U.S. sinks $12 million into biofuels

Sept. 1, 2011 at 10:33 AM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 1 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Energy announced it was doling out $12 million to support biofuels projects that will work to replace conventional gasoline.

Three small-scale projects in Illinois, North Carolina and Wisconsin get federal funding to help commercialize a process that uses heat and other catalysts to convert biomass into liquid fuel. These, in turn, could go directly into the supply chain to be used as replacements to conventional gasoline.

"These investments aim to accelerate the discovery of innovative solutions that could drive down the cost of biofuels production and boost their availability in the marketplace," Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in a statement.

The U.S. departments of Energy, Agriculture and Navy announced plans in August to invest up to $510 million during the next three years in partnerships with the private sector. This plan would help advance the use of biofuels to power military and commercial transportation, the departments said.

U.S. President Barack Obama said advancing biofuels would contribute to U.S. energy security plans. The United States lacks the manufacturing capabilities to take full advantage of the alternative fuel, however.

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