not have involved the UOI.
“The support we have received from C-FAR over the past four years was a critical factor in Illinois being selected for this new, large-scale research program. I am certain we would not have been considered if it had not been for the C-FAR initiative on biomass energy crops,” said Long, who will assume the role of lead EBI investigator