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$14M from DOE renews bioenergy center

Olivia Randall

The Center for Bioenergy Innovation (CBI), a multi-institutional initiative based at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and co-led by University of Georgia researchers, has been renewed by the U.S. Department of Energy as one of four bioenergy research centers across the nation that advance robust, economical production of plant-based fuels and chemicals.

According to its announcement, DOE will provide $590 million to the centers over the next five years, of which UGA will receive $14 million. Initial funding for the four centers will total $110 million for fiscal year 2023. Outyear funding will total up to $120 million per year over the following four years.

CBI is one of several federally supported centers with ties to UGA’s Complex Carbohydrate Research Center (CCRC), an interdisciplinary research unit that optimizes cooperation and collaboration among various disciplines of carbohydrate (glyco-) science, including biomedical glycoscience, plant and microbial glycoscience and synthetic and analytical chemistry.

“We are excited to be in our 16th year of funding: the first 10 years from the DOE-funded BioEnergy Science Center (BESC) and the past 5-plus years from the CBI,” said Debra Mohnen, Distinguished Research Professor and Georgia Athletic Association Professor in the CCRC and research domain manager for integrative analysis and understanding for CBI. “UGA has been a major university hub within both BESC and CBI.”

In addition to Mohnen, C.J. Tsai, Winfred N. “Hank” Haynes Professor and Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in the Franklin College of Arts & Sciences, serves as CBI’s research domain manager for accelerative science. Also, Breeanna Urbanowicz, CCRC researcher and assistant professor in Franklin’s Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, sits on CBI’s Research Council and Katrien Devos, Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences serves as switchgrass team lead.

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Image: Debra Mohnen, Distinguished Research Professor at the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center and in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

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