UGA to get biofuels grant

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The University of Georgia will receive almost a third of $6.3 million in biofuel research grants announced Wednesday by U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

The awards, of which $1,905,000 for two separate projects at UGA, will help finance genomics-enabled research leading to the improved use of plant feedstocks for biofuel production.

The seven projects will be awarded under a joint DOE-USDA program begun in 2006 that is committed to fundamental research in biomass genomics, providing the scientific foundation to facilitate use of lignocellulosic materials for bioenergy and biofuels. Since lignocellulosic crop plants are less intensive to produce and can grow on poorer quality land, competition with crops grown for food production is avoided.

DOE will provide $4 million in funding for four projects, while USDA will award $2.3 million to fund three projects. Initial funding will support research projects for up to three years.

In addition to the two projects at UGA, other awards will include: USDA-ARS Northern Plains Area (Lincoln, NE), $1,182,000; USDA-ARS Western Regional Research Center (Albany, CA), $1,300,000; Michigan Technological University (Houghton, MI), $900,000; University of Florida (Gainesville, FL), $643,000; and University of Nebraska (Lincoln, NE), $390,000.

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