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Biofuels and Biomass Energy (bioenergy): Research Centers

This Cornell University Albert R. Mann Library guide gathers disparate biofuels and biomass energy information resources in one place for convenient access and easy review. The primary focus is on resources produced in, or relating to, the United States.

Research Centers

Research institutes are often the best source for cutting edge discoveries and the most current applications of science to the biomass energy and biofuels information stream. They play a key role in basic and applied research, often spanning the information continuum from knowledge generation to knowledge dissemination. The following primary research centers are listed in alphabetical order.

BioEnergy Science Center

The DOE BioEnergy Science Center is led by the DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Collaborators include: Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia; DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado; University of Georgia in AthensGeorgia; Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire; and the University of Tennessee, in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Biofuels Research Laboratory

This Cornell University research center is funded by a 10 million dollar grant to Dr. Larry Walker from the Empire State Development Corporation. Other faculty involved with the program include: Largus Agenent, Beth Ahner, Harold Craighead, Jim Gossett, Susan Henry, Norm Scott and David Wilson.

Biomass Conversion Research Laboratory (BCRL)

The mission of the Biomass Conversion Research Laboratory at Michigan State University is to develop cost effective and environmentally attractive means of generating fuels, chemicals, materials, foods and feeds from renewable plant biomass. We seek to shift the raw material basis of modern society away from excessive dependence on fossil resources, particularly petroleum, and toward biomass.

Biomass Energy Center, Penn State Biomass Energy Center

This website is the portal to biomass energy research, education, and outreach programs at Penn State; coordinates and facilitates research and outreach across the university, building teams to address the complete value chain of biomass energy systems.

Centers for Renewable Energy and Biomass Utilization

University of North Dakota Energy and Environmental Research Center (University of North Dakota, Grand Forks)

DOE Bioenergy Research Centers

The U. S.Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science has established and operates three new Bioenergy Research Centers to accelerate basic research in the development of cellulosic ethanol and other biofuels. A major focus will be on understanding how to reengineer biological processes to develop new, more efficient methods for converting the cellulose in plant material into ethanol or other biofuels that serve as a substitute for gasoline.  This research is critical because future biofuels production will require the use of feedstocks more diverse than corn, including cellulosic material like agricultural residues, grasses, poplar trees, inedible plants, and non-edible portions of crops. The Centers will bring together diverse teams of researchers from 18 of the nation’s leading universities, seven DOE national laboratories, at least one nonprofit organization, and a range of private companies.  All three Centers are located in geographically distinct areas and will use different plants both for laboratory research and for improving feedstock crops. The three Bioenergy Research Centers are the BioEnergy Science Center, the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center and the Joint BioEnergy Institute. Descriptions of these three research entities are entered alphabetically within this list.

Energy Biosciences Institute

A 10 year, 500 million dollar research consortium composed of British Petroleum, University of CaliforniaBerkeley, University of Illinoisat Urbana-Champaign, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. It is EBI’s goal for their Web site to become the primary repository of knowledge on energy bioscience — including development outside of EBI's charter. EBI understands that visitors to their Web site can also be sources of important information about bioscience and renewable energy. If you have a link to bioscience related Web site please feel free to submit it via email to (This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you will need JavaScript enabled to view it)


130 Calvin Laboratory
MC 5230
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720
Phone: 510-643-6302

Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center

DOE Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center
The DOE Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center is led by the   University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin, in close collaboration with Michigan State University in East Lansing,   Michigan. Collaborators include: DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory   in Richland, Washington; Lucigen Corporation in Middleton,   Wisconsin; University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida; DOE’s Oak   Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Illinois State   University in Normal, Illinois; and Iowa State University in Ames,   Iowa.

The Institute for MassachusettsBiofuels Research

Iowa Energy Center (Iowa State University)

Joint BioEnergy Institute

DOE Joint BioEnergy Institute
The DOE Joint BioEnergy Institute, located in Emeryville, CA, is a partnership of researchers from three National labs and three universities. It is led by DOE’s Lawrence  Berkeley National Laboratory. Collaborators include: Sandia National Laboratories;   DOE’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; University of   California - Berkeley; University of California- Davis; and The Carnegie Institution at Stanford   University. JBEI’s research programs will apply advanced research technologies to develop environmentally friendly biofuels using plant biomass and microbes. In addition to the research partners, JBEI will establish industrial collaborations to bring relevant scientific and market capabilities in areas such as energy, agribusiness, and biotechnology.

Michigan Forestry Biofuel Statewide Collaboration Center and Forest Feedstock Supply Chain Center of Energy Excellence

National Bioenergy Center

Under the direction of the NREL (see link below), unifies DOE's efforts to advance technology for producing fuels, chemicals, materials, and power from biomass

National Renewable Energy Laboratory  (NREL)

NREL is the nation's primary laboratory for research and development in renewable energy and energy efficiency; considered by many to be the preeminent site for biofuels information.

