Cover Article in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN) Features DOE BioEnergy Research Center (BESC) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)


The December 8, 2008 edition of C&EN provides extensive coverage of DOE’s bioenergy research.  The cover story, “Genes to Gasoline,” focuses on ORNL research to covert biomass to fuels by efficient and economical processes.  The article explains challenges to the biological production of biofuels, especially the recalcitrance of lignocellulosic material to degradation.  Martin Keller, BESC Director, and Brian Davison and Charles Wyman, BESC scientists, are quoted.  Other DOE-funded scientists conducting biofuels research are also mentioned.  The shortcomings of current biomass pretreatment and conversion options are described as a backdrop for BESC’s research programs to develop a one-pot process (combining biomass deconstruction and fuel synthesis in one reactor vessel), a capability to conduct high throughput screening of potential biomass samples, and the opportunity to discover microbes with new enzymes in locations such as hot pools in Yellowstone.  The role of DOE’s Joint Genome Institute in facilitating this research is described.  The cover shows a fluorescence micrograph of a switchgrass cross section.

The cover shows a micrograph of switchgrass credited to DOE/NREL/BESC.

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