Energy and Agriculture Departments Provide $8.3 Million in Funding for Biofuels Research

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman and Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns today announced that the Department of Energy and the Department of Agriculture have jointly selected 11 projects for awards totaling $8.3 million for biobased fuels research that will accelerate the development of alternative fuel resources.

“These research projects build upon DOE’s strategic investments in genomics and biotechnology and strengthen our commitment to developing a robust bioenergy future vital to America’s energy and economic security,” Secretary Bodman said.

“To help meet President Bush's goal to reduce gasoline consumption by 20 percent in ten years, research and alternative fuel production needs to expand beyond corn ethanol,” Secretary Johanns said. “These grants diversify the portfolio of research by looking into new ways to develop cordgrass, rice and switchgrass in renewable energy sources.”

These awards continue a commitment begun in 2006 to conduct fundamental research in biomass genomics that will provide the scientific foundation to facilitate and accelerate the use of woody plant tissue for bioenergy and biofuels. The program was announced at last year’s Advancing Renewable Energy: An American Rural Renaissance, a conference jointly hosted by the two agencies in St. Louis, MO. The awards are part of a greater research portfolio that will help meet President Bush’s goal to reduce gasoline consumption by 20 percent in ten years.

The awards will be made through the Office of Biological and Environmental Research (OBER) in DOE’s Office of Science (SC), and USDA’s Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES) National Research Initiative (NRI). In this second year of the program, new research projects on cordgrass, rice, switchgrass, sorghum, poplar, and perennial grasses join the portfolio of research on poplar, alfalfa, sorghum, and wheat.

Starting in 2007, DOE will provide $5.5 million in funding for seven projects, while USDA will award more than $1.5 million to fund three projects; one project will receive $1.3 million in joint funding from both agencies. Initial funding will support research projects for up to three years.

Awards have been selected for:

  • University of Minnesota, $715,000
  • South Dakota State University , $420,000Mississippi State University, $1,300,000
  • University of Georgia, $400,000
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, $1,200,000
  • University of Florida, $750,000
  • University of Delaware, $600,000
  • USDA-ARS Western Regional Research Center (Albany, CA), $600,000
  • USDA-ARS Western Regional Research Center (Albany, CA), $600,000
  • USDA-ARS (Cornell University), $700,000
  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory, $1,040,000

Additional information on the individual research projects and the joint program is available on the Genomics:GTL website.

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. Additional information is available at the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service website.

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 the Biological and Environmental Research (BER) program for more information.

Media contact(s):
DOE: Jeff Sherwood, (202) 586-5806
USDA: Jennifer Martin, (202) 720-8188