May 16, 2010

DOE and USDA Announce Funding for Biomass Research | Alison Pruitt

USdepartmentofenergy — May 04, 2010 — Cellulosic biofuels made from agricultural waste have caught the attention of many farmers and could be the next revolution in renewable biofuels production. This video shows how an innovative technology that converts waste products from the corn harvest into renewable biofuels will help the U.S. produce billions of gallons of cellulosic biofuels over the coming decade. It will also stimulate local economies and reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil.


The U.S. Departments of Energy (DOE) and Agriculture (USDA) have jointly announced up to US$33 million in funding for research and development of technologies and processes to produce biofuels, bioenergy and high-value biobased products, subject to annual appropriations.

The funding will go to several types of projects aimed at increasing the availability of alternative renewable fuels and biobased products.

The projects will aim to create a diverse group of economically and environmentally sustainable sources of renewable biomass. Advanced biofuels produced from these projects are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a minimum of 50 percent.

“As the demand for energy rises, Americans need alternative, renewable energy sources,” said Roger Beachy, USDA chief scientist and director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

“The innovation and technology that these projects develop will foster a sustainable domestic biofuels industry by broadening the nation's energy sources as well as improving the efficiency of renewable fuels.”

The DOE has also released a video highlighting how cellulosic biofuel technologies can spur growth in the domestic biofuels industry and provide new revenue opportunities to farmers in rural areas.

The video, shot at a harvesting equipment demonstration in Emmetsburg, Iowa, highlights a new way of producing ethanol from the cellulose fibers in corn cobs, rather than corn kernels.

The technology generates a new opportunity for farmers to harvest and sell the cobs that they’d normally leave in the field. To date, DOE has committed over $1 billion to 27 cost-shared biorefinery projects.

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