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Energy | Environment

Washington Rakes In Federal Biofuels Research Cash

Washington’s two big universities are getting $80 million to help prime the Northwest as a font for wood-based biofuel.

The Obama administration sent Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to Seattle Wednesday to announce the grants to the University of Washington and Washington State University. The grants are part of $136 million in research and development grants spread out among 22 states.

Here’s a look at the grants to the UW and WSU, according to Vilsack’s office:

  • A research team from the University of Washington received $40 million to focus on using sustainably grown woody energy crops to produce biogasoline and renewable aviation fuel. A consortium of eight organizations will work throughout the entire woody biomass supply chain to promote the financing, construction and operation of multiple biorefineries, while reaching out to landowners and land managers, as well as regional K-12 and college students and faculty, to foster workforce development opportunities across the supply chain.

  • A research team led by Washington State University received $40 million to convert closed timber mills into bioenergy development centers, improving the economic potential of rural communities affected by the downturn in timber production. The team will focus on feedstock development, sustainable forest production and establishing new methods to identify the most promising plant lines for biofuel conversion. The project aims to develop a regional source of renewable aviation fuel for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

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