As part of the Obama Administration’s comprehensive plan to address rising gas prices, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu have announced a total of $47 million to fund eight research and development projects that will support the production of biofuels, bioenergy and high-value biobased products from a variety of biomass sources.

These investments in clean, sustainable transportation fuels will help reduce U.S. oil imports, support economic development in rural America, create clean energy jobs for U.S. workers, and protect American families and businesses from future spikes in gas prices. The advanced biofuels produced through these projects are also expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent compared to fossil fuels.

“Permanently reducing our dependence on foreign oil and getting a handle on out of control gas prices will require our brightest scientists, our smartest companies, and strategic investments in research. The projects that we are announcing will spur innovation in bioenergy by developing renewable resources that produce energy more efficiently and do so in a sustainable way,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

“Advances made through this research will help boost rural economies by developing and testing new processing facilities and profitable, energy-rich crops that U.S. farmers and foresters will grow.”

“The projects selected today will help produce affordable, renewable biofuels right here in the U.S. to power our cars and trucks,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

The projects are funded through the Biomass Research and Development Initiative and will help increase the availability of alternative renewable fuels and biobased products to diversify the nation’s energy resources. Funding is provided through USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and DOE’s Biomass Program. Each award was made through a competitive selection process.

Grant recipients are required to contribute a minimum of 20 percent of matching funds for research and development projects and 50 percent of matching funds for demonstration projects. Awardees must pursue projects that integrate science and engineering research in three areas: feedstocks development, biofuels and biobased products development, and biofuels development analysis.

The following projects have been selected for awards:

Cellana LLC, Kailua Kona, Hawaii, $5,521,173. Cellana will work to develop a protein supplement from algae as a byproduct of algal biofuels production, by demonstrating its nutritional and economic value in livestock feeds. The project will characterize types of algae, assess the nutritional values of algal proteins, assess the potential for algal proteins to replace soybean meal, and develop algal protein supplements.