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U.S. spends $6.3 million for biofuels research

U.S. spends $6.3 million for biofuels research

Chu

   The U.S. Agriculture and Energy departments announced Wednesday the joint selection of awards of up to $6.3 million towards fundamental genomics-enabled research leading to the improved use of plant feedstocks for biofuel production.

   'Part of the solution to the energy problem will be homegrown energy crops,' said Energy Secretary Steven Chu in a statement.

   These grants will be awarded under a joint Energy and Agriculture department program started in 2006 that supports research in biomass genomic. The program looks to facilitate the use of cellulosic materials for bioenergy and biofuels. Since cellulosic crop plants are less intensive to produce and can grow in poorer quality land, competition with crops grown for food production is avoided, the departments said.

   The Energy Department will provide $4 million in funding for four projects, while the USDA will award $2.3 million to fund three projects. Initial funding will support research projects for up to three years. Awards include:

   ' USDA-Agricultural Research Service Northern Plains Area, Lincoln, Neb., $1.18 million.

   ' USDA-ARS Western Regional Research Center, Albany, N.Y., $1.3 million.

   ' University of Georgia, Athens, Ga., $1.9 million ($1.2 million and $705,000 for separate projects).

   ' Michigan Technological University, Houghton, Mich., $900,000.

   ' University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla., $643,000.

   ' University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Neb., $390,000.