US commits $10m to biofuel research

Seven US universities will receive funding for research to make biofuel production more efficient and less costly.

The US government has committed $10 million for research on biofuels production and feedstock improvements at US universities.

The funding will go towards research to improve efficiency and reduce the cost of converting forest-based biomass into renewable fuels.

The funds were awarded through the US Biomass Research and Development Initiative, a program to reduce US reliance on oil imports, administered by the US Department of Energy and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The University of California-Riverside, the University of Montana, Dartmouth College, the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, North Carolina Biotechnology Centre, Ohio State University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, all received funding from the project.

Increased domestic production and consumption of biofuels has been an ongoing goal of the US government, and the USDA has invested $332 million in renewable energy research since 2009.

According to the US Energy Information Administration, consumption of biodiesel and ethanol has increased in each of the last three years, if projections for 2016 are included. Ethanol consumption in the US grew 5 percent between 2013 and 2016, while biodiesel grew by 27 percent during the same period.