PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 16, 2012–Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack awarded Pennsylvania State University a five-year research grant today valued at roughly $10 million to develop biomass supply chains for the production of liquid transportation and aviation biofuels in the Northeast. This is the sixth such award made through USDA's Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), aimed at developing regional, renewable energy markets, generating rural jobs, and decreasing America's dependence on foreign oil.

"The creation of this biofuel system will significantly contribute to improving rural prosperity and job creation in the Northeast by funding effective public and private sector partnerships," Vilsack said in a press release.

Vilsack also highlighted USDA’s work with federal partners like the Department of Energy (DOE), the U.S. Navy and the Federal Aviation Administration to improve America’s energy security and provide sustainable jobs in communities across the country. Currently, USDA, DOE and Navy are investing up to $510 million in partnership with the private sector to produce advanced drop-in aviation and marine biofuels to power military and commercial transportation.

By partnering with industry, the research will enable private-sector partners to produce advanced ready-to-use liquid transportation and aviation biofuels. The team aims to provide business support to generate at least 100 supply contracts and support more than 50 new supply chain businesses to harvest, transport and preprocess biomass.

The project will also address education and outreach to students, citizens, landowners and policymakers to increase their understanding of biomass alternatives – including the social, economic and environmental impacts of sustainable bioenergy in the Northeast.

The full announcement can be found here.