Wednesday, March 05, 2008

US Bio-Energy Funding Picks Up

In the US both the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Energy are beginning to infuse much-needed basic science funding into the bio-energy sector. The grants span a wide range of topics in bio-energy.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced that combined, USDA and DOE will invest up to $18.4 million, over three years, for 21 biomass research and development (R&D), and demonstration projects that will contribute to creating the bioeconomy. These projects specifically aim to address critical barriers to making production of biomass based products - electricity, heat, biofuels and bio-based products - more efficient and cost-effective.___Source

The projects range from studies of rapid-growing biomass plants, to cellulosic ethanol systems, to micro-wave pyrolisis and thermo-chemical processing of biomass to combined heat and power (CHP) biomass. Additionally, various industrial processes for non-energy chemical uses of biomass are also being studied.

Frankly, industry itself has taken the lead in cellulosic ethanol production, so the US government should not be financing that sector. But the other projects mentioned at the Biopact article linked above appear to open doors to significant energy and industrial projects in the future.

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