MADISON- UW-Madison’s Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center recently received a major grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, and will be using the money to pivot toward new areas of research. The center is known for its research on ethanol, which it has received $267 million from the federal government for. Now, instead of focusing on ethanol, the center will be focusing on switchgrass, poplar trees, sorghum, and other bioenergy crops.

The exact amount of money that the center will receive with the latest grant will depend on how much funding the Department of Energy receives in the federal budget.

Nico Savidge at the Wisconsin State Journal reports:

A UW-Madison research center that has used the university’s largest-ever federal grant to develop ethanol technology over the past decade will shift its focus to other alternative fuels after winning another major award from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center will use the five-year grant to learn more about how to sustainably produce energy from switchgrass, poplar trees, sorghum and other dedicated bioenergy crops — those that, unlike ethanol, are not also used for food, director Tim Donohue said Monday.

The center received $267 million over 10 years from the Department of Energy for its ethanol research, which Donohue said will wind down over the next six to 18 months.

How much money the center will receive with its latest grant, which Energy Department officials announced Monday, will depend on what happens to the agency’s funding in the federal budget.

UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank warned last monththat spending cuts in the Trump administration’s budget proposal threatened funding for several research initiatives at the university, including the bioenergy center.

Ethanol has been embraced by the energy industry over the years, Donohue said, and putting greater emphasis on research to develop other biofuels fulfills the center’s mission “to generate next-generation technologies.”

Read more at the Wisconsin State Journal.