2016 Biomass Research and Development Initiative Awards

WASHINGTON, May 9, 2016 –The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) today announced the joint investment of $10 million towards research that will drive more efficient biofuels production and agricultural feedstock improvements.

Recipients of USDA funding include:
 
  • University of California-Riverside, Riverside, Calif., $1,297,725: This project proposes to convert poplar to ethanol and polyurethane via pretreatment and lignin polymer synthesis. Increased revenue in bio-refineries and the offset of pretreatment costs to improve overall process economics are expected outcomes of this research.
     
  • University of Montana, Missoula, Mont., $1,403,868: This project will focus on ponderosa pine and mixed, dry conifer forests to quantify ecological and economic opportunities; identify innovative management pathways to quantify financial, environmental, and social health benefits of displacing fossil fuels with forest-based bioenergy.
     
  • North Carolina Biotechnology Center, Durham, N.C., $1,873,987: This project proposes to address feedstock development to optimize production of educational resources on biomass sorghum production in the Mid-Atlantic region. 
     
  • Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H., $1,849,940: This project proposes an approach to overcoming the lignocellulosic recalcitrance barrier through physical disruption during biological processing. This can potentially decrease pretreatment costs by increasing lignocellulosic solubilization. Planned activities will extend work and discoveries to the industry through extension outreach programs.
     
  • State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, N.Y., $906,722: This project will provide comprehensive life cycle economic and environmental understanding of the production of willow and forest biomass for the use in heat and power, combined heat and power, and biofuels from hot water extraction. This project will assist in mitigating investment risk in the bioenergy sector.