Michigan State University will receive $50 million dollars for bio fuels research as part of a $375-million dollar federal grant. The federal funding will develop a new bio-energy center for research on grass based ethanol and bio-mass plants.
"From the standpoint of national security, it's very important that we become more self-sustaining in this country in terms of our liquid fuels," said Dr. Martin Hawley, of the Chemical Engineering and Materials Science Department.
100 jobs are expected to be created in Michigan, including MSU faculty, technicians and support staff. MSU will partner with the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where the center will be based. It will be one of three new U.S. Department of Energy Bioenergy Research Centers in the U.S.
"Today is another step on our journey to create a better future for Michigan and for the united states in a very competitive global market," said MSU President Lou Anna Simon.
The idea is to extract cellulose from switch grasses, and MSU has an abundance for research.
"We firmly believe that bio-fuels can be part of a portfolio of alternative energy sources that will provide this solution to our energy needs," said Ken Keegstra, MSU Distinguished Professor of plant biology and of biochemestry and molecular biology.
The grant to conduct research is the first step to reduce dependence on foreign oil. Some believe it could be only a matter of time before grass in your own front lawn is helping fuel your tank.