DOE announces up to $90 million in project funding

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $90 million in project funding focused on designing, constructing and operating integrated biorefinery facilities.

The production of biofuels from sustainable, nonfood, domestic biomass resources is an important strategy to meet the Administration’s goals to reduce carbon emissions and our dependence on imported oil, the DOE says.

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This funding will support efforts to improve and demonstrate processes that break down complex biomass feedstocks and convert them to gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, as well as plastics and chemicals.

“The domestic bioindustry could play an important part in the growing clean energy economy and in reducing American dependence on imported oil,” says Lynn Orr, DOE’s under secretary for science and energy.

According to the DOE, the U.S. spends approximately $1 billion every three days on imported oil. Meanwhile, the Energy Department and the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that the U.S. could sustainably produce more than 1 billion tons of biomass that could be converted to biofuels, bioproducts and biopower. This would spur economic development in rural communities across the nation and those products could be used to fuel vehicles, heat homes and replace everyday materials such as plastic—all while potentially displacing over 25 percent of U.S. petroleum use and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 550 million tons, DOE says.

Prior DOE investments in biomass have helped develop a number of biofuels pathways, the department says, some of which are ready to scale up toward commercialization. The funding opportunity announcement will advance the department’s goal of producing at least three total pioneer commercial plants over the next twelve years.