Recent Press Releases

Washington, DC —  Senator John Thune announced a new bio-energy research initiative launched by the U.S. Department of Energy. The initiative seeks to fund up to two new Research Centers dedicated to advancing knowledge about the production of bio-fuels.

"I believe that South Dakota universities and companies can make a strong bid and make our state home to one of the new bio-fuels Research Centers," Thune said. "Given South Dakota's leadership in ethanol production and its capacity to grow switchgrass and other sources of bio-fuels, our state is uniquely positioned to compete for these research dollars."

This initiative is part of a series of events highlighting the first anniversary of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which President Bush signed on August 8, 2005. This long-overdue comprehensive energy policy established a new renewable fuels standard (RFS) that requires the annual use of 7.5 billion gallons of ethanol and biodiesel by 2012. South Dakota currently has 11 ethanol plants in production and three plants under construction.

The Research Centers will be funded for five years for up to $125 million. The Department of Energy initiative allows private companies and universities to collaborate on bio-energy research. Potential applicants are encouraged to submit a letter of intent by Tuesday, December 5, 2006. Full applications must be received by February 1, 2007 and a scientific merit-based peer review will be conducted after which the Department of Energy plans to select successful applicants in late summer of 2007.