USDA Research Grants Will Help Develop Next Generation Crops for Advanced Biofuels

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced five agricultural research project grants aimed at developing regional, renewable energy markets and generating rural jobs. BIO thanks USDA and congratulates member companies participating in the projects.</p>

Creating a biomass supply chain is vital to the development of bioenergy and advanced biofuels and can bring hundreds of thousands of jobs and millions in economic development to rural areas across the United States. The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) today thanked USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack for announcing grants that will support research on sustainably grown energy crops and the conversion of existing infrastructure to biorefineries for advanced biofuels and aviation biofuels, renewable chemicals, and biobased products. BIO congratulates its member companies participating in the grant projects.

Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section, stated, “U.S. advanced biofuel production could create hundreds of thousands of jobs for researchers, plant operators, and construction workers by 2022. The rapid growth of renewable chemicals and biobased products has already created tens of thousands of jobs in a few short years. Growing the biomass needed for these biorefineries can produce 700,000 jobs and $88.5 billion in economic activity, primarily in rural areas where economic development is greatly needed. Importantly, the five-year research and development grants announced today by Secretary Tom Vilsack will support public and private sector partners in 22 states, while helping to grow an integrated supply chain of renewable biomass for biorefineries. The growth of a complete value chain of biomass and biorefineries requires coordinated support for both continued research and development and early commercialization. The benefits of sustained, consistent federal policy will be widespread. Advanced biorefineries can be built anywhere in the U.S. to take advantage of local resources and feedstocks and deliver products to local markets, while creating local jobs.”