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UC Berkeley EBI, Shell sign $25M partnership to fund new energy tech research

UC Berkeley’s Energy Biosciences Institute has entered into a five-year research agreement with Shell International Exploration and Production to fund research that meets the growing demand for energy in ways that are economically, environmentally and socially responsible.

The agreement is to spend up to $25 million over five years on fundamental research in the areas of global energy transition and new energy technology. EBI and Shell are now accepting proposals to initially pursue fundamental research in the areas of solar energy transformation, advanced energy storage and novel synthesis routes to create new products, and to leverage new capabilities in computational material science and biosciences and bioengineering.

The Shell agreement brings the first of EBI’s new sponsors into the institute and adds a new dimension to the research focus incorporating research in material sciences, electrochemistry, and computational analysis.

—John Coates, director of the EBI and a Berkeley professor of microbiology

The collaboration will also focus on creating new energy technology that will enable fuels derived from sustainable sources to be readily available alongside conventional fossil fuels in the market. EBI’s research focus to date has been on enabling feedstock availability—a goal shared with Shell, which currently holds 50% equity in Raízen, the world’s largest producer of one of the lowest-CO2 biofuels available today.

Shell is pleased to enter into a multi-year research collaboration agreement with the Energy Biosciences Institute. The overarching objective is to harness the power of renewable energy sources to develop the fuels of the future, create robust options for energy storage, build capabilities in computational material science and chemistry, and probe the potential of the bioscience pathways across the energy system. This agreement is an important step in Shell’s long-range research program aimed at developing more and cleaner energy to support the ongoing energy transition.

—Shell chief technology officer Yuri Sebregts

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