DOE grants $34 million to advance waste, algae bioenergy technology
The U.S. DOE announced nearly $34 million in funding for 11 projects that will support high-impact research and development to improve and produce biofuels, biopower, and bioproducts. Low-carbon fuels from municipal solid waste (MSW) streams and algae can significantly contribute to the decarbonization of transportation sectors that face barriers to electrification, like aviation and marine. By lowering the carbon footprint of the transportation sector, biofuels will play an important role in reaching the Biden administration’s goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
“From food waste to yard trimmings, biomass technology is converting our everyday trash into low-carbon fuel for planes and ships while cutting costs and supporting our critical transportation sector,” said Jennifer Granholm, U.S. energy secretary. “The companies and universities leading these projects will ensure that our cutting-edge biofuel technologies reduce carbon emissions, create new jobs up and down the supply chain, and are made in America by American workers.”
Transportation accounts for approximately 30 percent of total U.S. energy consumption and generates the largest share of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. Biofuels serve as a low-carbon alternative to petroleum and can also be used in the production of carbon-heavy products like plastics, fertilizers, lubricants, and industrial chemicals.
The selected projects will:
Research and develop waste for energy conversion ($15 million)—Awardees across five projects will expand understanding of the potential for municipal solid waste (which typically consists of a complex mixture of food waste, glass, metals, yard trimmings, woody waste materials, nonrecyclable paper and plastic, construction and demolition waste, rags, and sludge from wastewater treatment) to become biofuel energy. The process of converting waste into biofuel has significant potential to divert large volumes of garbage from the landfills to the refinery.
Improve algae farming practices to increase production ($18.7M)—Awardees across six projects will look into diverse strains and farming practices of algae and explore new ways to improve their growth. Algae uses sunlight and nutrients to grow, and then can be converted to a variety of biofuels and products.
Click here for more specific information about the 11 projects receiving the DOE funding.