CoolBeans writes "Making ethanol is easy. Making enough ethanol to fill every gas tank in a developed country is tricky. The Department of Energy has promised $125 million to the Joint BioEnergy Institute, a team of six national labs and universities that will be run like a startup company. They intend to create new life forms that are optimized for alcohol production. The genes of crops that produce large amounts of cellulose will be tweaked to improve the yield per acre and to increase drought and pest resistance. Microbes that produce sugar from cellulose and ethanol from sugar will be built for speed and efficiency."
The article mentions as an aside that earlier this year, "the energy giant BP gave $500 million to Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley lab, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for similar alternative energy research. That gift will fund the Energy Biosciences Institute, which will operate separately from the JBEI." So UC Berkeley and LBL are both participating in two separate energy-biotech research programs.