BP's $500m Energy Biosciences Institute has been awarded to the University of California, Berkeley and its partners, the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, offered an extra incentive to site the EBI in his state earlier this year by pledging additional funding to supplement BP's contribution. Mr Schwarzenegger said:
"I'm proud that the private sector has recognized California's leadership and commitment to clean energy. This is a perfect complement to our new low-carbon fuel standard which will cut carbon emissions 10 percent from our cars by the year 2020, and with research facilities like the Energy Biosciences Institute, California will continue to be a leader in the Cleantech industry."
Imperial and the University of Cambridge were the UK's bidders for the institute, with Imperial considering housing it in a new building in the place of the three-storey section of Mechanical Engineering, next to Tanaka. This building is still likely to go ahead, but with Mechanical Engineering and Aeronautics moving in instead.
In the centenary launch lecture the Rector, Sir Richard Sykes, revealed that the College was to create a Climate Change Institute for research into global warming effects and mitigation technologies. Sustainable energy was also identified as a key research area for the future: this will now have to be done without the support of BP.
With the BP EBI funding having gone to the United States, there is still a gap in the UK for an institute for sustainability research, funded by the British government and industry.