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News Release: Research Institutions, Businesses Launch Renewable Fuels Venture

March 19, 2007

A joint venture among businesses and Colorado research institutions to further develop renewable fuels was announced today at the state capitol in Denver.

The new Colorado Center for Biorefining and Biofuels (C2B2) is a research venture between large and small businesses and the newly formed Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory, the association of four of Colorado's premier research institutions, the University of Colorado at Boulder, the Colorado School of Mines, Colorado State University and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).  C2B2 will perform world class research to develop new biofuels and biorefining technologies and transfer these advances as rapidly as possible to the private sector.

NREL's participation in the Collaboratory and the Collaboratory's C2B2 project is through Midwest Research Institute (MRI), which manages NREL for the U.S. Department of Energy.

MRI is committed to involvement in partnerships that draw on diverse talents and enhance the strengths of NREL, Colorado's research universities and the C2B2 industry partners. Projects such as C2B2 further NREL's mission to develop new renewable energy technologies and move those technologies along the path to commercialization.

"This collaboration is extremely important for workforce development, too," said Stan Bull, NREL Associate Director and MRI Vice President. "Students, postdoctoral researchers and faculty from the universities will work closely with national laboratory scientists and engineers and industry professionals, developing the skills needed to help the nation develop clean, secure sources of energy." 

Today’s announcement comes less than one month after leaders from the four institutions signed the agreement creating the Collaboratory.

C2B2 will work to create new technologies for the production of transportation fuels and other valuable products from plants.  In addition to transportation fuels, biorefining promises to create new sources of agricultural fertilizers, synthetic fibers for clothing and other uses, plastics and commercial chemicals.  Because these materials are now derived from petroleum and natural gas, biorefining will reduce our dependence on oil and gas, will provide alternative, domestic sources of energy and commercial products, and will reduce green house gas emissions, helping to reduce global warming. 

Companies participate in C2B2 as a sponsor by paying a membership fee.  These fees will fund shared research, and sponsors will have the opportunity to participate in the discoveries and patents generated by the shared research, with the goal of commercializing the new technologies as soon as possible.  Sponsors may also enter into individual agreements to fund proprietary research through C2B2.  The research projects of C2B2 will also create educational opportunities for undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate students, serving to train the next generation of chemical and biological engineers for our universities and private enterprise. 

NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for DOE by Midwest Research Institute and Battelle.

—George Douglas