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.

2012 Highlights

  • Added two new scientific teams with expertise in plant-environment interactions, bioenergy, cereals and bioinformatics
  • Expanded intellectual property portfolio to 13 patents filed
  • Two Institute faculty, including Director Tom Brutnell, launched Benson Hill Biosystems using technology to boost intrinsic crop yield

Focus Areas

  • Algae Based Oils
    Research is focused on increasing the yield, productivity and quality of oils from green algae
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  • Bio Energy Grasses
    Research is focused on decoding the genomes of bioenergy crops and building next-generation tools
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  • Oilseed Crops
    Scientists are focused on understanding how oilseed crops handle drought stress and are using metabolic engineering to improve oilseed content and quality
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  • Publications
    Enterprise Institute Investigators publications
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  • FAQ
    Learn more about our research
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  • Contact
    Thomas Brutnell, Ph.D.
    (314) 587-1485