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Rice & Texas A&M Receive USDA Research Grants
Rice & Texas A&M Receive USDA Research Grants | USDA, Rice, TAMU, hou_txbz, colsta_bry, greenhouse gase, bioenergy, biomass, Vilsack,


Texas Business reports:  The U.S. Department of Agriculture gave research grants to two Texas universities to spur production of bioenergy and biobased products.

Texas A&M University in College Station received a $995,100 grant.  The project is designed to develop advanced biomass sorghum cropping systems utilizing improved nutrient management, rotation and decreased soil disturbance to increase carbon sequestration, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve the sustainability of biomass sorghum feedstock production in the south central United States.

Rice University in Houston received a $443,541 grant. Its project will test the need for fertilizer in future biofuel crops by measuring the yield of biochemicals needed for biofuel production. The results will be used to produce a measurement approach that is easy to operate in-field.

"USDA and President Obama are committed to producing clean energy right here at home, to not only break our dependence on foreign oil, but also boost rural economies," said Agriculture Secretary Vilsack. "These projects will give us the scientific information needed to support biofuel production and create co-products that will enhance the overall value of a biobased economy. This will propel us to out-educate, out-innovate and out-build in the field of renewable energy and help America win the future."

The two projects were part of several announced by the USDA. The long-term goal for the research projects, which were selected through a competitive process, is to implement sustainable regional systems that materially deliver liquid transportation biofuels to help meet the Energy Independence and Security Act goal of 36 billion gallons per year of biofuels by 2022.

The funded projects focus on three areas: crop protection for sustainable feedstock production systems, enhanced value co-product development, and carbon sequestration and sustainable bioenergy production.

 The grants are awarded through NIFA's Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI). AFRI's sustainable bioenergy challenge area targets the development of regional systems for the sustainable production of bioenergy and biobased products that: contribute significantly to reducing dependence on foreign oil; have net positive social, environmental, and rural economic impacts; and are compatible with existing agricultural systems.