$1.5 million federal grant boosts bio-based auto parts research image

The Ann Arbor-based Center for Automotive Research won a $1.5 million federal grant to support research using agricultural products as a replacement for petroleum in automobile parts and other products.

The award comes through the Make It In America Challenge, a national competition that encourages businesses to build and expand in the United States.

The Michigan project will provide technical assistance and skills training for at least 10 companies and is expected to result in $5 million in new sales and $1 million in new investment.

U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing and Carl Levin, D-Detroit, said 22 counties in Michigan would benefit from the competitive grant, provided by the Economic Development Administration and Department of Labor. Bio-based manufacturing is an emerging industry that is creating jobs in Michigan, the senators said.