In field trials in Illinois, researchers grew Miscanthus x giganteus and switchgrass in adjoining plots.

The Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI) at UC Berkeley conducts research on potential biofuels crops, including the perennial grasses Miscanthus and switchgrass. EBI is a research and development organization that harnesses advanced knowledge in biology, the physical sciences, engineering, and environmental and social sciences to devise viable solutions to global energy challenges and reduce the impact of fossil fuels to global warming. As the world’s first research institution solely dedicated to the new field of energy bioscience, the EBI is focusing on the development of next-generation biofuels as well as various applications of biology to the energy sector.

“Our mission is to harness the potential of bioenergy, to make discoveries and commercialize realities out of these, which could benefit the world," says Institute Director Dr. Chris Somerville, who leads a team of top researchers affiliated with the EBI, a partnership between BP, UC Berkeley; the Berkeley Lab; and the University of Illinois. "We can see the end of the fossil fuels era. If we take account of the need to move from fossil to renewable fuels to slow impacts on our atmosphere then it's coming sooner rather than later." Somerville notes. He emphasizes, though, that the Institute's objective is even broader. Its scientists also are probing the social, economic and environmental implications of using plants for a sizable portion of the earth's energy needs.

Read more about the Energy Biosciences Institute.