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Agriculture and Energy Departments Fund $8.3 Million for Biofuels Research

News Release

USDA: Jennifer Martin, (202) 720-8188
DOE: Jeff Sherwood, (202) 586-5806

WASHINGTON, D.C. June 7, 2007 – Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns and Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman today announced that the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Energy have jointly selected 11 projects for awards totaling $8.3 million for biobased fuels research that will accelerate the development of alternative fuel resources.

“To help meet President Bush's goal to reduce gasoline consumption by 20 percent in ten years, research and alternative fuel production needs to expand beyond corn ethanol,” Secretary Johanns said. “These grants diversify the portfolio of research by looking into new ways to develop cordgrass, rice and switchgrass as renewable energy sources.”

“These research projects build upon DOE's strategic investments in genomics and biotechnology and strengthen our commitment to develop a robust bioenergy future vital to America 's energy and economic security,” Secretary Bodman said.

These awards continue a commitment begun in 2006 to conduct fundamental research in biomass genomics that will provide the scientific foundation to facilitate and accelerate the use of woody plant tissue for bioenergy and biofuels. The program was announced at last year's Advancing Renewable Energy: An American Rural Renaissance , a conference jointly hosted by the two agencies in St. Louis , MO. The awards are part of a greater research portfolio that will help meet President Bush's goal to reduce gasoline consumption by 20 percent in ten years.

The awards will be made through USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service for the National Research Initiative and the Office of Biological and Environmental Research in DOE's Office of Science. This second year of competitive fundamental biofuel broadens to projects on maize, cordgrass, rice, switchgrass, sorghum, poplar, and perennial grasses that join the portfolio of research on poplar, alfalfa, sorghum, and wheat.

In 2007, DOE will fund seven projects for more than $5.5 million, while USDA will award more than $1.5 million to fund three projects; one project will receive $1.3 million in joint funding from both agencies. Initial funding will support research projects for up to four years at:

  • University of Minnesota (USDA-ARS facility), $715,000
  • South Dakota State University, $420,000
  • Mississippi State University, $1,300,000 ($600,000 from USDA and $700,000 from DOE)
  • University of Georgia, $400,000
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, $1,200,000
  • University of Florida, $750,000
  • University of Delaware, $600,000
  • USDA-ARS Western Regional Research Center (Albany, CA), $600,000
  • USDA-ARS Western Regional Research Center (Albany, CA), $600,000
  • USDA-ARS (Cornell University), $700,000
  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory, $1,040,000

Information on the individual research projects and the joint program is available at: http://genomicsgtl.energy.gov/research/DOEUSDA/index.shtml

CSREES advances knowledge for agriculture, the environment, human health and well-being, and communities by supporting research, education and extension programs in the Land-Grant University System. For more information, visit http://www.csrees.usda.gov for more information.

The Department of Energy's Office of Biological and Environmental Research manages a diverse portfolio of research to develop fundamental biological information and to advance technology in support of DOE's missions in biology, medicine and the environment. Visit http://sc.doe.gov/ober/ober_top.html for more information.