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U.S. Department of Energy to fund 17 sustainable biofuels projects

U.S. Department of Energy to fund 17 sustainable biofuels projects
Photo of U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm courtesy of U.S. Department of Energy

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced USD118 million in funding for 17 projects to accelerate the production of sustainable biofuels for the country’s transportation and manufacturing needs. 

The selected projects, located at universities and private companies, will drive the domestic production of biofuels and bioproducts by advancing biorefinery development, from pre-pilot to demonstration, to create sustainable fuels that reduce emissions associated with fossil fuels. 

The funding supports U.S. President Joseph Biden’s goals to deliver an equitable, clean energy future, and put the United States on a path to achieve net-zero emissions, economy-wide, by no later than 2050. 

Projects selected as part of this funding opportunity will contribute to meeting DOE’s goal to achieve cost-competitive biofuels and at least a 70% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030. 

“Biofuels are a versatile tool because they have the immediate potential to power our ships, trains, airlines and heavy-duty vehicles—a huge contributor to total carbon emissions—with a significantly reduced carbon footprint,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “DOE investments are helping to build out a domestic bioenergy supply chain that increases America’s energy independence, creates jobs, and accelerates the adoption of cleaner fuels for our transportation needs.”

Made from widely available domestic feedstocks and advanced refining technologies, energy-dense biofuels provide a pathway for low-carbon fuels that can lower greenhouse gas emissions throughout the transportation sector and accelerate the bioeconomy. Financing for novel biorefinery process systems can be a barrier to commercializing advanced biofuels, and this funding will reduce technological uncertainties and enable industry deployment. 

The selected projects include pre-pilot, pilot, and demonstration projects that will scale-up existing biomass to fuel technologies that will eventually create millions of gallons low-carbon fuel annually.

By investing in these technologies, the projects will create good-paying jobs in rural and underserved communities in nine states. Plans submitted by the selected projects show intent to collaborate with local school districts to educate and train the bioenergy workforce of tomorrow. 

Additionally, the funded projects align with renewable fuels goals in the first-ever U.S. National Blueprint for Transportation Decarbonization, a multi-agency framework for reducing emissions, creating a robust transportation workforce, and securing America’s energy independence. 

The projects also support the U.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. 

Award amounts range from USD500,000 to USD80 million, with most projects receiving at least USD2 million. The selections, which are subject to final award negotiations and additional eligibility vetting, will be administered by DOE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO). To see the list of funded projects, click here.

Over the past two years, DOE has invested more than USD500 million in bioenergy and biorefinery research and development through BETO.