DOE funds 36 bioenergy research and development projects

By Erin Voegele | September 07, 2018

On Sept. 4, the U.S. Department of Energy announced it will award 36 projects a combined $80 million to support early-stage bioenergy research and development to enable cost-competitive drop-in renewable hydrocarbon fuels, biobased products and power from non-food biomass and waste feedstocks. The funding supports the DOE’s goal of reducing the cost of biobased drop-in fuels to $3 per gallon by 2022.  

“The selections announced today highlight some of the most innovative and advanced bioenergy technologies that have the potential to produce new sources of reliable and affordable energy for American families and businesses,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. “Developing all of our domestic energy resources is critical to keeping our nation prosperous and secure.”

The 36 funding projects stem from four funding opportunities, including BioEnergy Engineering for Products Synthesis, Efficient Carbon Utilization in Algal Systems, Process Developemtn for Advanced Biofuels and Biopower, and Affordable and Sustainable Energy Crops.

Projects selected for funding include:

BioEnergy Engineering for Products Synthesis

University of Florida: $1.84 million for intensified biogas conversion to value-added fuels and chemicals.

Lygos Inc.: $2 million for accelerating engineered microbe optimization through machine learning and multiomics datasets.

SymoChem: $1.32 million for development of Bacillus as an industrial host for the microbial production of biopolymers.

University of California, San Diego: $2 million for conversion of cellulosic sugars to high-quality polyurethane foams using synthetic biology and machine learning on algae.

Iowa State University: $2.5 million for identifying performance advantaged biobased chemicals utilizing bioprivileged molecules.

University of California, Berkeley: $2 million for design and development of bio-advantaged vitrimers as closed-loop bioproducts.

Georgia Institute of Technology: $1.02 million for cellulose-chitin composites for performance advantaged barrier packaging bioproducts. .

Arzeda: $2 million for fermentative production of Tulipalin A: a next-generation, sustainable monomer that drastically improves the Performance of pMMA.

Visolis: $2 million for integrated biorefinery for chemicals and fuels production from waste biomass.

Xylome Corp.: $1.04 million for biodiesel and higher value products from stillage fiber.

North Carolina State University: $2.48 million for catalytic upgrading of carbohydrates in waste streams to hydrocarbons.

Montana State University: $1.48 million for development of a scalable, robust electrocatalytic technology for conversion of CO2 to formic acid via microstructured materials.

LanzaTech Inc.: $1.5 million for production of bioproducts from electrochemically-generated C1 intermediates.

Johns Hopkins University: $951,367 for integrating chemical catalysis and biological conversion of carbon intermediates for deriving value added products from carbon dioxide.

Clemson University: $1.8 million for lignin fractionation and valorization:  Focusing on both value and quality.

Spero Energy Inc.: $1.61 million for SPERLU selective process for efficient removal of lignin and upgrading.


Efficient Carbon Utilization in Algal Systems

Colorado State University: $2.15 million for integrating an industrial source and commercial algae farm with innovative CO2 transfer membrane and improved strain technologies.

Arizona State University: $2.5 million for multi-pronged approach of improved biological and physicochemical systems to improving carbon utilization by cyanobacterial cultures.

Global Algae Innovations: $2.5 million for algae cultivation from flue gas with high CO2 utilization efficiency.

Arizona State University: $2 million for membrane carbonation for 100 percent efficient delivery of industrial CO2 gases.

Duke University: $1.51 million for carbon utilization efficiency in marine algae biofuel production systems through loss minimization and carbonate chemistry modification.

MicoBio Engineering Inc.: $2.23 million for air carbon for algae production—AirCAP.

Georgia Institute of Technology: $1.98 million for direct air capture of CO2 and delivery to photobioreactors for algal biofuel production.


Process Development for Advanced Biofuels and Biopower

Technology Holding LLC: $2.5 million for novel method for biomass conversion to renewable jet fuel blend.

Washington State University: $2.76 million for hybrid HEFA-HDCJ process for the production of jet fuel blendstocks.

Applied Research Associates: $2.36 million for drop-in renewable jet fuel from brown grease via the biofuels ISOCONVERSION process.

Gas Technology Institute: $2.99 million for Cool GTL for the production of jet fuel from biogas.

Research Triangle Institute:  $2.55 million for bio-crude production and upgrading to renewable diesel.

LanzaTech Inc.: $2.5 million for ultra-low sulfur winterized diesel.

West Biofuels Development LLC: $2.2 million for agricultural and woody biomass to diesel fuel with bio-oil intermediate.

Mosaic Materials: $1.42 million for high-efficiency process for RNG production from biogas using MOF-based solid adsorbents.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: $1.59 million for maximizing bio-renewable energy from wet wastes (M-BREWW).

Worcester Polytechnic Institute: $2 million for a catalytic process to convert municipal solid waste components to energy.


Affordable and Sustainable Energy Crops

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: $5 million for next-generation feedstocks for the emerging bioeconomy.

Texas A&M AgriLife Research: $5 million for sustainable herbaceous energy crop production in the Southeast United States.

North Carolina State University: $$4.36 million for next generation miscanthus: Hybrid performance evaluation and enhanced, sustainable feedstock production and supply in the Southeast U.S. for biofuels and bioproducts.