On December 22nd, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the issuance of a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for up to $200 million over six years (FY 2009 – FY 2014), subject to annual appropriations, to support the development of pilot and demonstration-scale biorefineries including the use of feedstocks such as algae and production of advanced biofuels such as bio-butanol, green gasoline and other innovative biofuels.
The projects will support the Administration’s comprehensive energy strategy of increasing the nation’s energy, economic and national security by reducing our reliance on foreign oil, and reducing greenhouse gases. While supporting deployment and increased biofuels usage, DOE continues to focus on research and development of advanced biofuels technologies.
“This funding opportunity will look for the most promising technologies that can advance the potential of renewable biomass as a resource for second generation transportation biofuels,” Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy John F. Mizroch said. “The Department of Energy will select breakthrough integrated biorefinery projects that have technical and economic performance data at the bench or pilot scale to prove they are ready to move a step closer toward commercial readiness.”
The FOA has two topic areas for biorefinery development:
- Pilot-scale, minimum throughput of one dry tonne of feedstock per day with a minimum non-federal cost-share at 30 percent.
- Demonstration-scale minimum throughput of 50 dry tonnes of feedstock per day, with a minimum non-federal cost-share at 50 percent.
DOE anticipates making approximately 5-12 awards under this announcement, depending on the topic area, and size of awards. Projects selected under this FOA will provide operational data that reduces the risk associated with commercialization. The intent of this FOA is to have integrated biorefinery projects at the pilot and demonstration scale levels operational within three to four years after applicants are selected. All projects must be located within the U.S., use feedstock from domestic biomass resources, and demonstrate significant greenhouse gas reductions on a lifecycle basis. This FOA adds to over $1 billion DOE has committed to research, development, and demonstration of cellulosic biofuels technology.
These pilot and demonstration-scale facilities are intended to lead to commercialization in the near term. If deployed on a large scale, these commercial facilities could produce volumes that could significantly contribute to the Energy and Independence Security Act (EISA) Renewable Fuels Standard goal of 21 billion gallons of advanced biofuels by 2022. The projects selected will demonstrate the commercial viability for producing advanced biofuels from a variety of biomass conversion technologies and non-food feedstocks, therefore reducing U.S. dependence on oil. Advanced biofuels produced from these projects are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a minimum of 50 percent, as determined by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Mandatory letters of intent are due February, 20, 2009, and completed applications are due April 30, 2009. The complete FOA (number DE-PS36-09GO99038), can be viewed at www.grants.gov. Projects are expected to begin in Fiscal Year 2009 and continue through Fiscal Year 2014. Funding is subject to annual Congressional appropriations.