DOE invests $13M in 4 research projects

Source: Katherine Ling, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Department of Energy today announced $13 million for research to maximize the amount of biofuel converted from nonfood feedstocks to lower production costs.

DOE has chosen four projects in separate states that include universities, national laboratories and private companies to further the Obama administration’s goal of producing cost-competitive drop-in biofuels at $3 per gallon by 2017, according to DOE.

“By partnering with private industry, universities and our national labs, we can increase America’s energy security, bolster rural economic development and cut harmful carbon pollution from our cars, trucks and planes,” Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in a statement.

“As the President made clear in his plan to cut carbon pollution, partnerships like these will help move our economy towards cleaner, more efficient forms of energy that lower our reliance on foreign oil,” he said.

Salt Lake City-based Ceramatec Inc. could receive up to $3.3 million to develop a cost-effective method to separate oxygen from biofuel through electrochemical deoxygenation that will make it easier to process in conventional petroleum refineries

The University of Oklahoma and Madison, Wis.-based Virent Inc. could each receive up to $4 million to investigate methods of extracting carbon and hydrogen from biomass to create a substance that is refinery-compatible and can work with the current transportation fuel infrastructure. Virent is working with the Idaho National Laboratory on the project.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory, based in Tennessee, could receive up to $2.1 million to develop a microbial electrolysis process to remove hydrogen from the water found in bio-oil, which will help lower the corrosive nature of bio-oil and improve efficiency in the conversion process. ORNL is teaming up with the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; Georgia Institute of Technology; Pall Corp.; Omni Tech International; and Fuel Cells Etc on this project.

DOE announced an $18 million investment in April to fund four advanced pilot-scale biofuels projects that could help wean the U.S. military from foreign oil and that could also be applicable to other uses (Greenwire, April 22).