Colleges join public-private partnership for biofuels research
Associated Press Writer
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
DENVER (AP) ” Colorado’s biofuels research coalition announced its first major project on Monday, a public-private partnership that will work to create new transportation fuels and other products from crops.
Gov. Bill Ritter said the Colorado Center for Biorefining and Biofuels, or C2B2, will create a partnership between businesses and the newly formed Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory.
The collaboratory is partnership with the federal National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Colorado School of Mines, the University of Colorado at Boulder and Colorado State University.
“We need every molecule we can find that we can bring to market,” said Rick Zalesky, vice president of Chevron, one of the participating companies. He said the research will help oil companies expand their business opportunities and provide a new source of fuel.
Companies will pay a membership fees that will finance shared research, and the sponsors will share in the profits of the patents generated to bring them to market. Sponsors can also sign individual agreements to fund proprietary research.
Fees will vary based on the project requested. Lawmakers gave the coalition $2 million in seed money to be used to obtain federal matching grants.
Supporters said the research projects will be done at research labs at NREL in Golden, west of Denver, and at the research universities, helping students learn new technologies.
The participating companies also hope to develop new fertilizers, synthetic fibers, plastics and commercial chemicals. They said developing a new source of materials and energy will reduce dependence on oil and gas and reduce greenhouse gases to help reduce global warming.
Work will begin once a company requests a contract.
Other participating companies include ConocoPhillips, Dow Chemical Co., Shell Global Solutions, GreenFuel Technologies Corp., Range Fuels Inc., Solix Biofuels, PureVision Technology, Coprnican Energy, Rocky Mountain Sustainable Enterprises and Blue Sun Biodiesel.
Stan Bull, associate director of NREL, said the collaboration is important to develop the research needed to find new sources of energy.
Bull said NREL, which last year feared budget cuts, is benefiting from the upsurge in interest in renewable energy.
Last week, Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo, said the facility will get $107 million more for new buildings and operating costs in the current budget year, on top of the $200 million it was expected to get in its regular budget.
The lab does the nation’s primary research on renewable energy and energy efficiency.
On the Net:
National Renewable Energy Laboratory: http://www.nrel.gov/
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