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CSREES Partners Video Examines How Agriculture Is 'Fueling America'

Contact:
Jennifer Martin, CSREES Staff, (202) 720-8188

January 3, 2008

USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) has released the latest episode of its Partners Video Magazine series. Episode 20, "Fueling America," shows how CSREES is funding universities and small businesses to power the United States through biofuels.

The four featured projects take a look at super yeasts recycled fats, algae and switchgrass as biomass alternatives for making ethanol.

  • Power of Green: UC-Berkeley is unlocking the chemical power of green algae for clean hydrogen fuel that that eliminates air-polluting fossil fuels in its production.
  • Super Yeast: Purdue has modified a yeast that breaks down sugars of straw and corn waste for more cost-effective ethanol production.
  • Fats To Fuel: A Small Business Innovation Research grant results in technology that efficiently recycles industrial fats into useful biodiesel.
  • Switchgrass Science: At the University of Tennessee, switchgrass is all the buzz - a plant that's farmer and environment-friendly, and a cheap alternative to high-priced corn for making ethanol.

Why make the shift from traditional fuel sources to biofuel?

Cars have shaped American lifestyles and industry for over 100 years. Latest figures estimate there are 191 million drivers for 204 million vehicles in the United States. Worldwide, there are over 600 million vehicles. If present trends continue, that number will double in the next 30 years.

Our dependence on fossil fuels to power these vehicles has come with a price. World markets and geopolitics dictate what we pay at the pump. And beyond the gas station, there is an even bigger problem. Burning a single gallon of gasoline generates 22 pounds of carbon dioxide. This abundance of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been linked to increases in air pollution, greenhouse gases and climate change. But America is beginning to meet these environmental and economic challenges brought on by the car. CSREES plays a significant role in a public/private partnership searching for solutions to America's energy dependence on fossil fuels.

Partners is a video magazine produced by CSREES. It highlights the programs and accomplishments of the partnership between CSREES and the Land-Grant University System in the areas of research, education and extension.

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 and other partner organizations. For more information, visit http://www.csrees.usda.gov.

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