The US Department of Energy is making $17 million available to companies to work on developing new organisms for use in producing ethanol
from from cellulosic biomass. Cellulosic biomass has the capacity to produce a lot more ethanol than grains like corn. However breaking down the cellulose into sugars that can be converted to ethanol is difficult. Enzymes, yeasts and bacteria have the potential to efficiently break down the cellulose. The DOE is readying the money for companies that are working to commercialize the technology and expects to have a further $10 million in 2008 and 2009, depending on Congressional appropriations.
[Source: US Department of Energy]