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DOE announces up to US$78 million for bioenergy research funding opportunities

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) has announced four funding opportunities totaling up to US$78 million to support early-stage bioenergy research and development.“The Department of Energy is focused on some of the most exciting research opportunities as well as the biggest technological challenges facing our diverse and abundant domestic bioenergy resources,” said US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry.

Algae in tubes (photo courtesy Syracuse University).
Algae in tubes (photo courtesy Syracuse University). Algae in tubes (photo courtesy Syracuse University).

According to a statement May 3, Letters of Intent (LoI) for the Funding Opportunity Announcements are due May 30, 2018, and full applications are due June 27, 2018. The FOAs include:

BioEnergy Engineering for Products Synthesis (up to US$28 million): This multi-topic FOA seeks to develop highly efficient conversion processes for improving the affordability of fuels and products from biomass and waste streams. The FOA seeks early-stage research proposals that cover several topics pertaining to conversion processes:

  • Innovative catalysts for thermochemical processing
  • New biological approaches for higher conversion efficiency
  • Novel bio-based products that outperform conventional materials (e.g., plastics, polymers, etc.)
  • Conversion of wet organic wastes to biofuels, bioproducts, and biopower
  • Conversion of carbon dioxide (CO2) to make fuels and products
  • New processes to break down lignin and synthesize higher value biofuels and bioproducts

Efficient Carbon Utilization in Algal Systems (up to US$15 million): This research funding opportunity seeks proposals in two areas to improve the cost-competitiveness of algae-based biofuels and bioproducts:

  • Increase the productivity of algae by improving uptake and conversion of waste CO2 emissions, such as from a power plant or industrial facility
  • Develop new, affordable technologies to capture CO2 directly from ambient air to enhance algal growth

Process Development for Advanced Biofuels and Biopower (up to US$20 million): This funding opportunity supports early-stage research to develop integrated processes for:

  • Production of cost-competitive drop-in biofuels, including renewable jet fuel and renewable diesel fuel
  • Processes to convert municipal solid waste and biosolids into biopower

Affordable and Sustainable Energy Crops (up to US$15 million): This funding opportunity supports early-stage research and development related to the production of affordable and sustainable non-food dedicated energy crops that can be used as feedstocks for the production of biofuels and bioproducts. Projects selected under this FOA will seek to:

  • Conduct small-scale field testing of new varieties of energy crops
  • Measure crop performance and environmental effects relative to traditional cropping and pasture systems
  • Define cost-effective methods for planting, harvesting, collecting, and storing biomass

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