Speaking at Ohio State University Thursday, President Obama announced that up to $35 million over three years will be provided to support research and development in advanced biofuels, bioenergy and high-value biobased products. The projects funded through the Biomass Research and Development Initiative will help cut America's oil imports, develop clean alternative energy technologies, and protect American families and businesses from the ups and downs of the global oil market.
"USDA's partnership with the Department of Energy aims to improve our country's energy security and provide sustainable jobs in communities across the country," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. "This funding represents the kind of innovation we need to build American-made, homegrown biofuels and biobased products that will help to break our dependence on foreign oil and move our nation toward a clean energy economy."
Energy Secretary Steven Chu says that investing in next-generation biofuels helps boost the competitiveness of the U.S. biofuels industry, supports economic development in rural communities, and creates skilled jobs for American workers.
The funding will support feedstock development, biofuels and biobased products development, and biofuels development analysis.
In a related matter, USDA is accepting applications for the next round of Biomass Crop Assistance Program Project Areas until April 23, 2012. USDA Farm Service Agency Administrator Bruce Nelson points out that BCAP provides incentives to farmers and forest landowners to grow non-food crops to be processed into biofuels. These are crops that can grow where other crops cannot.
This program provides farmers with new opportunities to diversify into more markets. But, because most energy crops are perennial and take time to mature before harvest, BCAP is designed so that sufficient quantities of feedstock will be available to meet future demand.
The BCAP Project Areas where these crops are grown will be selected from proposals producers or biomass facilities submit to FSA. Information about submitting a proposal can be found on the www.grants.gov website.