USDA, DOE Partner to Invest $10 Million in Green Energy Research

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.
 
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
  • North Carolina Biotechnology Center, Durham, N.C., $1,873,987
  • Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H., $1,849,940
  • State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, N.Y., $906,722
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.
 
Over the course of this Administration, USDA has invested $332 million to accelerate research on renewable energy ranging from genomic research on bioenergy feedstock crops, to development of biofuel conversion processes and costs/benefit estimates of renewable energy production. Through the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP), USDA is incentivizing more than 850 growers and landowners farming nearly 48,000 acres to establish and produce dedicated, nonfood energy crops for delivery to energy conversion facilities. USDA has also expanded insurance coverage and other safety net options to support farmers producing biomass for renewable energy.
 
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.
 
Since 2009, NIFA has invested in and advanced innovative and transformative initiatives to solve societal challenges and ensure the long-term viability of agriculture. NIFA's integrated research, education, and extension programs, supporting the best and brightest scientists and extension personnel, have resulted in user-inspired, groundbreaking discoveries that are combating childhood obesity, improving and sustaining rural economic growth, addressing water availability issues, increasing food production, finding new sources of energy, mitigating climate variability, and ensuring food safety. To learn more about NIFA’s impact on agricultural science, visit www.nifa.usda.gov/impacts, sign up for email updates, or follow us on Twitter @usda_NIFA, #NIFAimpacts
 

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