August 10, 2006

U.S. D.O.E.: Funding Awards for Biofuels Research

In recent press releases, the Secretaries of the Department Energy and the Department of Agriculture made two announcements relevant to bioconversion. First, they announced the awarding of research funding to companies and schools performing biofuels research into cellulosic materials. They also announced the addition of twelve industry members to the Biomass Research and Development Technical Advisory Committee.

USDA and DOE Fund Nine Genomics Projects For Bioenergy and Biofuels Research
9 August 2006

The US Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Energy (DOE) have jointly awarded nine grants totaling $5.7 million for bio-based fuels research intended to accelerate the development of alternative fuel resources.

USDA’s Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES) and DOE’s Office of Biological and Environmental Research (OBER) awarded the grants. CSREES and OBER jointly initiated this fundamental research program to facilitate the use of woody plant tissue, specifically lignocellulosic materials, for bioenergy or biofuels. The research projects will focus on poplar, alfalfa, sorghum, wheat and other grasses.

These research projects build upon DOE’s strategic investments in genomics, to accelerate scientific discovery and promote the development of alternative energy sources vital to America’s energy and economic security.
—Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman

To be a reliable renewable energy source, farmers and ranchers will need to be able to grow biomass in large quantities. This joint research initiative will address our nation’s need for alternative energy resources and improve the efficiency with which biomass and plant feedstocks are used to produce renewable fuels such as ethanol.
—Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns

The Secretaries also announced the appointment of twelve members to serve on the Biomass Research and Development Technical Advisory Committee. Committee members assist the Departments of Agriculture and Energy in meeting important national goals of a healthier rural economy and improved national energy security. Members of the Committee represent backgrounds such as the biofuels industry, academia with expertise in biobased fuels and products, commodity trade associations, environmental and conservations organizations, State governments, and agricultural economics.

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