Over the next three years, eight institutes will obtain funding for R&D.

The DOE and USDA are awarding 10, three-year grants totaling $10.8 million to accelerate R&D of cellulosic biofuels. The grants will be awarded under a joint DOE-USDA program, which began in 2006 for enhanced research in biomass genomics to further the use of cellulosic plant material for bioenergy and biofuels.

DOE’s Office of Biological and Environmental Research will provide $8.8 million, while USDA’s Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service will provide $2 million to the following institutions: Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research ($882,000), Colorado State University ($1,500,000), University of Georgia ($2,495,000 through two grants), University of Massachusetts ($1,200,000), Michigan State University ($540,000), Pennsylvania State University ($587,191), Purdue University ($1,200,000), and Oregon State University ($2,400,000 through two grants).

“Cellulosic biofuels offer one of the best near- to mid-term alternatives we have on the energy production side to reduce reliance on imported oil and cut greenhouse gas emissions while continuing to meet the nation’s transportation energy needs,” according to Raymond L. Orbach, Ph.D., under secretary for science. “Developing cost-effective means of producing cellulosic biofuels on a national scale poses major scientific challenges. These grants will help in developing the type of transformational breakthroughs needed in basic science to make this happen.”

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