New Mexico Consortium to break ground on research center May 18

By Ron Kotrba | May 14, 2012

A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled May 18 for the New Mexico Consortium’s biology research facility, a 24,000 square-foot research center and greenhouse that will focus in part on biofuel production, especially fuels derived from certain plants and algae.

Partners in the endeavor include Los Alamos County, NMC, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Richard Sayre, who holds a joint appointment with LANL and NMC, relocated his research team to Los Alamos from the Donald Danforth Plant Science Research Center in St. Louis last October. Sayre and his team have received federal funding to develop renewable energy from the Air Force, U.S. DOE, the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

The Biological Research Laboratory and Greenhouse is a $12 million project with $8 million of that planned for construction. The Los Alamos County Council unanimously agreed to provide $2 million in county funds for the new building and the two-acre plot of land (valued at $640,000) it’s being built on. The rest of the construction costs are being financed with a loan from Los Alamos National Bank.

The center will be capable of housing more than 40 researchers. The 4,000 square-foot greenhouse is slated for completion this fall, while the research center itself is expected to be complete next spring.

Among the speakers at the occasion will be U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., and LANL Director Charlie McMillan.

The event is scheduled for May 18 at 4:00 p.m. at the Los Alamos Cooperative Market, 95 Entrada Drive in Los Alamos, N.M.