USDA Pumps $136 Million Into Biofuels R&D


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded $136 million in grants to support five major research projects aimed at further developing the domestic biofuels industry.

A research team from the University of Washington has received $40 million to focus on using sustainably grown woody energy crops to produce biogasoline and renewable aviation fuel, and a team led by Washington State University received $40 million to convert closed timber mills into bioenergy development centers.

Iowa State University received $25 million to lead the development of a regional biomass production system for advanced transportation fuels derived from native perennial grasses, such as switchgrass, big bluestem and Indian grass. Also, a team of researchers led by Louisiana State University received $17.2 million to enable the regular production of biomass for economically viable conversion using existing refinery infrastructure.

Finally, a team of scientists led by the University of Tennessee received $15 million to develop sustainable feedstock production systems (switchgrass and woody biomass) that will produce low-cost, easily converted sugars for biochemical conversion to butanol, lignin byproducts and forest and mill residues, and dedicated energy crop feedstocks to produce diesel, heat and power.

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