On May 16, 2016, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that up to $10 million in funding is being given to six projects that are creating innovative solutions to advance bioenergy development. The work will support the Bioenergy Technologies Office's (BETO) goal of developing non-food biomass competitive biofuels with reduced technical investment risks. The selected projects are:
- Arizona State University, a project engineering cyanobacteria to produce ethyl laurate;
- Arizona State University, a project developing heat-tolerant mixtrophic algae that can consume both carbon dioxide (CO2) and cellulosic sugars;
- Duke University, a project to reduce construction costs for commercial scale biorefineries by making smaller reactors more productive;
- Lygos Inc., a project to develop microbial catalysts to produce renewable aspartic acid from cellulosic sugars;
- White Dogs Labs, a project to develop metabolic pathways to increase the yield of acetone from microorganisms; and
- LanzaTech Inc., a project to manufacture acetone from biobased syngas.
On May 16, 2016, the DOE's BETO invited applications for abstracts for the poster session of the ninth annual conference Bioenergy 2016: Mobilizing the Bioeconomy through Innovation. Poster abstracts are due by June 3, 2016, and must fit the following guidelines:
- Not exceed the maximum of 300 words;
- Explain validity and technical merit of the approach;
- Discuss how the poster will be used to engage Bioenergy 2016 attendees;
- Highlight applicability to BETO activities/Bioenergy 2016 theme; and
- Provide clarity of motivation, methods, results, and conclusions.
On April 15, 2016, DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) announced a Notice of Intent (NOI) to issue a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) entitled "Project Definition for Pilot and Demonstration Scale Manufacturing of Biofuels, Bioproducts, and Biopower (PD2B3)." The FOA would be managed by the Bioenergy Technologies Office, and will support technology development plans for drop-in hydrocarbon biofuels, bioproducts, or biopower manufacturing. Applicants should address a topic within the following priority areas:
- Pilot-scale production of biofuels from high impact cellulosic, algal, or biogas feedstocks;
- Demonstration-scale production of biofuels from high impact cellulosic, algal, or biogas feedstocks; and
- Production of biopower, bioproducts, and biofuels from biosolids and other waste streams.
The full FOA is expected to be posted on the EERE Exchange on May 2, 2016, with the full NOI currently available.
On March 28, 2016, the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) announced the 2016 update of the BETO Multi-Year Program Plan (MYPP). The MYPP helps BETO coordinate its activities and details BETO's activities in the coming years. The latest MYPP includes three major changes:
- A revised vision statement, "Developing and demonstrating transformative and revolutionary bioenergy technologies for a sustainable nation," to emphasize the role of BETO in the bioeconomy.
- The renaming of the "Algal Feedstocks Research and Development" program area to "Advanced Algal Systems Research and Development," reflecting a stronger focus on the algal biofuels' supply chain and new technical targets for the Algae Farm Design Case.
- An updated Demonstration and Market Transformation section with new milestones for the integrated biorefinery strategy.
BETO's Thermochemical Feedstock Interface Project is presenting a Field-to-Fleet project webinar. The event will include a discussion of the project, its outcomes, and opportunities for partnership. Over the course of the multi year project, researchers have discovered how feedstock type affects various thermochemical biofuels conversion processes and quantified impacts of feedstock type on the hydrotreatment of pyrolysis oil, and how the methodology can be applied to other thermochemical conversion pathways. The webinar will be held on Wednesday, April 20, 2016, from 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. (EDT). Registration is available online.
On March 10, 2016, the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's (EERE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) announced a Request for Information (RFI) on integrated biorefinery optimization. The RFI covers information on the technical and financial challenges that biorefineries run into in order to run continuously and reliably. BETO is primarily interested in stakeholder input on systems that use between one and 1,000 dry tonnes per day of feedstock in order to:
- Understand scale-up and mitigate operational risks and challenges;
- Develop robust handling of variable solid materials;
- Improve pre-processing methodologies;
- Advance process intensification focused on simplification; reduce cost through innovative fabrication and construction methods; and/or develop efficient water management techniques;
- Address unique process issues and pathways; and
- Develop strategies to lower capital expense costs by reducing technical risks and ensuring minimum modifications.
