The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $59 million to accelerate the production of biofuels and bioproducts to reduce emissions in hard-to-decarbonize sectors and create good-paying jobs in rural America. 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. 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.
“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 U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “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.”
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 create 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 gallons of sustainable aviation fuel annually by 2030 and 35 billion gallons annually by 2050 enough to meet 100% of U.S. aviation fuel demand. This is the second in a series of “Scale-Up” FOAs. In September 2021, DOE awarded $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 by 5:00 pm EST on or 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 at https://eere-Exchange.energy.gov. An informational webinar for potential applicants will be held on June 15, 2022, at 3:00 pm EST. The full solicitation is also available on Grants.gov.