ConocoPhillips Launches $22.5M Biofuels Program at Iowa State

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ConocoPhillips Launches $22.5M Biofuels Program at Iowa State

HOUSTON -- ConocoPhillips set aside $22.5 million for an eight-year research program at Iowa State University to fund the development of technologies to product biorenewable fuels. The grant is part of the oil company's plan to create joint research programs with major universities to find solutions to diversify the nation's energy sources.

"We believe the key to a secure energy future is the efficient and effective use of a diverse mix of energy sources," Jim Mulva, chairman and chief executive officer of ConocoPhillips, said in a written statement. "ConocoPhillips is developing long-term relationships with respected academic institutions such as Iowa State to research extensions of traditional energy sources that ultimately will benefit consumers."

The university will initially receive $1.5 million this year to support research, with additional $3 million grants each year over the following seven years.

"We are excited to work with ConocoPhillips to develop a research program that applies Iowa State University's strengths in renewable energy," said Iowa State University President Gregory Geoffroy. "The emerging consensus is that a very big part of increasing the nation's energy security will be producing fuels from plants. Iowa State scientists and engineers are well-positioned to put science to work advancing biofuels technologies."

The donation will help fund the university's Office of Biorenewables Program, which includes 145 faculty members with ties to 18 academic departments and 19 research centers and institutes across the campus. ConocoPhillips will sponsor studies of thermochemical technologies that produce biofuels, according to Robert C. Brown, the Iowa Farm Bureau director of the university’s Iowa State’s Office of Biorenewables Program.

ConocoPhillips will also fund research to understand and support environmental sustainability and rural economies, emphasizing crop improvement and production, the harvesting and transportation of biomass and the impacts of biofuels on economic policy and rural sociology, the company reported.