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Oklahoma EPSCoR receives $20 million for biofuels research

The Oklahoma Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) has received $20 million in new funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. The combined $4 million in annual support is renewable for the next five years and enables Oklahoma EPSCoR to support research under its new theme area, "Building Oklahoma's Leadership Role in Cellulosic Bioenergy."

Specifically, the funding supports a collaborative project led by Dr. Ray Huhnke, director of the Biobased Products and Energy Center at Oklahoma State University; Dr. Lance Lobban, director of the School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering at the University of Oklahoma; and Dr. Kirankumar Mysore, associate professor at the Samuel Roberts Noble Research Foundation.

During the five-year project, the researchers will explore: molecular mechanisms and tools for biomass development, the molecular basis and mechanisms underlying efficient microbial conversion of biomass to liquid fuels, and new catalytic/thermochemical conversion processes of cellulosic biomass.

"OSU is so glad to play a major role in this pivotal area of research," said OSU President Burns Hargis. "As many in our state and nation deal with fluctuating fuel costs, it is encouraging to know that researchers - not only from OSU but also from throughout the state - are hard at work developing alternative solutions to our country's energy needs."

"There is already a great amount of momentum in the state right now about the production of non-food based biofuels," said Dr. Jim Wicksted, principal investigator of this NSF EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement (RII) award and associate director of the Oklahoma EPSCoR program. "This theme area and project will build on that momentum by developing an infrastructure that supports Oklahoma's biofuels initiative. We're so pleased that NSF and the State Regents are willing to provide the resources that enable this work." The co-principal investigator is Dr. Frank Waxman, state director of the Oklahoma EPSCoR Program.


Contact: Kelly Green
Oklahoma State University

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