Volume 89 Issue 20 | p. 27 | Concentrates
Issue Date: May 10, 2011

DOE, USDA Biofuel Projects Get A Boost

Funding: DOE and USDA devote $47 million to biomass research
Department: Government & Policy | Collection: Sustainability
News Channels: Environmental SCENE
Keywords: DOE, USDA, biofuels
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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Department of Energy will invest $47 million over three years in eight pilot-scale R&D projects to make biofuels and other products from various biomass sources. The funding is part of the Obama Administration's plan to bring down oil prices and reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil.

"President Obama set a bold national goal to reduce America's oil imports by one-third in a little more than a decade," Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in a statement. "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."

Most of the awardees are located in rural areas and will individually receive funds between $5 million and $7 million. "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," USDA secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement.

The projects, which include chemical endeavors, are funded through the Biomass Research & Development Initiative. For example, Exelus, Inc., of Livingston, N.J. will receive a total of $5.2 million to develop new catalysts and chemistry for producing hydrocarbon fuels that do not require the usual high temperatures and large energy inputs of current processes. The University of Kansas Center for Research, in Lawrence, Kansas, will get $5.6 million to demonstrate a new technology that generates products such as advanced fuels, industrial chemicals, and chemical intermediates in a sustainable way.

 
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