The full RFI is available on the EERE Exchange website and responses are due by 5:00 p.m. (EDT) on April 6, 2016.
On March 10, 2016, DOE's BETO announced that $1.9 million has been allocated for biofuel, bioproduct, and biopower projects under its Small Business Vouchers (SBV) Pilot initiative. The grant money is the first of up to $20 million that DOE has agreed to commit to help small businesses receive specialized assistance with their technologies. Under the SBV Pilot, eligible U.S.-owned small businesses with less than 500 employees can request a voucher for use at one of DOE's national laboratories, valued between $50,000 and $300,000. This allows small businesses to take advantage of the technological capability and know-how of DOE labs to help bring clean technologies to market.
The first round of vouchers included two companies working with microbes to convert sugars to valuable biochemicals. Visolis, Inc will work with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to demonstrate the scale-up potential of their integrated bio-thermochemical conversion technology to produce bio-isoprene from lignocellulosic materials. Lygos will work with NREL and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) to test their fermentation pathway using engineered microbes to produce biobased malonic acid, an important chemical intermediary, at a larger scale. There are three rounds of the SBV Pilot program, with vouchers available for Algal Feedstocks R&D, Analysis and Sustainability, Conversion R&D, and Terrestrial Feedstock Logistics R&D. Applications for the second round of vouchers are being accepted from March 10 through April 10, 2016.
On July 9, 2015, the DOE announced a public workshop to collect information about challenges that occur during coproduction of biobased chemicals, products, and biofuels. The Bioproducts to Enable Biofuels Workshop was organized by the Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) and will cover the following topics:
- Identifying and evaluating economic drivers for producing bioproducts.
- Identifying and prioritizing targets for bioproducts produced from biofuel waste streams, coproduced with biofuels, or produced at standalone facilities.
- Identifying research and development challenges associated with bioproducts produced from biofuel waste streams, coproduced with biofuels, or produced at standalone facilities.
- Identifying environmental considerations (i.e., life-cycle analysis), carbon percentage dedicated to fuels vs. products (i.e., split stream), and ideal intermediates for bioproduct production to enable biofuels.
The workshop will be held on July 16, 2015, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (MDT) in Westminster, Colorado. Attendees must preregister online before July 15, 2014, at 4:00 p.m. (MDT) as space is limited.
On February 17, 2015, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)
published in the Federal Register a Notice
of Open Meeting for the Biomass Research and Development Technical Advisory
Committee (the Committee). The Committee plans to meet on March 5, 2015, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30
p.m. and March
6, 2015, from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Marriott Wardman
Park in Washington, D.C. The agenda includes updates on the Biomass Research
and Development Initiative, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and DOE
Biomass R&D Activities, the DOE Bioenergy Technologies Office Funding
Opportunity Announcements, and the Committee's plan for 2015. To attend the
meeting, contact Elliott
Levine and Roy Tiley
by February 26, 2015.
Minutes of the meeting will be available within 60 days of the meeting at the Biomass Research
& Development Meetings Page.
The Bioenergy Technologies Office within the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), "Landscape Design for Sustainable Bioenergy Systems."
DOE is looking for interdisciplinary projects that integrate landscape design approaches with cellulosic feedstock production within existing agricultural and forestry systems. Projects must maintain, or preferably enhance, environmental and socio-economic sustainability. The FOA includes funding up to $14 million.
This funding will help take the next steps for previous DOE-funded projects that demonstrated potential for increased sustainability through strategic placement of bioenergy feedstock production within a landscape. The FOA will engage landowners and multi-disciplinary stakeholders in the design of the landscape, field research on sustainability metrics, and assessing logistic systems needed to provide high quality cellulosic feedstocks to conversion facilities for bioenergy.
More information on the FOA is available on DOE's website.