The US Department of Agriculture, the US Department of Energy, and China's National Development and Reform Commission have signed a memorandum of understanding on biofuels cooperation today. Both countries also signed a protocol to establish and expand science and technology exchanges to improve market access for agricultural products.
The two countries agree to work together on the scientific, technical, and policy aspects of biofuels development, production, and use. These areas include biomass production and sustainability, conversion technologies, bio-based products, and rural development strategies.
According to the USDA, the DOE and the NDRC, the pact stands to benefit both US and Chinese agricultural producers as new markets and uses for agricultural commodities and their waste products may be found through increased cooperation, dialogue, exchanges, and projects facilitated by the agreement.
The USDA and China's ministry of science and technology also renewed a 2002 protocol today that supports the United States policy to establish and expand science and technology exchanges with China to improve market access for agricultural products.
Specific areas of cooperation include agricultural biotechnology, natural resource management, dairy production and processing, food safety, agricultural product processing, biofuels research and development, and water-saving agricultural technology.
Collaborative research takes place at five virtual laboratories (U.S. and Chinese laboratories performing complementary work on topics of mutual interest) and covers issues related to grazing land ecosystems management, soil and water conservation, wheat quality and pathology, plant genetic resources exchanges, agricultural product processing, and bioenergy.
Both China and the US have set themselves ambitious biofuels and bioenergy targets. China wants to install a capacity of 30GW of bioenergy by 2020 and aim to produce 12 tons of liquid biofuels as well as to have 300 million rural citizens connected to biogas by that same year.
The US is preparing to introduce an energy and farm bill that foresees the production of 36 billion gallons of liquid biofuels by 2020.