Federal entities collaborate on biofuels
The USDA, U.S. DOE and U.S. Navy are engaging in a multifaceted plan to expedite development of the advanced drop-in biofuel industry that includes more than $130 million in new funding opportunities. As part of the effort, the DOE announced a $20 million in funding for earlier-stage research and development projects to support pilot- and demonstration-scale biorefineries that will convert a variety of nonfood biomass feedstocks, waste-based materials and algae into biofuels that meet military fuel specifications. An addition $12 million in DOE funding will support up to eight projects that focus on synthetic biological processing. The strategy parallels a two-phase program spearheaded by the Navy. The first phase makes $30 million available in matching funds, with the second offering $70 million from the Defense Production Act to move into actual production. The USDA will use Commodity Credit Corp. resources to ensure fuel purchased from the biorefineries will be cost-competitive.