Oak Ridge Laboratory Gets Share Of Federal Biofuels Grant

Washington, DC (AP) -- Officials in Washington say Oak Ridge National Laboratory will get a one million dollar share of a federal grant for biofuels research.

Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns and Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman announced eleven projects and a grant award totaling $8.3 million for research that will accelerate the development of alternative fuel resources.

In this second year of the program, new research projects on cordgrass, rice, switchgrass, sorghum, poplar, and perennial grasses join the portfolio of research on poplar, alfalfa and wheat.

Governor Bredesen's proposed state budget for next year allocates nearly $73 million dollars to biofuel projects. That includes a $40 million dollar pilot switchgrass ethanol plant. The ethanol refinery would be operated by the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The governor has said investing in biofuels can give farmers added bargaining power with crops that could end up as ethanol, provide new business opportunities and help the state become less dependent on petroleum.

(Copyright 2007 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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