Biological Energy Research

J. Craig Venter, Ph.D., has announced the formation of three not-for-profit organizations — the TIGR Center for the Advancement of Genomics (TCAG), the Institute for Biological Energy Alternatives (IBEA), and the J. Craig Venter Science Foundation. Venter will be the president and chairman of each organization and will continue his role as chairman of the Board of Trustees of The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR), the not-for-profit genomic research institute he founded in 1992.

ROCKVILLE, Maryland – May 1, 2002 [] TIGR will continue its mission as the world’s leading research institute focused on the sequencing and functional analysis of microbial, parasitic, plant, and other eukaryotic genomes under the leadership of Claire M. Fraser, Ph.D. “Genomic science has the potential to revolutionize our lives with many breakthroughs already occurring, but as with all new areas of science the exciting path toward discovery can be fraught with complicated and ethically challenging issues. New treatments for disease, new food and energy sources are at risk without better public understanding of this new science. I have founded the three not-for-profit organizations to help educate the public and our elected leaders on these important scientific issues and to help drive the applications of genomics into environmental and social policies. At no time in our history are we in more need of higher science literacy to ensure that we do not impede research,” said Venter. As a laboratory based research institution, the IBEA staff will use microbes, microbial genomics, microbial pathways, and plants as potential solutions to carbon sequestration and clean energy production. According to the U.S. Department of Energy approximately 80 percent of all human-caused carbon dioxide emissions currently come from fossil fuel combustion. The DOE also estimates that world carbon dioxide emissions are projected to rise from 6.1 billion metric tons carbon equivalent in 1999 to 7.9 billion metric tons per year in 2010 and to 9.9 billion metric tons in 2020. This continued consumption of fossil fuels is ample evidence that there is a growing need to eliminate carbon dioxide output into the environment and if possible capture back some of the carbon dioxide associated with global warming. IBEA will work on developing and using biological pathways and microbial metabolism to produce new fuels, e.g. hydrogen, with higher energy output in an environmentally sound fashion. Researchers in the Institute will also be developing potential new synthetic cells for use as biological fuel cells. This work could have profound impacts on the understanding of microbial cell biology and life definitions, as well as a better understanding of evolutionary biology.
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