The Department of Energy plans to launch a three-year,Â $66M grant program for research on plants and microbes to find potential sources of bioenergy and bioproducts and to understand growth of potential bioenergy crops.Â The agency said TuesdayÂ that it will provide $30MÂ to support research projects focusing on gene function in plants to be grown for bioenergy and bioproducts.
DOE also wants to explore how microbes affect nutrients in soil and the environment to gain new insights into soil processes impacting growth and yield of potential bioenergy crops. The initiative will receive $36M in funding. Â
âInsights gained from this research will ultimately help us better understand and model the Earth system and may also enable us to improve the performance of crops grown for bioenergy,â said Sharlene Weatherwax, DOEâs associate director for science for biological and environmental research.Â
Both initiatives are open toÂ academia, industry and non-profit research institutions. DOE said each funding will be awarded through a competitive process, with the first grant expected to be released in fiscal year 2019.