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.
BETO is hosting a workshop on November 5, 2014, in Arlington, Virginia, to address challenges in converting waste food products to energy. The workshop will gather experts in the field to identify technical barriers to the commercial development of liquid transportation fuels from waste feedstocks, which will ultimately help develop a roadmap that highlights the key pathways and metrics to reaching commercialization. Registration is free, but space is limited. More information is available online.