Department of Agriculture grant has awarded US$840000 to Washington State University to focus on developing plants that will be better alternatives to replace petrochemicals in fuels, plastics and other products.
The three-year award is part of a US$18.4 mln investment into biomass research, development and demonstration projects by USDA and the U.S. Department of Energy. Funded projects aim to break down critical barriers in production of biomass.
The project will focus on substantially reducing foreign petroleum imports by re-engineering nonfood plants to be used in new ways for a variety of products, including biofuels and polymers. The team hopes to develop phenols - aromatic compounds with some of the same qualities as petrochemicals in easy-to-grow poplar trees.