As President Obama went to Ohio State University to discuss the Administration's all-out, all-of-the-above strategy for American energy, the White House announced up to $35 million over three years to support research and development in advanced biofuels, bioenergy and high-value biobased products. The projects funded through the Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI) – a joint program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Energy Department (DOE) – will help develop economically and environmentally sustainable sources of renewable biomass and increase the availability of renewable fuels and biobased products that can help replace the need for gasoline and diesel in vehicles and diversify our energy portfolio. Today's announcement to invest in advanced biofuels supports President Obama's blueprint for an economy fueled by homegrown, alternative energy sources designed and produced by American workers. These investments 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," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "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."

"President Obama called for an all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy and advances technologies that will help reduce our dependence on foreign oil and save money for American consumers," said Secretary Chu. "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."

For fiscal year 2012, applicants seeking BRDI funding must propose projects that integrate science and engineering research in the following three technical areas that are critical to the broader success of alternative biofuels production:

Feedstock Development

Funding will support research, development and demonstration activities for improving biomass feedstocks and their supply, including the harvest, transport, preprocessing, and storage necessary to produce biofuels and biobased products.

Biofuels and Biobased Products Development

Research, development and demonstration activities will support cost-effective technologies to increase the use of cellulosic biomass in the production of biofuels and biobased products. Funding will also support the development of a wide range of technologies to produce various biobased products, including animal feeds and chemicals that can potentially increase the economic viability of large-scale fuel production in a biorefinery.

Biofuels Development Analysis

Projects will develop analytical tools to better evaluate the effects of expanded biofuel production on the environment and to assess the potential of using federal land resources to sustainably increase feedstock production for biofuels and biobased products.

Integrating multiple technical areas in each project will encourage collaborative problem-solving approaches, enable grantees to identify and address knowledge gaps, and facilitate the formation of research consortia.