It’s a commitment to fuel alternatives and the cutting-edge technologies of tomorrow.

Sustaining the environment for future generations

The Enterprise Rent-A-Car Institute for Renewable Fuels is a research unit within the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center that was established in 2007 with a generous grant from the Taylor family. The mission of the Enterprise Institute is to create the next generation of alternative fuel technologies by enhancing the potential of oilseed crops, algae and bioenergy grasses as sources of sustainable bioenergy to someday be used on a larger scale to fuel cars, trucks and aircraft.

The Enterprise Rent-A-Car Institute for Renewable Fuels focuses on three key areas:

Boosting discovery by exploring the fundamental science of genes and systems and how they convert to solar energy and oils.

Driving innovation by developing new technologies to better understand the constraints of turning plants in fuels.

Accelerating research so plant and algal-based oils can be produced for use on a commercial scale.

A Shuttle Fleet That Runs on Alternative Fuels

We are embracing cleaner fuel and engine technologies in our shuttle fleets. Most of our shuttle buses run on cleaner fuels.

Sustainable Energy Research

In 2013, the Enterprise Holdings Foundation established an endowment for sustainable energy research at the University of Missouri. Early research shows that about 116 million acres of land along the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers are ideal for growing biomass, and using just five percent of that land could yield up to seven billion gallons of biofuel per year.

Scientific Highlights

Technologies are constantly evolving to enhance the potential of bioenergy crops that could someday be used to power cars, trucks and aircraft. Additional research is investigating ways to create renewable fuels from soybeans, camelina and other plant sources.


Meet Thomas Brutnell, PH.D.

Meet Thomas Brutnell, PH.D.
As the Director of the Enterprise Rent-A-Car Institute for Renewable Fuels, a primary objective of Tom’s program is to expand the research portfolio to include ways to improve biofuels on a larger scale production level.


Licensed technologies to the private sector


Research collaborations with partners in the U.S., South America, Europe, Africa and Asia


Bioenergy patent applications

The Enterprise Institute for Renewable Fuels is committed to training collaborative teams from local high schools and beyond to focus on the fuels of the future.


The Enterprise Institute for Renewable Fuels is proud to involve students from local schools. Each year hundreds of high school students participate in the Mutant Millets program, with teachers and plant scientists, to help discover new plant traits. Undergrad students are also trained in the labs through summer internships, as well as postdoctoral trainees and graduate students.

Learn more about their discoveries
Woman looking under microscope