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January 16, 2013

Agriculture Department Invests $25 Million in Bioenergy Research

A man in a grassy field.

The USDA has awarded $25 million for bioenergy research and development.
Credit: Todd Johnson

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on January 11 awarded $25 million to four projects in four states to fund research and development of next-generation renewable energy and biobased products from a variety of biomass sources. The projects are funded by USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture through the Biomass Research and Development Initiative, and the Energy Department will make additional awards through this program. Research will help increase the availability of alternative renewable fuels and biobased products to diversify the nation's energy resources. Each award was made through a competitive selection process.

Grant recipients are required to contribute a minimum of 20% matching funds for research and development projects and 50% 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 and bioproducts development analysis.

The following projects have been selected for awards: Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, which will seek to make the oilseed crop camelina a cost-effective biofuel and bioproduct feedstock; Ohio State University in Wooster, Ohio, which will focus on an anaerobic digestion system for the production of liquid transportation fuels and electricity from animal manure, agricultural residues, woody biomass, and energy crops; Ceramatec, Inc., in Salt Lake City, Utah, which will convert lignocellulosic biomass to infrastructure-compatible renewable diesel, biolubricants, and biopower; and the USDA-Agricultural Research Service in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania, which will develop an on-the-farm distributed technology for converting forest residues, horse manure, switchgrass, and other perennial grasses into biofuels and high-value specialty chemicals. See the USDA press release.