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NREL biomass-derived SAF pilot program receives additional US$350 000 funding

In the United States (US), the Department of Energy's (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) has announced that it has awarded an additional US$350 000 in funding to scientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to develop a pilot-scale system for turning biomass into sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

A team of National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) scientists has developed an energy-efficient and cost-effective process to produce butyric acid from biomass. The research has received an additional US$350 000 in funding from the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) to develop a pilot-scale system for turning biomass into sustainable aviation fuel (photo courtesy Dennis Schroeder, NREL).

The NREL team has recently published new research about its fully integrated process to produce a fuel precursor, in this case, butyric acid, from lignocellulosic sugars, or sugars derived from dried plant material.

According to BETO, butyric acid is a promising precursor for diesel and jet fuel and is typically developed from a colorless, petroleum-derived gas called propylene.

Through their research, the NREL scientists estimate that their biomass-derived butyric acid could result in a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions compared to traditional biological production routes and can be sold at 55 percent of the current selling price of petroleum-derived butyric acid.

The funding will be used to develop biomass to SAF pilot-scale system.

This work is supported by the US Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) and in collaboration with the BETO Bioprocessing Separations Consortium.

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