Friday, February 06, 2015

BP pulls plug on funding UC/Berkeley biofuel work

From California Magazine:

Eight years ago, UC Berkeley struck a historic but controversial deal with the British oil company BP: Berkeley would benefit from the oil giant spending $350 million to create a new Energy Biosciences Institute on its campus, and BP would reap the benefits of that institute’s research into biofuels.
Now, with almost $100 million still unspent, the road to cleaner biofuels has just hit a big speed bump.
BP is exercising its contract option to pull nearly a third of its funding for 2015, and more in the remaining two years—causing an estimated 150 graduate post-doctoral researchers, graduate students and support staff to lose their jobs, and forcing the institute to court other energy companies to fund its biofuel research. The decision is a troubling setback for biofuels, which advocates are pursuing as a promising alternative to climate-harming fossil fuels, but which skeptics have long regarded as a dubious investment.


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