Stimulus Update: Biofuel Funds Released

This article is part of a series on the Stimulus Update. Previous posts:

Smart Grid Funding Guidelines Released

Inching Towards Smart Grid Funding Guidelines

EE and Conservation Block Grant Funds Releases

Next Generation Electric Vehicles Funds Released

Energy Efficiency Funds Released

Climate Change, the Stimulus Bill, and how CleanTech will benefit

As part of an ongoing effort to reduce US dependence on foreign oil and address the climate crisis by increasing the use of domestic renewable fuels, Secretary of Energy Chu announced Tuesday plans to provide $786.5 million in ARRA funding to accelerate advanced biofuels research and development, and to provide additional funding for commercial-scale biorefinery demonstration projects.

The funding is available through ARRA’s Research and Development program and will be awarded through competitive grants from the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).

By leveraging DOE’s national laboratories, universities, and the private sector, the goal is to create “third-generation biofuels like green gasoline, diesel, and jet fuels” (click for a PDF discussing third-generation biofuels).  This includes the use of algae and specially-designed oilier crops to reduce the cost of biofuel production while also producing a higher yield per acre.

Project funding opportunities include:

$480 million solicitation for integrated pilot- and demonstration-scale biorefineries

  • PURPOSE: validate integrated biorefinery technologies that produce advanced biofuels, bioproducts, and heat and power in an integrated system
  • GOAL: facilitate development of an “advanced biofuels” industry to meet federal RPS
  • NUMBER OF AWARDS: 10 to 20
  • AMOUNT PER AWARD: $25 million funding ceiling for pilot-scale projects; $50 million for demonstration scale projects

$176.5 million for commercial-scale biorefinery projects

  • PURPOSE: increase federal funding ceiling for existing biorefinery projects
  • GOAL: reduce the risk of development and deployment of these first-of-a-kind operations by expediting the construction phase of these projects and accelerate the timeline for start up and commissioning
  • NUMBER OF AWARDS: 2 or more
  • AMOUNT PER AWARD: at most, $88 million

$110 million for fundamental research in key program areas

  • PURPOSE: support fundamental research in key program areas
  • GOAL: develop cutting-edge conversion technologies, including generating more desirable catalysts, fuel-producing microbes, and feedstocks
  • NUMBER OF AWARDS: unknown
  • AMOUNT PER AWARD: $25 million for sustainability research; $35 million for advanced research consortium; $50 million for algal biofuels consortium

$20 million for ethanol research

  • PURPOSE: competitive solicitations for ethanol research
  • GOAL: optimize flex-fuel vehicles operating on high octane E85 fuel (85% ethanol, 15% gasoline blend); evaluate the impact of higher ethanol blends in conventional vehicles; and upgrade existing refueling infrastructure to be compatible with fuels up to E85
  • NUMBER OF AWARDS: unknown
  • AMOUNT PER AWARD: unknown

For the DOE announcement click here.  For more information read here.

Have any Question or Comment?

2 comments on “Stimulus Update: Biofuel Funds Released

Considering the vast numbers of awards, I personally have no faith any of this funding will end up at my company regardless of efforts spent begging the banks for it as my personal credit score won’t justify a loan of multiple millions of dollars and I know I’m not alone. This announcement won’t change our decision to seek private funding pretty much exclusively.

We have the only continuous, size selective micro-algae harvesters in the biofuels industry among other breakthrough technologies in PBR design. Continuous green crude production on a per acre per year basis that defies credibility while acting as a huge carbon dioxide sponge is what we have. Growing algae in industrial quantities is old hat.

What we don’t have, is the funding to build and demonstrate our system on a pilot scale. If the government wanted to know how to go big or go home with sealed and continuous generation of algae oil, the government could call us. I’m sure President Obama knows how to use a phone and could find my phone number in a snap. As a matter of fact, I publicly invite (ok, dare) him to do so. Show us the money and we’ll start employing people in droves, quick-style. What more could the government want?

We’ve recently partnered with another company to develop a dual fuel electricity generation system powered by locally generated ethanol and algae oil year-round anywhere in the continental United States. 100% GREEN ELECTRICITY ANYONE?

Considering the banks have no ethics, only loan money to people who don’t need it, and recently were making loans that they knew couldn’t be repaid so they could make a short-term profit by the loan origination, what do you think will happen when the banks are needed to write loans that in banking theory don’t even put the borrower at any obligation? Do we really need to give the banks another pathway for fleecing the taxpayer?

Private, non-VC funding is the only way we’ve found to avoid all of those who consistently demonstrate their unwillingness or inability to do “good business”.

Matt Snyder


SCIPIO Biofuels Inc.

One, I’m now a Republican, at least for today, so I can vote in the Republican primary. Of all the possible global disruptions, the two most likely are global warming and a super pandemic. Vegetables I sometimes grow in the Fall include beets, carrots, cabbage, brussel sprouts, lettuce, and broccoli.

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