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Energy

Biofuels Research Gets Federal Support

by Andrea Widener
July 9, 2012 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 90, ISSUE 28

The Obama Administration will boost its support for biofuels with a $62 million investment in research and production. The Navy, the Department of Energy, and USDA announced on July 2 that they will together put up $30 million for commercial-scale plants producing drop-in biofuels, which are fuels that can be used in existing vehicle systems without engine modifications. The federal investments require matching funds from companies that produce biofuel versions of jet or diesel fuels. In addition, DOE is providing $20 million in demonstration projects that aim to produce fuels from nonfood biomass feedstocks, waste-based materials, or algae. DOE will also provide $12 million to support eight research projects that use synthetic biology to design biological systems to better break down raw feedstocks and convert them into biofuels. “Our reliance on foreign oil is a significant military vulnerability,” says Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. “This funding opportunity is an important step in accelerating an economically self-sufficient alternative fuels market.”

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