Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Biologists Are Back 'In' Because of Biofuels
BP recently commissioned the Energy Biosciences Institute and dedicated $500 million to the Univ of California , Berkeley, Univ of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to develop biofuels. The new push for biofuels is putting biologists at the front of the corporate employment line. They are in demand for research and development on cellulosic ethanol made by breaking sown cellulose. Ethanol can be made easily from corn but is much harder to make from stalks and straw. Cellulosic ethanol is produced from such plant materials as rice straw, wood chips, switchgrass, poplar trees and corn stalks.
At companies such as Chevron Corp and ConocoPhillips, the geologists and petroleum engineers lack the skill to create biofuels. The companies now seek plant biologists, chemical engineers, molecular biologists, agronomists and geneticists for biofuels research. (The Wall Street Journal, 7-10-07)