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Energy Secretary Chu announces $6.m for biofuels research

23 Jul 2009

US Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu and US Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has awarded up to $6.3m towards fundamental genomics-enabled research leading to the improved use of plant feedstocks for biofuel production.

‘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.’

‘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,’ added Secretary Vilsack.

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, according to a statement.

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 $4m in funding for four projects, while USDA will award $2.3m to fund three projects. Initial funding will support research projects for up to three years.

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