Regional Centers Coordinate USDA Biofuel Research

Posted by Scott Elliott, ARS Workplace of Communications in

Analysis and Science

Sep 08, 2023

Generic photo of ethanol gasoline fuel nozzle and corn kernels. (Source: Getty Images—via REE royalty-free license)

Renewable fuels – ethanol, biodiesel, sustainable aviation gas, and extra – are filling fuel tanks greater than ever, mitigating the consequences of petroleum-based gas on the atmosphere. The U.S. Division of Agriculture (USDA) is a serious contributor to that shift.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack established USDA’s 4 Regional Biomass Analysis Facilities (RBRCs) on Oct. 21, 2010, citing the necessity to “enhance environmental high quality and cut back dependence on fossil gas imported from overseas international locations.”

Led by USDA’s Agricultural Analysis Service and Forest Service, RBRCs coordinate the division’s current biofuel analysis applications throughout the nation into one complete program. The facilities’ portfolio contains USDA’s inner science tasks and exterior bioenergy analysis tasks funded by USDA’s Nationwide Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Though every regional heart has a focused focus, all of them share frequent targets:

Enhance biomass manufacturing effectivity;
Incorporate biomass and different devoted feedstocks;
Keep away from damaging impacts on current markets and ecosystem companies; and
Develop and use new value-added co-products.

Profitable RBRC tasks embrace creating subsequent era biofuels, bettering the atmosphere and financial system with agricultural leftovers, bettering analysis and expertise, and getting probably the most from vitality crops.

Based on the U.S. Vitality Info Administration, in 2022 america produced greater than 21 billion gallons of biofuels, which included 17.4 billion gallons of ethanol. It additionally included 2.3 billion gallons of biodiesel and 1.8 billion gallons of different biofuels, corresponding to renewable diesel gas, heating oil and jet gas.

Analysis applications carried out at these facilities help the scientific priorities outlined in USDA’s Science and Analysis Technique (PDF, 21.4 MB) geared toward remodeling U.S. agriculture via science and innovation.

A bioreactor processes ethanol. (Photo by Ryan Stoklosa)

Analysis and Science