WASHINGTON, July 18 (UPI) -- The U.S. federal government said it awarded $12.6 million in research grants to help improve feedstocks for the development of biofuels.
"Biofuels and bio-based products offer the potential of homegrown American resources that can reduce our dependence on imported oil and also cut carbon emissions," Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in a statement.
Joint funding from the Departments of Energy and Agriculture target genetics used to improve the development of non-food plant resources for the use in biofuels and renewable chemical feedstocks.
The Energy Department says using dedicated feedstock crops requires less intensive production practices, which makes the funding a "critical element" in developing a strategy for sustainable biofuels production.
Thursday's announcement from the Department of Energy was its second this week for biofuels. The department earlier this week said California and North Carolina research institutions would share $6.3 million in funding for research aimed at generating a biofuel that could be cost competitive by 2017.
The Energy Department said it wants to produce a drop-in biofuel that would cost about $3 per gallon by 2017.