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Public and Private Sectors Applaud USDA Announcement to Spur Job Creation in Research, Development and Production of Next Generation Biofuels

Wed, 09/28/2011

WASHINGTON, Sept. 28, 2011– Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced five major agricultural research projects today aimed at developing regional, renewable energy markets, generating rural jobs, and decreasing America’s dependence on foreign oil. Altogether, the five-year program will deliver more than $136 million in research and development grants to public and private sector partners in 22 states.

Leaders from academia and the public and private sectors praised the efforts as an opportunity to create thousands of new jobs and drive economic development in rural communities across America by building the framework for a competitively-priced, American-made biofuels industry.

Patty Murray, United States Senator:

“This is a significant investment in biofuel production research, and the work at both Washington State University and the University of Washington will help ensure that Washington state remains a national leader in renewable energy research and development. The research will focus on energy sources unique to Washington state, such as wood-based biofuel from forests in the Pacific Northwest. Investing in renewable energy technology will create jobs and economic growth, foster energy independence, and promote environmental sustainability.”

Maria Cantwell, United States Senator:

“Every step in the process of making alternative fuels can mean real economic opportunity for Washington state. I’m proud that our state’s leading universities are on the cutting edge of biofuels research to help make this opportunity a reality. This investment will bolster groundbreaking research, create local jobs, help commercialize biofuels, and reduce our nation’s dangerous over-reliance on fossil fuels. The investment announced today will leverage the resources of our entire region, helping build up a biofuels supply chain and boost clean energy job growth across the nation.”

Jay Inslee, United States Congressman:

“The world wants clean and renewable bio-fuels and Washington State is poised to provide them. We have the innovative people and established facilities to take the lead in producing these fuels. This is a huge economic opportunity for our state that has the potential to create new jobs and we won’t let it pass.”

Michael Young, President, University of Washington:

“This represents groundbreaking work in developing renewable energy and is exactly what universities like ours should be doing to help the nation become more energy independent. If successful, the effort will help revitalize the Pacific Northwest’s forestry sector by establishing a sustainable advanced biofuels industry that supports both large and small forest landowners and generates jobs in rural communities. It is a very smart investment by the federal government in the university, which in turn helps secure the future. It is exactly the kind of investment our nation needs right now.”

Elson S. Floyd, President, Washington State University:

“Washington State University is excited to be playing a central role in this important partnership. Our university has a long history of working closely with the USDA; this grant represents a significant milestone in that relationship. It will allow WSU scientists and their colleagues in the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance to explore new avenues in renewables research and biofuels production. In the long run, our economy and environment will be the beneficiaries.”

Duane M. Nellis, President, University of Idaho:

“These strategic and significant awards from the USDA will help us develop the next generation of energy leaders for industry, government and the civic sector. We are excited to build these important partnerships that will improve the biofuels and overall science literacy of public school teachers and our faculty who are educating our future citizens.”

Jim Imbler, President and Chief Executive Officer, ZeaChem:

“ZeaChem appreciates the USDA’s leadership in advancing the commercialization of cellulosic biofuels. This grant will allow ZeaChem to further build out our economic and sustainable product platform beyond ethanol, utilizing cellulosic feedstocks. ZeaChem and its partners will commercialize advanced ‘drop-in’ biofuels, for both commercial and military applications, throughout the Pacific Northwest region.”

Jeff Nuss, President and Chief Executive Officer, GreenWood Resources:

“GreenWood Resources appreciates USDA’s recognition of our Forest Stewardship Council-certified hybrid poplar farms and efforts to develop non-food feedstock resources for the production of advanced biofuels and biobased chemicals. We believe there is a great opportunity and future in serving this country’s renewable energy goals through this grant.”

Miles Drake, Senior Vice President for Research and Development, Weyerhaeuser:

“Weyerhaeuser is proud to bring more than 110 years of accumulated forestry experience, a deep understanding of sustainable practices and the know-how to transform wood into valuable materials to support this initiative. We are excited to be working with a powerful team of university, government and large and small companies with the goal to make the Northwest a global center for production of sustainable fuels from forest resources so that we contribute to the safety and security of the nation and bring high- quality jobs to the region.” Mark Reis, Managing Director, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport: “We are pleased to see this important grant come to our region, the home of aviation businesses and universities that are invested in the sustainability of our industry and the importance of regional aviation biofuel development. This region has a wealth of research capability and knowledge. This work also addresses one of the recommendations of the Sustainable Aviation Fuels Northwest (SAFN) study released earlier this year with our aviation partners. We recognize in order for us to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we cannot do it without aviation biofuels.”

Nicholas Calio, President and CEO, Air Transport Association of America

“The Air Transport Association of America (ATA) commends the U.S. Department of Agriculture for its leadership in advancing the development and deployment of advanced biofuels for use in aviation. Our members are committed to reducing our environmental impact, and to supporting the development and commercial-scale domestic production of aviation biofuels that will enable us to meet that goal, with secure and sustainable energy that will reduce our dependence on oil.”


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