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DOE and USDA Award $47 Million in Biomass Research Grants
Biomass research and development projects to produce biofuels and other products from feedstocks such as algae could help diversify U.S. alternative fuel resources.
DOE and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on May 5 a total of $47 million to fund eight research and development projects that will support the production of biofuels, bioenergy, and biobased products from biomass sources. The advanced biofuels produced through these projects are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% compared to fossil fuels.
The projects are funded through the Biomass Research and Development Initiative, and they will help increase the availability of alternative renewable fuels and biobased products. Funding is provided through USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture and DOE's Biomass Program. Each award was made through a competitive selection process, and recipients are required to contribute a minimum of 20% of matching funds for research and development projects and 50% 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 selected proposals include Cellana LLC of Hawaii, which will develop a protein supplement from algae as a byproduct of algal biofuels production; Exelus, Inc., of New Jersey, which will redesign a process to make hydrocarbon fuels using new catalysts and chemistry that avoids the high temperatures and large energy inputs required by current processes; and Metabolix, Inc., of Massachusetts, which will enhance the yield of biobased products, biopower, or fuels made from switchgrass. DOE's Biomass Program works with industry, academia, and national laboratory partners on a balanced portfolio of research in biomass feedstocks and conversion technologies. See the DOE press release and the Biomass Program website.