MBI International has entered into a cooperative agreement with the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS), whereby MBI International will receive US$354,000 to conduct research to improve the uses of dried distillers grains and grass biomass in ethanol production.Lansing, Michigan – August 1, 2002 [SolarAccess.com] MBI’s effort is part of a broad project initiative between MBI, the USDA- ARS and South Dakota State University to develop new technologies to enhance the value of the by-products of ethanol production. MBI has been working with Heartland Grain Fuels for the past few years in an effort to provide new technologies for the ethanol industry to increase profitability beyond conventional methodologies. One such technology in development is the “quick germ” process of ethanol production, which improves ethanol yield from corn and offers higher-protein dried distillers grains as a by-product. The collaboration between MBI, USDA and SDSU will also address the development of technologies that could allow for warm season grasses to use as feedstocks for chemicals, materials, energy and fuels, broadening the range beyond traditional feedstock sources. The entire project initiative of US$648,000 includes funding at South Dakota State University and the USDA-ARS facility at South Dakota State. Senator Tim Johnson from South Dakota is a leading advocate for renewable fuels, particularly biodiesel and ethanol. He was instrumental in passing a Renewable Fuels Title as part of the FY 2002 farm bill and including a renewable fuels standard as part of the 2002 energy bill. “The benefits of this research will help lead to increased renewable fuel production, less dependence upon foreign oil, increased farm income, job creation and economic growth in rural America, and environmental and public health gains. The US$648,000 earmarked for value-added ethanol production will help build upon the work I helped start last year at SDSU to conduct research on increased production of ethanol from corn and other biomass crops,” Johnson said. Dr. Kevin Kephart, Director of the Agricultural Experiment Station at South Dakota State University, explained that SDSU and many other land-grant institutions are broadening their research, extension, and teaching efforts to include agriculturally-based energy production systems. He emphasized the benefits in working with MBI. “Agriculture will be a part of the solution to the nation’s future energy concerns. Partnerships between land-grant universities, USDA-ARS and industry as a means of technology implementation will be critical to the success of efforts in ag-based renewable energy. The work and expertise at MBI complements our interests very well and we look forward to working in this new partnership,” said Dr. Kephart.