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Gordon Applauds Location of Federal Bioenergy Facility in Tennessee; Continues Committee Efforts to Advance R&D

Jun 26, 2007
Press Release

(Washington, DC) A U.S. Department of Energy announcement today locating three Bioenergy Research Centers across the country coincides with pending action by the U.S. House Committee on Science and Technology to advance and bolster U.S. bioenergy research.

Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN) called the actions “evidence of how a strong federal commitment to research and development can spur economic growth and result in real solutions to the energy challenges facing our country.”

Gordon was on hand today as U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman announced the creation of three innovation centers aimed at accelerating basic research in the development of bioenergies. One of those centers will be located in Tennessee and led by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), in partnership with the University of Tennessee, the State of Tennessee, industry, other universities and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Colorado. This public/private joint venture will serve to strengthen the Tennessee Biofuel Initiative and enhance the opportunity for production of transportation fuels from renewable biomass in Tennessee.

The $125 million innovation center will be aimed at cultivating revolutionary advancements in the efficient conversion of biomass for sustainable large-scale biofuel production through focused application of university and national lab assets and capabilities, in collaboration with leading commercial partners.

“This announcement couldn’t be more well-timed,” added Chairman Gordon, whose Committee maintains jurisdiction over federal energy research. “If we are going to move toward a broader use of biofeuls in this country then new technologies – bolstered by effective research and development – are necessary to create reasonably priced, practical fuels from cellulosic materials. My Committee will advance legislation tomorrow that does just that.”

H.R. 2773, the Biofuels Research and Development Enhancement Act, will be marked up by full Science and Technology Committee tomorrow (Wednesday) – clearing its final hurdle before consideration by the U.S. House. The bill will enhance ongoing research, like that soon to be done at the U.S. Bioenergy Research Centers, and promote a greater degree of coordination of research materials related to biofuels.

The advancement of bioenergies in the U.S. has the potential to reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources, provide good jobs in local communities, present new sources of income for America’s farmers, reduce greenhouse gases and improve air quality.

“Bioenergy is an important part of this country’s energy future,” added Gordon. “To realize the goal of affordable and consumer-friendly biofuels, we must commit to developing better technology, increasing our investment in R&D and focusing that research on the most promising technologies, as well as ensuring the latest research information is readily available for businesses and farmers across the country looking to expand their production.”

“Fossil fuels remain a necessary part of a balanced U.S. energy strategy, but they can no longer be our sole feasible option. We have an opportunity to lead the way in bioenergy development and I’m proud that DOE chose a proven program in Tennessee to complement the work being done in Congress to advance this important science. The results could very well create and grow a new energy manufacturing sector right here at home in the U.S. that could one day displace our demand for foreign oil.”

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110.118

110th Congress