WASHINGTON -- U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced up to $36 million to fund six small-scale projects in California, Michigan, North Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin that will help further the technology needed to produce drop-in advanced biofuels and other valuable bio-based chemicals.

The projects aim to improve the economics and efficiency of biological and chemical processes that convert non-food biomass feedstocks into replacements for petroleum-based feedstocks, products and fuels. These selections are aimed at furthering the Obama administration's strategy for accelerating research and development that will lead toward affordable, clean alternatives to fossil fuels and diversify the nation's energy portfolio, the DOE said.

Recipients of the funding are General Atomics (up to $2 million, San Diego, Calif.),

Genomatica Inc. (up to $5 million, San Diego, Calif.), Michigan Biotechnology Institute (up to $4.3 million, Lansing, Mich.), HCL CleanTech Inc. (up to $9.0 million, Oxford, N.C.), Texas Engineering Experiment Station (up to $2.3 million, College Station, Texas), and Virent (up to $13.4 million, Madison, Wis.).