USDA, DOE, and US Navy Announce $30 Million to Support Biofuels

U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Secretary of Energy Steven Chu recently announced new funding available to pursue new innovations in biofuels technologies, increase production of U.S. biofuels, and strengthen American energy security. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Navy and Department of Energy are announcing $30 million in federal funding to match private investments in commercial-scale advanced drop-in biofuels. The Energy Department is also announcing a total of $32 million in new investments for earlier stage research intended to continue to drive technological breakthroughs and additional cost reductions in the industry.In his Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future released in March 2011, President Obama set a goal of reducing oil imports by one-third by 2025. As part of that effort, the Blueprint directed the Navy, USDA and DOE to collaborate to support commercialization of “drop-in” biofuel substitutes for diesel and jet fuel, and this announcement of an available $30 million in funding exemplifies that collaboration. The Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is available Here. This funding opportunity was made possible through the Defense Production Act (DPA). DPA is an authority that dates back to 1950 and has been used to boost industries such as steel, aluminum, titanium, semiconductors, beryllium, and radiation-hardened electronics.  
 
The FOA comprises a two-phased approach, with government and industry sharing in the cost. In Phase 1, applicants will submit a design package and business plan for a commercial-scale biorefinery, identify and secure project sites and take additional required steps spelled out in the announcement. Awardees selected to continue into Phase 2 will submit additional information for the construction or retrofit of a biorefinery. Agencies participating in this initiative will make additional funding requests to Congress to support the initiative, including President Obama’s FY 2013 budget request of $110 million. The Energy Department is also announcing new investments in earlier stage biofuels research that complement the commercial-scale efforts announced by the Navy and USDA. Totaling $32 million, these early-stage, pre-commercial investments are the latest steps in the Obama Administration’s efforts to advance biofuels technologies to continue to bring down costs, improve performance, and identify new non-food feedstocks and processing technologies. The funding announced by DOE includes $20 million to support pilot-scale and demonstration-scale biorefineries that could produce renewable biofuels that meet military specifications for jet fuel and shipboard diesel using a variety of non-food biomass feedstocks, waste-based materials and algae. These projects may support new plant construction, retrofits on existing U.S. biorefineries or operation at plants ready to begin production at the pilot- or pre-commercial scale. This investment is also intended to help federal and local governments, private developers and industry collect accurate data on the cost of producing fuels made from biomass and waste feedstocks.  The full funding solicitation is available Here.
 
In addition, the Energy Department also announced $12 million to support up to eight projects focused on researching ways to develop biobased transportation fuels and products using synthetic biological processing. These projects aim to develop novel biological systems that can enhance the breakdown of raw biomass feedstocks and assist in converting feedstocks into transportation fuels. The projects will be led by businesses, universities, national laboratories and industry and will seek to overcome various technical and scientific barriers to cost-competitive advanced biofuels and bioproducts. The full funding opportunity announcement is available Here.

Source: 
Clean Edge News