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January/February 2008
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Center for Advanced BioEnergy Research, University of Illinois 

The new Center for Advanced BioEnergy Research (CABER) serves as an umbrella center for facilitating bioenergy research, education and outreach by various UIUC colleges and the Institute of Genomic Biology. Hans P. Blascheck, has been named CABER Director. 

The “Aims and Scope” of CABER are outlined on their webpage. “CABER at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is well-positioned to take the lead on issues related to the management and use of bio-based resources to benefit society and the environment. Significant research efforts already exist in the UIUC Colleges of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES), Engineering, and Liberal Arts and Sciences and among Midwest collaborators, related to the use of wind, water, bio-based resources and biorefining to produce chemicals and materials.

UIUC researchers working under the CABER umbrella are focusing on overcoming limitations to making plant- and crop-based resources a viable alternative to petrochemical-based systems to generate chemicals and energy. Alternative Illinois resources include nuclear power, coal, wind, and renewable biomass.

Fuels derived from cellulosic biomass—the fibrous, woody and generally inedible portions of plant matter—offer an alternative to conventional energy sources that supports national economic growth, national energy policy and increasingly important environmental goals.

Using an Illini-centric “Apollo-Project”-like approach, CABER researchers, including collaborators at Northwestern University, the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory, are utilizing plant and microbial genomic-based methods leading to translational bioengineering. With a focus on agricultural residues and energy-specific crops ideally suited for the Midwest and building on existing expertise, the CABER team is at work to overcome technical barriers in the production of cellulosic ethanol and other biofuels.

Check out CABER’s website for current research. www.bioenergy.uiuc.edu.  

The Bioenergy Blog gives regular updates on biofuel issues. bioenergyuiuc.blogspot.com/