National biofuels plan developed by USDA, DOE

A National Biofuels Action Plan (NBAP) to accelerate the development of a sustainable biofuels industry has been developed by the Biomass Research and Development Board that is co-chaired by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Energy (DOE), according to board information.

The NBAP identifies key research challenges and defines clear interagency actions critical to developing the science and technology needed to make next-generation, cellulosic biofuels cost-effective so as to grow a biofuels industry and supply chain in a sustainable manner, according to the information.

The plan's topics include

•Sustainability: A working group led by USDA, DOE, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is defining science-based national criteria, which will be established by November 2008, and indicators to assess the sustainability of biofuels production coordinated with ongoing international activities.

•Feedstock Production: A Board-commissioned interagency working group conducted a feedstock availability and cost study using EISA production targets. A separate Board working group is developing a long-term integrated feedstock research and development plan across the federal government, which will reach completion by December 2008.

•Feedstock Logistics: A working group led by USDA will facilitate collaboration to develop and deploy logistics systems that can supply cellulosic feedstocks to demonstration facilities.

•Conversion Science and Technology: A working group composed of DOE, USDA, EPA, National Science Foundation (NSF), and U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) is collaborating to develop a 10-year federal science and technology research plan by December 2008 for developing cost-effective means of biomass conversion and production of cellulosic biofuels.

•Distribution Infrastructure: A U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)-led group is studying the feasibility of transporting ethanol in pipelines and assessing the availability of geographic information system (GIS) capabilities across agencies.

•Blending: The Board has approved a statement on blending ethanol with gasoline in amounts greater than 10 percent (E10) and will review results of an interagency testing program to evaluate the impact of intermediate blends on vehicle emissions and material compatibility by fall 2008.

•Environment, Health and Safety: An EPA-led working group is inventorying federal activities and areas of jurisdiction with respect to public health, safety, and environmental protection.

For more information, click here for the USDA Web site.

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