4 biodiesel, oilseed and biojet projects get $27M from USDA, DOE

By Ron Kotrba | July 26, 2012

The USDA and U.S. DOE announced nearly a $27 million investment in four cost-share projects involving biodiesel, oilseeds and biojet fuel.

The University of Wisconsin will receive $7 million to utilize dairy manure as a source of fiber and fertilizer. The fiber will be converted to ethanol, manure will be used for fertilizer and oil from the crops will be converted to biodiesel used in farm equipment. The goal is to develop closed-loop systems with new product streams that benefit the environment.

The Agricultural Research Service's National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research in Peoria, Ill., will receive $7 million to optimize rapeseed/canola, mustard, and camelina oilseed crops for oil quality and yield using recombinant inbred lines. Remote sensing and crop modeling will enhance production strategies to incorporate these crops into existing agricultural systems across four ecoregions in the Western U.S. The oils will be hydrotreated to produce renewable diesel and biojet fuel.

Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. will receive $6.85 million to optimize production and quality of rubber from guayule, a hardwood perennial natural rubber-producing shrub grown in the Southwest U.S., using genomic sequencing and development of molecular markers. The extracted rubber will be used in tire formulations and the remaining plant residue will be evaluated for use in biopower and for conversion to jet fuel precursors.

Finally, the University of Hawaii will get $6 million to optimize production of napier grass, energycane, sugarcane and sweet sorghum. Harvest and preprocessing will be optimized to be compatible with the biochemical conversion to jet fuel and diesel.

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