July 22, 2009
Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and
U.S. Department of Energy
Secretary Steven Chu today announced the joint selection of
awards of up to $6.3 million towards fundamental
genomics-enabled research leading to the improved use of plant
feedstocks for biofuel production. The seven projects announced
today follow the green jobs and renewable energy Rural Tour
event hosted last weekend by the two cabinet Secretaries in
Virginia. These investments will further the Obama
Administration's efforts to broaden the nation's energy
portfolio while decreasing our dependence on foreign oil.
"Helping expand and diversify production of biofuels is an
example of the Obama Administration's commitment to developing a
sustainable domestic biofuels industry that can help strengthen
rural America while decreasing our dependence on foreign oil,"
said Secretary Vilsack.
"Part of the solution to the energy problem will be home-grown
energy crops," Secretary Chu said. "These projects will help us
unlock the true potential of advanced biofuels, decrease our
dependence on foreign oil, and create new jobs and a thriving
biofuels industry in America."
These grants will be awarded under a joint DOE-USDA program
begun in 2006 that is committed to fundamental research in
biomass genomics, providing the scientific foundation to
facilitate use of lignocellulosic materials for bioenergy and
biofuels. Since lignocellulosic crop plants are less intensive
to produce and can grow on poorer quality land, competition with
crops grown for food production is avoided.
DOE will provide $4 million in funding for four projects, while
USDA will award $2.3 million to fund three projects. Initial
funding will support research projects for up to three years.
Awards have been selected for:
• USDA-ARS Northern Plains
Area (Lincoln, NE), $1,182,000
• USDA-ARS Western Regional Research Center (Albany, CA),
• University of Georgia (Athens, GA), $1,200,000
• University of Georgia (Athens, GA), $705,000
• Michigan Technological University (Houghton, MI), $900,000
• University of Florida (Gainesville, FL), $643,000
• University of Nebraska (Lincoln, NE), $390,000
Secretary Chu recently posted a
video on his Facebook page and on his YouTube channel discussing
the great potential of next generation biofuels:
For more information on the individual projects and the DOE-USDA
biomass genomics research program, visit: