DOE Pledges $30 Million for Bioproducts R&D

DOE Pledges $30 Million for Bioproducts R&D

The U.S. Department of Energy will invest $30 million over the next three to five years in 11 projects to develop bioproduct technologies.

The funds will also be used to establish university education and training programs in the area of bioproducts, in which chemicals, plastics, materials and other products are made from plant matter and other natural waste materials.

"Producing marketable industrial products out of plants saves energy, saves nonrenewable resources and creates jobs," said Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham. "The bioenergy and bioproducts fields hold tremendous potential for environmentally desirable manufacturing and the creation of new jobs in the farm belt."

The Bush administration's National Energy Plan calls for increasing the development of bioproducts and bioenergy. The bioproduct projects receiving funding Monday address areas identified in the Technology Roadmap for Plant/Crop-Based Renewable Resources that helps set the agenda for bio-based product research and development.

Projects receiving funding include research to convert castor seed oil to plastic and other products, and to convert soy seeds to adhesives, resins and composites; advanced membrane separation technology; new crop harvesting and storage technology; and the optimization of grain for bioproduct processing. Several laboratories will collaborate to develop a biorefinery for the production of plastics and fuels.

Three education grants will help establish multi-disciplinary education and training for graduate students in the area of bioproducts technologies. These grants will help establish multidisciplinary academic and research programs and provide stipends for deserving graduate students.

Fact sheets for each project can be found at: www.oit.doe.gov/news.shtml. Additional information on the Energy Department's bioproducts initiative is available at: www.oit.doe.gov/agriculture.

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