During the next three years, the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Energy and Navy will invest up to $510 million on the next generation of biofuels, as announced by President Obama.
The investment stems from a directive from President Obama issued in March as part of his Blueprint for A Secure Energy Future, the Administration’s framework for reducing dependence on foreign oil.
Obama said the support towards biofuels cannot be the role of government alone and the White House will partner with the private sector to fast track the development of next-generation biofuels. In the U.S., the biofuels industry has been slow due to a current lack of manufacturing capabilities but officials believe this effort will help address the issues.
The initiative addresses challenges in developing technology, markets and competitive-cost disadvantages to the oil industry that will focus on creating a new industry able to sustain itself and remain profitable.
U.S. Agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack said the national biofuel industry would create jobs and boost economic opportunities in rural communities throughout the country. Vilsack said, “As importantly, every gallon of biofuel consumed near where it is produced cuts transportation costs and, for the military, improves energy security.”
Tom Vilsack, Steven Chu, the Secretary of Energy, and Ray Mabus, the Secretary of the Navy, have jointly developed a plan to construct or retrofit several biofuels plants and refineries. Mabus said finally, there was a guaranteed customer for biofuels and that could bring about the change needed. The U.S. navy aims to use 50 percentrenewable energy within a decade.