US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced a grant of $25m for the research and development of next-generation renewable energy and high-value biobased products from a variety of biomass sources.

USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture will fund the projects under its Biomass Research and Development Initiative, which was set up in the 2008 Farm Bill.

The funds will benefit projects of Kansas State University, Ohio State University, Ceramatec and USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Eastern Regional Research Center.

The research institutions are required to contribute a minimum of 20% matching funds for research and development projects and 50% of matching funds for demonstration projects.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said that the investment in the research and development will boost the production of clean bioenergy, reducing the dependence on foreign oil.

"The advances made through this research will help to boost local economies throughout rural America, creating and sustaining good-paying jobs, while moving our nation toward a clean energy economy," added Vilsack.