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Wash. U. loses out on bioenergy center

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By AP/KWMU

St. Louis, MO – Washington University will not be one of the federal government sites for three new bio-energy centers. They'll instead be located in Tennessee, Wisconsin, and California.

It's part of a $375 million effort by the Energy Department to research and develop new sources of fuel and reduce gasoline consumption by 20% in the next decade. The goal is to have researchers find ways to develop alternative fuels with non-food sources. Ethanol, for example, is an alternative fuel but it uses corn.

Washington University had applied to be one of those sites. Instead, centers in Oak Ridge, Tenn., Madison, Wisc., and Berkeley, Cal. will each get $125 million. The federal government plans to fund the centers for the first years of operation.

The three centers are partnering with universities, national laboratories and private companies. They will study biomass plants such as switchgrass, poplar trees and corn stalks used for cellulosic ethanol.

The centers are expected to start operating next year, assuming Congressional appropriations are made

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