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DOE funds bio-inspired solar fuel center at Arizona State

TEMPE Ariz. -- Arizona State University will be home to a new Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC) announced by the White House in conjunction with a speech delivered by President Barack Obama.

The ASU center, one of 46 new EFRCs, will pursue advanced scientific research on solar energy conversion based on the principles of photosynthesis, the process by which plants capture sunlight and convert it to useful energy. All 46 centers and are being established by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as part of an overall effort to tackle the "grand challenges" and accelerate scientific advances needed to build a 21st century energy economy. DOE plans to fund ASU's EFRC for Bio-Inspired Solar Fuel Production at a level of $14 million over a five-year period.

"As global energy demand grows over this century, there is an urgent need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and imported oil and curtail greenhouse gas emissions," said Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. "Meeting this challenge will require significant scientific advances. These centers will mobilize the enormous talents and skills of our nation's scientific workforce in pursuit of the breakthroughs that are essential to make alternative and renewable energy truly viable as large-scale replacements for fossil fuels."

"The fundamental nature of the work that will be carried out at ASU's new center speaks to the breadth and depth of research at our university," said R.F. "Rick" Shangraw Jr., ASU vice president of research and economic affairs. "Understanding and using the scientific principles underlying the photosynthesis process, will allow us to devise new and environmentally responsible ways of tapping future energy sources. This project will rely on the talents of many people across a range of scientific disciplines, making it perfect for our interdisciplinary approach to research."

Essentially all of the energy we use today from oil, coal and natural gas - originall

Contact: Skip Derra
Arizona State University

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