Northeast Regional Biomass Program (NRBP)

The Northeast Regional Biomass Program (NRBP) is one of five Regional Biomass Energy Programs established and funded by the U.S. DOE.  The Northeast region consists of eleven states including: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The NRBP is administered for DOE by the CONEG Policy Research Center, Inc. The program's mission is to evaluate biomass technologies and fuels and to provide objective, reliable information to consumers and policy leaders. The NRBP carries out its mission through an extensive network of local, state, and national government organizations, and partnerships with private industry. Biomass in the context of this program is defined as renewable organic materials including: forestry and agricultural crops and residues; wood and food processing wastes; and municipal solid waste (MSW).

A key component of the NRBP is its state bioenergy program. Each state program is headed by designated state representative who is listed below. The state representative is the most knowledgeable person for all state biomass activities. Each state representative is responsible for dissemination of information on biomass energy technology to the state local level. Each state representative acts as a liaison among state agencies that in some way influence bioenergy development in the state.

Connecticut, Connie Mendolia
NRBP State Biomass Representative
Department of Environmental Protection
Waste Management Bureau
79 Elm Street
Hartford, CT 06106-5127

(860)424-4081 (FAX)

Delaware, Dot Abbott
Extension Agent, Renewable Resources
NRBP State Biomass Representative
University of
Cooperative Extension
69 Transportation Circle
Dover, DE 19901

(302)735-8130 (FAX)

Maine, Uldis Vanags
Energy Policy Analyst
Office of Energy Independence and Security
18 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0018
(207) 287-5763 (207)
287-1039 (FAX)

Maryland, Chris Rice
Maryland Energy Administration
1623 Forest Drive, Suite 300
Annapolis, MD 21403
(410) 260-7207
(410) 974-2250 (FAX)

Massachusetts, Jan Gudell
Chair, Biomass Energy Working Group
Division of Energy Resources
100 Cambridge Street, Suite 1020
Boston, MA 02114

(617) 727-4732
(617) 727-0030 (FAX)

New Hampshire, Mark Toussaint
NRBP State Biomass Representative
WasteCap of New Hampshire
122 North Main Street
Concord, NH 03301

(603)224-2872 (FAX)

New Jersey, Dr. Serpil Guran, Ph.D.
Research Scientist, Bureau of Sustainable Communities and Innovative Technologies
Division of Science, Research and Technology
NJ Department of Environmental Protection
P.O. Box 409
Trenton, NJ 08625
(609)984-9383 (FAX)

New York, Judy Jarnefeld, Manager, Biomass Energy
NRBP State Biomass Representative
New York State Energy Research & Development Authority
17 Columbia Circle
Albany, NY 12203-6399
(518)862-1091 (FAX)

Pennsylvania, David Bingaman
Division Chief, Conservation & Agricultural Technology
NRBP State Biomass Representative
Department of Agriculture
Bureau of Plant Industry
2301 North Cameron Street
Harrisburg, PA 17110-9408
(717)783-3275 (FAX)

Rhode Island, Julie A. Capobianco
Executive Assistant, Central Services
NRBP State Biomass Representative
Department of Administration
State Energy Office
One Capitol Hill
Providence, RI 02908
(401)222-1260 (FAX)

Vermont, Paul Frederick
Wood Utilization Forester
NRBP State Biomass Representative
Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation
103 South Main Street, 10 South
Waterbury, VT 05671-0601
(802)244-1481 (FAX)

Office of Bioenergy Programs, University of Tennessee

The Office of Bioenergy Programs at the University of Tennessee is actively working toward a secure and sustainable energy future for the state and nation. Housed in the Institute of Agriculture, the Office of Bioenergy Programs coordinates a variety of research, development, and outreach programs, all involving bioenergy. The Institute of Agriculturehas research programs in biomass feedstock development and production, biomass pretreatment and processing, biomass conversion technologies, and biobased products, such as fuels, polymers, and chemicals.

Pacific Regional Biomass Energy Program

The six participating states in this US DOE program are Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington.

Southeastern Regional Biomass Partnership (note: this web site seems to be static without updates for the past four years)

The states and territories associated with this DOE program are Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, US Virgin Islands, Virginia and West Virginia.

SunGrant Initiative

The Sun Grant Initiative is a national network of land-grant universities and federally funded laboratories working together to further establish a biobased economy. These institutes are at the forefront of research and innovation involving bioenergy and biofuels production and they have the history, technology and resources available to lead the nation towards a renewable, sustainable, domestic energy industry. Sun Grant Centers are also charged with reviving America’s farming communities by placing an emphasis on rural economic development through the production of biobased renewable energy feedstocks. The five coordinating centers are based with Cornell University, Oklahoma State University, Oregon State University, South Dakota State University, and the University of Tennessee.

Western Regional Biomass Energy Program

The thirteen participating states in this US DOE program are: Arizona, California, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.