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  • U.S. Department of Energy

US DOE awards $118 million to accelerate domestic biofuel production

The U.S. DOE announced Jan. 26 $118 million in funding for 17 projects to accelerate the production of sustainable biofuels for America’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 prepilot to demonstration, to create sustainable fuels that reduce emissions associated with fossil fuels.

Funding for this opportunity supports President Biden’s goals to deliver an equitable, clean-energy future, and put the U.S. 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 percent 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 Jennifer Granholm, the secretary of energy. “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 prepilot, pilot and demonstration projects that will scale-up existing biomass-to-fuel technologies that will eventually create millions of gallons of 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 3 billion gallons of sustainable aviation fuel annually by 2030 and 35 billion gallons annually by 2050.

Award amounts range from $500,000 to $80 million, with most receiving at least $2 million.

See full list of funded projects here.

The selections, which are subject to final award negotiations and additional eligibility vetting, will be administered by DOE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office.

Over the past two years, DOE has invested more than $500 million in bioenergy and biorefinery research and development through BETO.

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