USDA, DOE partner to invest $10 million in green energy research

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Farm Forum

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced the joint investment of $10 million towards research that will drive more efficient biofuels production and agricultural feedstock improvements.

These awards were made through the Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI), authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, and are part of the Obama Administration’s All-of-the-Above Energy Strategy to enhance U.S. energy security, reduce America’s reliance on imported oil and leverage our domestic energy supply, while also supporting rural economies. This strategy has helped to transform the United States economy into a global leader in renewable energy and an aggressive champion of greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions through practical, science-based solutions.

“Advancements in bioenergy research will help protect our national energy security, reduce pollution, and bolster our energy supply,” said Cathie Woteki, Under Secretary for USDA’s Research, Education & Economics mission area. “Producing more renewable and biobased energy can also revitalize rural communities with a new economic market and provide farmers a profitable and sustainable investment through on-farm energy resources.”

The Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI) is a joint program run by NIFA and DOE to develop economically and environmentally sustainable sources of biomass and increase the availability of renewable fuels and biobased products, helping to replace the need for gasoline and diesel in vehicles, and diversify our nation’s energy choices.

Recipients of USDA funding include:

• University of California-Riverside, Riverside, Calif., $1,297,725

• University of Montana, Missoula, Mont., $1,403,868

• Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H., $1,849,940

• State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, N.Y., $906,722

• North Carolina Biotechnology Center, Durham, N.C., $1,873,987

The Department of Energy funded projects by Ohio State University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Grants awards and national program leadership for the BRDI program will be administered by NIFA and DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. A complete list of this year’s project descriptions can be found on the NIFA website.

The Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) accelerates development and facilitates deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality. Learn more about EERE’s work with industry, academia and national laboratory partners on a balanced portfolio of research in biomass feedstocks and conversion technologies.

This month, USDA is examining what a changing climate means to agriculture and how USDA is working to reduce greenhouse gases. For more information, visit the latest chapter of USDA’s Medium page, How Food and Forestry Are Adapting to a Changing Climate.