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USDA, DOE Announce Biomass Research Support

Agencies offer $18 million for research and development into use of crop 'waste' to make alternative fuels.

USDA and the U.S. Department of Energy are pooling their funds to support development of biofuels from biomass. The move brings $18 million to the table for research and development programs for development of biomass-based products, biofuels, bioenergy and related processes. The grant solicitations cover a wide range of potential research programs.

USDA will provide $14 million of the money offered with DOE picking up the rest. In a press statement announcing the deal, Energy Secretary Samual Bodman says the move represents "this Administration's ongoing commitment to promoting clean energy technologies to help diversify our nation's energy mix in an environmentally sensitive way."

Ag Secretary Mike Johanns notes the research grants will fund essential research and will "create new uses and markets for agricultural products."

The $18 million solicitation will fund projects in the following four categories (the share of overall funding is noted in parenthesis): the development of technologies to convert cellulosic biomass into intermediaries for biobased fuels (45%); product diversification (30%); feedstock production (20%); and analysis for strategic guidance (5%).

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