Biofuels

Energy Department Announces Up to $14 Million for Applying Landscape Design to Cellulosic Bioenergy

The Energy Department has announced up to $14 million to support landscape design approaches that maintain or enhance the environmental and socio-economic sustainability of cellulosic bioenergy through the improvement of feedstock production, logistics systems, and technology development. This supports the Department’s efforts to promote the commercialization of environmentally sustainable advanced bioenergy that reduces petroleum consumption and carbon emissions, as well as enhances national security.

Applying landscape design to bioenergy production systems is a promising approach for meeting multiple environmental, social, and economic objectives, such as maintaining or enhancing ecosystem health, as well as food/feed/fiber production, and profitability for landowners. This funding will support interdisciplinary research and development projects that use landscape design principles to incorporate cellulosic feedstock production and logistics into existing agricultural or forestry systems. Examples might include growing energy crops on marginal lands to improve both agricultural productivity and water quality, or utilizing agricultural residue in a way that enhances both profitability and soil quality.

Projects previously supported by the Department have shown the potential for improved sustainability by strategically placing bioenergy feedstock production within a landscape. This FOA will support activities that take the next steps by involving landowners and multi-disciplinary stakeholders in the landscape design process, establishing field research to quantify and improve sustainability metrics, and assessing logistic systems needed to provide high quality cellulosic feedstocks to conversion facilities for bioenergy.

Concept paper deadline is November 21, 2014. Full application deadline is January 12, 2015. For more information and application requirements, visit the Funding Opportunity Exchange website.

The Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy accelerates development and deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality. For more information on funding opportunities for advanced bioenergy technology projects, see EERE Bioenergy Technology Office’s financial opportunities.

Energy Department Announces $13.4 Million to Develop Advanced Biofuels and Bioproducts

The Energy Department announced today up to $13.4 million for five projects to develop advanced biofuels and bioproducts that will help drive down the cost of producing gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel from biomass.  These products not only will help reduce carbon emissions, but also advance the department’s work to enable the production of clean, renewable and cost-competitive drop-in biofuel at $3 per gallon by 2022. The research and development projects, located in Wisconsin, Minnesota, California, Colorado and Georgia, will focus on developing integrated processes for the production of advanced biofuels and chemicals. Two of these selections will address research efforts on the efficient conversion of biogas (a mixture of gases generated from the biological breakdown of organic material) to valuable products other than power.

  • The University of Wisconsin of Madison, Wisconsin will receive up to $3.3 million to develop a process to produce high value chemicals from biomass, which can be used as plasticizers (an additive in certain plastics) and in the production of industrial chemicals and resins.
  • American Process, Inc. of Atlanta, Georgia will receive up to $3.1 million to develop and demonstrate processes to upgrade cellulosic sugars to solvents in their demonstration facility.
  • The National Renewable Energy Laboratory of Golden, Colorado will receive up to $2.5 million to develop a conversion process demonstrating the production of muconic acid from biogas. This acid can be converted into an array of bioproducts, including fuel, plasticizers, and lubricants.
  • Natureworks, LLC of Minnetonka, Minnesota will receive up to $2.5 million to develop a fermentation process, using biogas and bacteria, for the production of lactic acid. This process could be used for the commercialization of biomethane to fuels.
  • Vertimass LLC of Irvine, California will receive up to $2 million to commercialize technology to convert ethanol into diesel fuel, gasoline, and jet fuel blend stocks compatible with the current transportation fuel infrastructure.

The Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy accelerates the development and deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality. Learn more about EERE’s work with industry, academia, and national laboratory partners on a balanced portfolio of research in biofuels and conversion technologies.

Genetic bacterial engineering could herald new era of biofuels [video]

Watch the video at Planet Ark.

Research by scientists at Imperial College London suggests that genetic engineering of bacteria could facilitate the production of propane on a commercial scale, potentially opening up new ways of creating biofuels outside of agriculture, giving hope to those seeking alternatives to fossil fuels. Joel Flynn went to the laboratory to meet them.

How 3 biodiesel companies defy the odds in a challenging industry

In this P2 Impact article on GreenBiz, Donna Walden from WSPPN and Kelsey McCutcheon a graduate student at UNR write about three biofuel companies on the west coast and how biodiesel is good for the environment and the economy.

Previous P2 Impact articles are archived on the GreenBiz web site.

Collaborative Research Uses Camelina to Build Better Biofuel

Read the full story from Kansas State University.

A Kansas State University biochemist is improving biofuels with a promising crop: Camelina sativa. The research may help boost rural economies and provide farmers with a value-added product.

Timothy Durrett, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics, is part of collaborative team that has received a four-year $1.5 million joint U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Energy grant. The project, led by Colorado State University, was one of 10 projects funded this year as part of the federal Plant Feedstocks Genomics for Bioenergy research program.

Sustainability Certification for Biofuels

Read the full post from the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Poorly developed biofuels pose severe environmental risks. Procurement officials and risk managers should use only the most stringent and protective certification standards available. Yet assessing how different certification systems rank across the product life cycle is a complex undertaking. That is why NRDC evaluated the performances of several of the major sustainability systems. The report looks at systems developed by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB), the Council on Sustainable Biomass Production (CSBP), the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC), the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), the Roundtable on Responsible Soy (RTRS), Bonsucro, and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

See the fact sheet for high-level results and the full report for a more detailed analysis with all evaluation criteria and indicators broken out.