Biofueling air, shipping

Source: BY MATTHEW CHOI, Politico • Posted: Sunday, April 11, 2021

The Energy Department opened up a $61.4 million funding opportunity last week for next-generation biofuels for transportation, including difficult-to-electrify airplanes, ships and other heavy-duty vehicles.

The research opportunity is focused on biotechnologies that can lead to the production of low-cost, low-carbon biofuels, and comes as part of the Biden administration’s wider effort to decarbonize the transportation sector and reach a net-zero emissions economy by 2050.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm touted the funding opportunity as “a down payment on what we need to do as a nation” during a White House briefing Thursday.

“The airline industry itself has been investing in next-generation biofuels to be able to demonstrate that it can be used, so without saying specifically, I think certainly within five to 10 years we will be able to see this deployed and available for both shipping and for air,” Granholm said.

Mind the wage gap: The secretary was also asked Thursday about what the administration can do to ensure the jobs it creates as part of its infrastructure plan will provide strong benefits and wages for workers — days after data was released that showed fossil fuel workers earn a higher median hourly wage than those in renewable energy.

“The federal government has many mechanisms for pushing out funding, and that includes bidding on projects and that includes passing it through in competitions, etc.,” Granholm responded. “In those opportunities, you can attach strings to make sure that these are good-paying jobs, that they have project labor agreements.” The same holds true for the government’s procurement power, she added.