USDA awards $25M to research advanced fuels

Source: Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, January 14, 2013

The Department of Agriculture today awarded grant funding worth $25 million to projects aimed at researching renewable fuels and bio-based products.

The grants are funded through USDA and the Department of Energy’s joint Biomass Research and Development Initiative formed in 2008 to build up both the nation’s biofuel capacity and the supply of advanced fuel feedstocks.

Among the awards announced today, Kansas State University will receive a $5.1 million grant to grow and harvest camelina, an oilseed crop used in the production of biofuels, adhesives, coatings and composites.

Ohio State University will receive a $6.5 million grant to develop an anaerobic digestion system to produce fuels and electricity from manure, agricultural residues, woody biomass and energy crops.

Ceramatec Inc. in Salt Lake City will also receive a $6.5 million grant to convert hybrids of energy sorghum and other biomass resources into drop-in renewable diesel and biolubricants, as well as animal feed and biopower.

USDA’s Agricultural Resource Service in Wyndmoor, Pa., will receive $6.9 million to develop on-farm processes to convert forest residues, horse manure and perennial grasses into biofuels and chemicals.

All projects will develop life-cycle analyses to examine sustainability and whether the technologies will affect food crop systems and the surrounding environment.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the grants at Renmatix Inc., a manufacturer of sugars for biofuels and bio-based chemicals in King of Prussia, Pa. The secretary also today commissioned the company’s multiple-feedstock processing center, which will break down hardwoods, perennial grasses, agricultural residues, softwoods and waste streams into sugars.