The US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded US$3 million in funding for two projects to improve local community waste-to-energy (WtE) processes and infrastructure. These projects will explore new approaches to beneficially reuse the waste streams as energy, nutrients, and other resources.
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In addition to several other projects selected in FY22 from the Waste Feedstocks and Conversion R&D funding opportunity, these projects will further support communities with solutions to address their organic waste management challenges, as well as develop novel technologies for the conversion of these wastes into fuels.
Address organic waste streams
Organic waste streams are among the largest sources of fugitive methane and avoiding the landfilling of these waste streams can also aid towards the national goal of a 30 percent reduction of methane emissions by 2030.
This investment will enable waste feedstock use and conversion processes to produce low-carbon biofuels that reduce emissions from hard-to-decarbonize sectors such as aviation, supporting the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge.
Funding these projects will also advance the Biden-Harris administration’s goals to deliver an equitable, clean energy future, and put the United States on a path to achieve net-zero emissions, economy-wide, by no later than 2050.
Waste streams, including municipal solid waste (MSW), animal manure, wastewater residuals, fats/oils/greases, and other organic wastes, are key feedstock for producing biofuels and bioproducts.
Support local communities
The two projects selected will help support their respective local community to develop strategies to sustainably manage their waste feedstock use and create unique processes to produce low-carbon biofuels that reduce emissions from hard-to-decarbonize sectors such as aviation.
The following projects were selected under Topic Area 4 – Community Scale Resource and Energy Recovery from Organic Waste:
- National Rural Electric Coop Association Research, Arlington, Virginia (VA): Rural Energy RecOvery from Organic Waste (REROW). This project will create a series of tools and assessment software for its 900 rural co-op members to implement waste-to-energy technologies and demonstrate a regional pilot (US$1.5 million).
- Upper Salinas – Las Tablas Resource Conservation District, Atascadero, California (CA): Nutrient and Energy Recovery from Regional Wet Wastes. This project will explore the concept of a centralized biosolids conversion facility to produce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and renewable diesel (US$1.5 million).
The projects are funded and administered by DOE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO), which is focused on developing technologies that convert domestic biomass and other waste resources into low-carbon biofuels and bioproducts.