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Chevron and Texas A&M in Cellulosic Biofuels Alliance

Chevron Corporation and the Texas A&M Agriculture and Engineering BioEnergy Alliance (Texas A&M BioEnergy Alliance) announced today that they have entered into a strategic research agreement to accelerate the production and conversion of crops for manufacturing ethanol and other biofuels from cellulose.

Chevron Technology Ventures, a division of Chevron USA, Inc., will support research initiatives over a four-year period through the Texas A&M BioEnergy Alliance, formed by the Texas A&M University System and two of its premier research agencies: the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station (TAES) and the Texas Engineering Experiment Station (TEES).

The research initiatives will focus on several technology advancements to produce biofuels including, but not limited to:

  • Identifying, assessing, cultivating, and optimizing production of second-generation energy feedstocks for cellulose and bio-oils with a focus on non-food crops;
  • Characterizing and optimizing the design of dedicated bioenergy crops through advances in genomic sciences and plant breeding;

  • Developing integrated logistics systems associated with the harvest, transport, storage and conversion of bioenergy crops; and

  • Developing advanced biofuels processing technologies.

Texas A&M BioEnergy Alliance partners in agriculture have developed exceptional high-yield cellulosic energy crops that can produce significantly more biomass per acre than most alternatives.

The development of biofuels from agricultural feedstocks requires a regional approach and research into many alternatives for the long-term energy needs of our country. We have been able to capitalize on decades of existing research into sorghum, sugarcane, forage and oil-based cropping systems, which should provide us with premier, dedicated feedstocks for biofuels and renewable energy that are sustainable within existing agricultural production systems.

—Dr. Elsa Murano, vice chancellor and dean of Texas A&M Agriculture and Life Sciences

Chevron formed a biofuels business unit in May 2006 to advance technology and pursue commercial opportunities related to the production and distribution of ethanol and biodiesel in the United States. Its research and development (R&D) activities in biofuels are currently structured around a research initiative with Weyerhaeuser Company, one of the world’s largest integrated forest products companies; a major alliance with US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL); and a portfolio of four  regionally focused university programs.

In addition to the Texas A&M agreement, Chevron’s biofuels business unit has formed research arrangements with the Georgia Institute of Technology; the University of California, Davis; and the Colorado Center for Biorefining and Biofuels, which is a consortium of NREL, three major Colorado universities and other private companies.



It is interesting to note, after reading the NY Times story recently, that even after 10 years of cellulose ethanol development, there are still NO large scale operations. So, when people say that cellulose ethanol is the answer, I have to pause and ask...when?

C Harget

I wonder what the ownership and control of any resulting patents would be? Can these august universities license the discoveries to whomever will put them to best immediate use, or does Chevron have a way to stonewall and prevent the output of all these universities from seeing the light of day?


SJC When is 2009 with project LIBERTY from POET

It will happen and the more that join that rase the better the prospects.


That plant would produce 75 million gallons per year. By the time it gets going, that might be 1/2000th of our yearly gasoline usage. If you built 100 plants like this one it might get you to 1/20th, or 5% of our gasoline usage. But by the time 100 plants come online, the requirements will be for even more fuel.

I think it is good to do this. But Carter said that we should start all of this 30 years ago, but we allowed other Presidents to tell us that none of this was necessary and that we should send warships to the gulf.

It goes to Al Gore's point in his new book. As long as our critical thinking is numbed by entertainment, sports and other distractions like the latest scandals, we will be incapable of resisting and changing the direction that this nation takes.

C Harget

Yes, it is frustrating that we can not "rewind" and act on the good advice we received 30 years ago. And, we will need a variety of techniques for harvesting a variety of biomass sources to get a high enough yeild of alternative fuels. AND...if we mandate much higher fuel efficiency, we will have a much better chance of achieving a meaningful change in our net carbon emissions, trade deficit, and geopolitical robustness.

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