WASHINGTON, July 17, 2014 – USDA and the Energy Department today announced the selection of 10 projects that are being awarded funding aimed at accelerating genetic breeding programs to improve plant feedstocks for the production of biofuels, biopower, and biobased products.
The $12.6 million investment is part of the Obama administration's broader effort to diversify the nation's energy portfolio and speed development of new clean-energy technologies designed to reduce dependence on foreign oil. Click here for a list of the projects.
"Innovative research is a critical link to stimulating rural economies and creating jobs across America," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “These projects will not only support our efforts to provide a sustainable and domestic energy source for the nation, but also improve the lives of rural residents."
The research grants are awarded under a joint DOE-USDA program that began in 2006 focused on fundamental investigations of biomass genomics, with the aim of harnessing nonfood plant biomass for the production of fuels such as ethanol or renewable chemical feedstocks, USDA said in a news release. Dedicated feedstock crops tend to require less intensive production practices and can grow on poorer quality land than food crops, making this a critical element in a strategy of sustainable biofuels production that avoids competition with crops grown for food.
The projects are located in California, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Texas, and Virginia. DOE's Office of Science will provide $10.6 million in funding for eight projects, while USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture will award $2 million to fund two projects. Initial funding will support research projects for up to three years. The full list of awardees and project descriptions can be found online at:
New projects to be funded this year will build upon gains in genetic and genomic resources for bioenergy and biofuels. The projects will accelerate the breeding of optimized dedicated bioenergy feedstocks through a better understanding of complex interactions between bioenergy feedstock plants and their environment, allowing the development of new regionally-adapted bioenergy feedstock cultivars with maximal biomass or seed oil yield and traits leading to more sustainable production systems, such as minimal water usage and nutrient input requirements.
For more information on the joint DOE-USDA Plant Feedstocks Genomics for Bioenergy research program, click here.
For more news, go to: www. Agri-Pulse.com