The Enterprise Rent-A-Car Institute for Renewable Fuels is a research unit within the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, and was established in 2007 with a generous gift from the Taylor family. The mission of the Enterprise Institute is to develop and apply technologies to enhance the potential of oilseed crops, algae and bioenergy grasses as sources of sustainable bioenergy. 

Scientists at the Institute conduct high-risk research with the potential to alter current paradigms for bioenergy crops. Technologies are developed to improve bioenergy grasses and the production of plant and algal-based oils with the ultimate goal of production at commercial scale.

Boost discovery. Exploring fundamental science about genes and systems that underlie solar energy capture and conversion into oils, sugars and biomass.

Drive innovation. Developing new technology to understand constraints to algal growth and productivity of bioenergy grasses.

Accelerate translation, commercialization and impact. Using Enterprise Institute discoveries to enhance yield and quality, lower environmental impact and drive private sector development. 

Focus Areas

  • Algae Based Oils
    Research is focused on increasing the yield, productivity and quality of oils from green algae. 
  • Bio Energy Grasses
    Research is focused on decoding the genomes of bioenergy crops and building next-generation tools. 
  • Oilseed Crops
    Scientists are focused on understanding how oilseed crops handle drought stress and are using metabolic engineering to improve oilseed content and quality. 

2013 Highlights   

  • 448 students in six high schools engaged in bioenergy research
  • 51 scientists were trained in institute labs
  • 36 presentations given by Enterprise Institute scientists to universities, symposia and corporate audiences across the U.S., Canada, South America, Europe and Asia
  • 26 discoveries published in scientific journals
  • 8 bioenergy patent applications filed
  • 7 invention disclosures of bioenergy technologies submitted
  • 6 licensed technologies to for-profit companies

View the 2013 Annual Achievement Highlights brochure.

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