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Construction soon will begin on a planned Eastern Illinois University research lab focusing on renewable energy.

Reports from Charleston indicate officials with the university joined community members in Charleston on breaking ground Friday on the Center for Clean Energy Research and Education.

The 5,000-square-foot$, million lab will include a brainstorming "incubator" where students will be able to connect with businesses and community members to conceive future projects. The lab also will research biofuels to pinpoint which products are most effective.

The university received grants for its research using equipment funded by Charleston Area Charitable Foundation, which now is donating to the lab.

Eastern is to approve bids for construction in May, with the lab to be completed in a year.

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