U.S. Department of Energy: Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

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USDA and DOE Award Biomass Research and Development Grants to Reduce America's Reliance on Imported Oil

May 5, 2011

As part of the Obama Administration's comprehensive plan to address rising gas prices, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced a total of $47 million to fund eight research and development projects that will support the production of biofuels, bioenergy and high-value biobased products from a variety of biomass sources. These investments in clean, sustainable transportation fuels will help reduce U.S. oil imports, support economic development in rural America, create clean energy jobs for U.S. workers, and protect American families and businesses from future spikes in gas prices. The advanced biofuels produced through these projects are also expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 % compared to fossil fuels.

"Permanently reducing our dependence on foreign oil and getting a handle on out of control gas prices will require our brightest scientists, our smartest companies, and strategic investments in research. The projects that we are announcing today will spur innovation in bioenergy by developing renewable resources that produce energy more efficiently and do so in a sustainable way," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "Advances made through this research will help boost rural economies by developing and testing new processing facilities and profitable, energy-rich crops that U.S. farmers and foresters will grow."

"The projects selected today will help produce affordable, renewable biofuels right here in the U.S. to power our cars and trucks," said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. "President Obama set a bold national goal to reduce America's oil imports by one-third in a little more than a decade. By developing and commercializing advanced biofuels, we will create new economic opportunities for rural communities, provide consumers with new options to fuel their vehicles, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil."

The projects are funded through the Biomass Research and Development Initiative and will help increase the availability of alternative renewable fuels and biobased products to diversify the nation's energy resources. Funding is provided through USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and DOE's Biomass Program. Each award was made through a competitive selection process.

Grant recipients are required to contribute a minimum of 20 percent of matching funds for research and development projects and 50 percent of matching funds for demonstration projects. Awardees must pursue projects that integrate science and engineering research in three areas: feedstocks development, biofuels and biobased products development, and biofuels development analysis.

The following projects have been selected for awards:

Through federal funding and leadership for research, education and extension programs, NIFA focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people's daily lives and the nation's future. For more information, visit the NIFA website.

DOE's Biomass Program works with industry, academia, and national laboratory partners on a balanced portfolio of research in biomass feedstocks and conversion technologies. For more information on DOE's Biomass Program, please visit the Biomass Program website.

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Content Last Updated: 01/25/2010