WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Energy and Department of Agriculture announced the awarding of $47 million to fund eight research and development projects that will support the production of biofuels, bioenergy and biobased products from biomass sources.

The advanced biofuels produced through these projects are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent compared to fossil fuels.

The projects are funded through the Biomass Research and Development Initiative, and they will help increase the availability of alternative renewable fuels and biobased products. Funding is provided through USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture and DOE's Biomass Program.

Each award was made through a competitive selection process, and recipients are required to contribute a minimum of 20 percent of matching funds for research and development projects and 50 percent of matching funds for demonstration projects.

The selected proposals include Cellana LLC of Hawaii, which will develop a protein supplement from algae as a byproduct of algal biofuels production; Exelus Inc. of New Jersey, which will redesign a process to make hydrocarbon fuels using new catalysts and chemistry that avoids the high temperatures and large energy inputs required by current processes; and Metabolix Inc. of Massachusetts, which will enhance the yield of biobased products, biopower or fuels made from switchgrass.