Sayre to Direct Enterprise Institute Research
Richard Sayre, Ph.D., one of the nation's leading biofuels researchers, has been named director of the Enterprise Rent-A-Car Institute for Renewable Fuels at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis.
Enterprise created the institute in 2007 with a $25 million gift from the company's founding family, the Taylors of St. Louis, to support development of renewable energy sources. The Taylors – who own Enterprise, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car – operate the world's largest automotive fleet, with more than 1.1 million vehicles.
"We believe it is important to play a role in the search for sustainable, renewable fuels that can curb greenhouse gas emissions and reduce dependency on finite fossil fuels," said Andy Taylor, chair and chief executive officer of Enterprise. "Dr. Sayre and his team bring tremendous leadership to this effort."
"Attracting a researcher of Dr. Sayre's caliber speaks volumes about the work we have done over the last decade – and the pioneering work we will do in the future," Roger N. Beachy, Ph.D., president of the Danforth Center.
Much of the work to be done by Dr. Sayre and his team of 10 researchers will focus on using algae to produce "third-generation" biofuels that someday could be used on a large-scale to power cars, trucks, and aircraft. This complements the larger body of biofuels research under way at the center.
"Extracting oil from algae to produce a more sustainable biofuel is one of the most promising and exciting areas of biofuels research today," said Sayre, formerly a professor in the Department of Plant Cellular and Molecular Biology at The Ohio State University. "Algae have significant potential as a clean, renewable, and economical fuel source. And, because algae are not used as food, they are a biofuel source that does not compete with the food supply."