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USDA and DOE Fund Genomics Projects For Bioenergy Fuels Research

August 9, 2006 - 8:43am

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WASHINGTON, DC - Aug. 9, 2006 - Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman and Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns today announced that the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Energy (DOE) have jointly awarded nine grants totaling $5.7 million for biobased fuels research that will accelerate the development of alternative fuel resources.

Bodman commented, "These research projects build upon DOE's strategic investments in genomics, to accelerate scientific discovery and promote the development of alternative energy sources vital to America's energy and economic security."

"To be a reliable renewable energy source, farmers and ranchers will need to be able to grow biomass in large quantities," Johanns said.  "This joint research initiative will address our nation's need for alternative energy resources and improve the efficiency with which biomass and plant feedstocks are used to produce renewable fuels such as ethanol."

USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES) and DOE's Office of Biological and Environmental Research (OBER) awarded the grants.  CSREES and OBER jointly initiated this fundamental research program to facilitate the use of woody plant tissue, specifically lignocellulosic materials, for bioenergy or biofuels.  The research projects will focus on poplar, alfalfa, sorghum, wheat and other grasses.

This is the first year CSREES and OBER have solicited competitive grants in this joint program.  DOE is funding six projects for a total of nearly $3.9 million.  USDA granted more than $1.8 million to fund three projects.  Initial funding will support research projects for up to three years.

Awards have been given to:

  • Purdue University, Ind., $1.4 million
  • The Noble Foundation, Okla., $800,000
  • Texas A&M University, Texas, $800,000
  • USDA-Agricultural Research Service, University of Wisconsin, $333,000
  • Carnegie Institute of Washington, $359,100
  • Brookhaven National Laboratory, NY, $300,000
  • North Carolina State University , $700,000
  • Kansas State University, $700,000
  • University of Georgia, $445,000

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.  Visit http://www.csrees.usda.gov/ for more information.

OBER manages a diverse portfolio of research to develop fundamental biological information and to advance technology in support of DOE's missions in biology, medicine and the environment.  Visit http://www.sc.doe.gov/Program_Offices/BER.htm for more information.

Media contact(s):

CSREES: Jennifer Martin, (202) 720-7185
DOE: Jeff Sherwood, (202) 586-5806

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