DOE offers $79 million for bioenergy R&D

By Erin Voegele | May 06, 2019

The U.S. Department of Energy announced May 3 it has opened a $79 million funding opportunity for bioenergy research and development that aims to reduce the price of drop-in biofuels, lower the cost of biopower and enable high-value products form biomass or waste resources.  

“At DOE, we are focused on expanding America’s energy supply, growing the economy, and enhancing energy security, which will all be furthered by the significant advancements made in bioenergy technologies,” said Under Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes. “The funding opportunities announced today will help ensure our nation’s competitive advantage in the emerging bioeconomy and allow us to continue to offer U.S. consumers and businesses more homegrown energy choices.”

Topic areas for the funding include:

Cultivation Intensification Processes for Algae: Develop technologies for outdoor algae systems that increase the harvest yield, reliability and quality of algae.

Biomass Component Variability and Feedstock Conversion Interface: Research to lower the cost and improve the reliability of biomass handling and preprocessing. 

Efficient Wood Heaters: Develop technologies to reduce emissions and increase efficiency of wood heaters for residential heating. 

Systems Research of Hydrocarbon Biofuel Technologies: Integrate new technologies and processes in experimental prototype systems to improve and verify real-world performance and lower the cost of drop-in biofuels. 

Optimization of Biomass-Derived Jet Fuel Blends: Identify and develop cost-competitive drop-in renewable jet fuel with improved energy density and lower particulate matter emissions. 

Renewable Energy from Urban and Suburban Wastes: Support academic research and educational programs that focus on strategies to produce bioenergy and bioproducts from urban and suburban waste feedstocks. 

Advanced Bioprocessing and Agile BioFoundry: Reduce the time and cost of developing biological processes for biomanufacturing fuels and products through the use of synthetic biology, low capital intensity methods, and continuous production systems. 

Plastics in the Circular Carbon Economy: Develop biobased plastics with improved performance and recyclability and lower the cost and energy-intensity of recycling  existing plastics through enhanced degradation.

Rethinking Anaerobic Digestion: Develop anaerobic processes or alternative strategies to enhance carbon conversion efficiency and lower costs of smaller scale wet waste systems.

Reducing Water, Energy, and Emissions in Bioenergy: Identify biofuels or bioproducts technologies with the greatest potential for reducing water consumption, energy consumption, and/or emissions relative to existing conventional fuels or products.

According to the funding opportunity announcement (FOA), the DOE expects to make approximately 28-49 awards, each ranging from $300,000 to $10 million. Concept papers must be submitted by June 3. Full applications are due July 22. The DOE is expected to select awardees before the end of the year.

Additional information is available on the DOE Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Exchange website under DE-FOA-0002029.