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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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National Program 307: Bioenergy & Energy Alternatives
Strategic Vision
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ARS bioenergy research…

  • Enables new varieties and hybrids of bioenergy feedstocks with optimal traits.
  • Enables new optimal practices and systems that maximize the sustainable yield of high-quality bioenergy feedstocks.
  • Enables new, commercially preferred biorefining technologies.


Program Vision & Relevance


ARS bioenergy research both exploits opportunities and overcomes problems associated with bioenergy production, and does so in a manner that maximizes the net impact from ARS research.


The growth and long-term viability of bioenergy production in the Nation are impeded by a number of technical and commercial barriers. ARS addresses technical barriers and does so by leveraging its strengths and unique capabilities to (1) pursue technical barriers that can be overcome by ARS resources and (2) provide substantial and unique contributions towards the Nation’s bioenergy goals. The ARS Bioenergy Research Strategy supports the following high-level Plans:

  • National Action Plan of the United States Biomass Research and Development Board
  • Energy Strategic Plan of USDA’s Research, Education and Economics mission area
  • ARS Strategic Plan for FY 2006–2011 – specifically, Performance Measure 2.1.1


Program Priorities


ARS has adequate research capabilities to pursue three major Research Goals associated with the ARS Bioenergy Mission.  Research priorities for each Component were developed based on input from ARS stakeholders.


Component 1: Feedstock Development

Goal:  Enable new varieties and hybrids of bioenergy feedstocks with optimal traits

Component 2: Feedstock Production

Goal:  Enable new optimal practices and systems that maximize the sustainable yield of high-quality bioenergy feedstocks

Component 3: Biorefining

Goal:  Enable new, commercially preferred biorefining technologies


Long Term Outcomes


 ARS bioenergy research…

  • Improves national security and the U.S. trade balance by reducing America’s dependence on imported petroleum.
  • Enables America’s transition to renewable sources of energy and biobased products.
  • Enables significant new environmentally, economically and socially sustainable economic opportunities for rural America, while minimizing disruptions to agriculture’s traditional markets for food, feed and fiber.
  • Enables farmers to maximize their economic returns from the Nation’s use of bioenergy and biobased products.
  • Enables important environmental benefits such as:
    • reduced greenhouse gas emissions
    • increased carbon sequestration
    • creating safe value-added products from wastes
    • maintaining the long-term productivity of agriculturally-relevant natural resources such as soil and water


For the full text of the Bioenergy Research Strategy (pdf), please click here.


This program also encompasses the multi-location Renewable Energy Assessment Project (REAP) which examines the impact of residue removal for biofuel production on soil. 

Last Modified: 10/28/2008
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