November 13, 2009
About US$24 million in research-and-development grants handed out Thursday (November 12) by the US Department of Agriculture and the US Department of Energy will be shared by 12 projects aiming to improve the way plant-based fuels and other products are produced.
"These advancements will benefit rural economies through creation of new processing plants and profitable crops for US farmers and foresters," Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Thursday in a prepared statement.
One recipient, Oklahoma State University, aims to develop new technology to improve the way ethanol is made from cellulose feedstocks, such as switchgrass and other grasses. The university will receive about US$4 million for the project, according to the USDA.
"Innovation is crucial to the advancement of alternative, renewable energy sources, and these awards will spur the research needed to make significant progress in bioenergy development," said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack.