DOE invests $80M to accelerate bioenergy R&D, 36 projects picked: the complete details

Source: By Jim Lane, Biofuels Digest • Posted: Thursday, September 6, 2018

In Washington, the U.S. Department of Energy announced the selection of 36 projects totaling $80 million to support early-stage bioenergy research and development.

It’s one of the largest group announces of projects in a long time from the BioEnergy technologies Office, with individual federal shares of up to $5 million.

19 academic and research institutes picked up awards, with the University of Illinois, North Carolina State, Georgia Tech and Arizona State each picking up two awards. Also, 12 project leaders were private companies, and LanzaTech picked up two awards for projects they are leading.

According to DOE, this round of selections “will enable cost-competitive, drop-in renewable hydrocarbon fuels, bio-based products, and power from non-food biomass and waste feedstocks. This work supports the Department of Energy’s (DOE) goal of reducing the cost of bio-based drop-in fuels to $3/gallon by 2022 to continue to provide consumers with affordable, reliable transportation energy choices.”

Four areas of interest

Today’s selections stem from four funding opportunities:

·  BioEnergy Engineering for Products Synthesis (up to $28 million): 

16 selectees will create highly efficient conversion processes to increase the affordability of fuels from biomass and waste feedstocks by improving catalysts and new biological systems, identifying ways to better utilize waste streams like carbon dioxide (CO2) and biosolids, and creating high-value co-products that can improve the economic viability of biofuels production.

· Efficient Carbon Utilization in Algal Systems (up to $15 million):

7 selections will improve the efficiency of carbon utilization and productivity of algal systems either through improving uptake and conversion of waste (CO2) emissions—such as from a power plant or industrial facilities—or through the development of new, affordable technologies to capture (CO2) directly from ambient air to enhance algal growth.

· Process Development for Advanced Biofuels and Biopower (up to $22 million): 

10 selections will research integrated processes for the production of biopower from biosolids and cost-competitive, renewable drop-in biofuels and bioproducts from domestic biomass feedstocks and waste resources.

· Affordable and Sustainable Energy Crops (up to $15 million): 

3 selections will conduct early-stage R&D related to the production of affordable and sustainable non-food dedicated energy crops that can be used as feedstocks for the production of biofuels, bioproducts, and biopower.

The project recipients

Reaction from the stakeholders

“The selections announced today highlight some of the most innovative and advanced bioenergy technologies that have the potential to produce new sources of reliable and affordable energy for American families and businesses,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. “Developing all of our domestic energy resources is critical to keeping our nation prosperous and secure.”

More on the story at DOE, here.