LANSING, Mich. — The USDA recently announced $10 million in research grants to spur production of bioenergy and biobased products that will lead to the development of sustainable regional systems and help create jobs.
“These projects will give us the scientific information needed to support biofuel production and create co-products that will enhance the overall value of a biobased economy,” said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Today, with a strong and diversified U.S. agricultural sector, the American automobile industry has a greater incentive for expanding use of biobased products while supporting good-paying jobs here in the United States.”
USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) awarded the grants through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, or AFRI.
The long-term goal for the research projects, which were selected through a competitive process, is to implement sustainable regional systems that materially deliver liquid transportation biofuels to help meet the Energy Independence and Security Act goal of 36 billion gallons per year of biofuels by 2022.
Projects were awarded in four areas: 1) policy options for and impacts on regional biofuels production systems, 2) impacts of regional bioenergy feedstock production systems on wildlife and pollinators, 3) socioeconomic impacts of biofuels on rural communities, and 4) environmental implications of direct and indirect land use change.
Among the fiscal year 2012 awards were $349,963 to Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, N.J.; $149,977 to Temple University, Philadelphia, Pa.; $348,959 to Penn State University, University Park, Pa.; and $349,952 to West Virginia University, Morgantown, W.Va.