In the United States (US), the Department of Energy (DOE) has released a US$59 million funding opportunity announcement (FOA) to accelerate the production of biofuels and bioproducts to reduce emissions in hard-to-decarbonize sectors and create good-paying jobs in rural America.
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DOE is focused on applied research, development, and deployment to improve the performance and reduce the cost of biofuel production technologies, and scale-up production systems in partnership with industry.
By reducing costs and technical risks, these efforts can help pave the way for the biofuels industry to deploy commercial-scale integrated biorefineries.
Energy harnessed from plants and waste presents a huge opportunity to reduce emissions from hard-to-decarbonize sectors such as aviation, rail, and shipping while supporting high-quality jobs across rural America, said US Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm.
The breakthroughs from this funding will support President Biden’s and DOE’s goals of advancing the use of bioenergy, achieving cost-competitive biofuels, and reaching a net-zero carbon economy by 2050.
DOE’s investment in biofuels is a key component of the Biden Administration’s effort to support clean energy technologies that increase our energy independence and move us closer to a net-zero carbon economy, Secretary Granholm said.
Longer distances require energy-dense fuels
Marine and aviation sectors require higher energy densities to avoid frequent stops to refuel for long flights, international shipping routes, and cross-country rail routes, making these industries hard to decarbonize.
Electrification is currently unable to meet these requirements, but sustainable, energy-dense, liquid biofuels are becoming a strong alternative to address these needs.
The “Scale-Up of Integrated Biorefineries” funding opportunity announcement (FOA) will advance biorefinery development and feedstocks improvement projects in alignment with a broader DOE strategy to support biorefinery projects that can produce sustainable renewable diesel and aviation, marine, and rail fuel at every stage of development.
Fostering innovation from the lab to the market helps develop biofuel technologies on a production scale and creates economic incentives for companies to adopt them.
The funding also supports DOE’s Sustainable Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge goal of enabling the production of three billion (US) gallons (≈ 11.3 billion litres) of SAF annually by 2030 and 35 billion gallons (≈ 132.5 billion litres) annually by 2050, enough to meet 100 percent of American aviation fuel demand.
Second in a series of “Scale-Up” FOAs
This is the second in a series of “Scale-Up” FOAs. In September 2021, DOE awarded US$64 million to 22 projects focused on developing technologies and processes that produce low-cost, low-carbon biofuels.
This FOA is expected to fund between four and 20 projects.
Applicants of the Scale-Up of Integrated Biorefineries FOA must submit a concept paper before July 8, 2022, to be eligible to submit a full application.
To apply, applicants must register with and submit application materials through a DOE online application portal.