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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.