KNOXVILLE - The development of a sustainable biofuels industry in Tennessee has taken another leap forward. The U.S. Department of Energy has announced that Mascoma Corporation, with the University of Tennessee, is among the recipients of a $26 million grant for the development of biomass conversion technology.
The grant is for demonstrating the production of cellulosic ethanol at approximately one-tenth commercial scale operations. The facility is to be constructed at the Niles Ferry Industrial Park in Monroe County as part of the Tennessee Biofuels Initiative.
The Tennessee Biofuels Initiative is a business model proposed by UT and supported by Governor Phil Bredesen and the state legislature. State appropriations in 2007 included $40.7 million for construction of the demonstration biorefinery and funds for further research and development of bioenergy crops and conversion techniques. The ultimate goal is a thriving, sustainable biobased economy in the state with multiple biorefineries, each supplied by locally produced biomass.
David Millhorn, UT executive vice president, said, "This newest award is a dramatic example of how the vision and investment made by Governor Bredesen and our state leaders has helped to leverage major federal funding that will have dramatic impact on rural development in Tennessee."
The new funding brings the total investment in the region to some $230 million for the development of bioenergy sciences. This includes $135 million that Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) received from DOE in 2007 for its new Bioenergy Science Center.
Joseph DiPietro, UT vice president for agriculture, echoed Millhorn's thoughts. "We appreciate the additional investment by DOE. These funds in tandem with funds already secured from the state will lead to even greater discoveries and secure Tennessee at the forefront in development of the biofuels industry."
The new DOE grant will support Tennesse
|Contact: Jay Mayfield|
University of Tennessee at Knoxville