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.


Thomas Brutnell, Ph.D., Director
(314) 587-1485

Bioenergy related projects at the Danforth Center utilize a range of model systems (e.g., algae, S. viridis, B. distachyon) and target feedstocks including Camelina sativa and Sorghum bicolor. The goal of our research is to develop novel feedstocks to accelerate the transition to a sustainable bioenergy economy.

Focus Areas

Bioenergy Grasses
Increasing biomass through alterations in photosynthesis and improved tolerance to environmental stress.
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Oilseed Crops & Algae
Engineering higher oil content and improving oil composition in feedstocks.
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Relevant Publications
Enterprise Institute Investigators publications
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2013 Highlights
View the 2013 Annual Achievement Highlights brochure
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