DOE achieves major biofuel technology, production milestone

By Josh Messner, technology manager, systems development and integration, U.S. Department of Energy’s BETO | August 05, 2022

The U.S. Department of Energy Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) has achieved a significant milestone in decreasing the minimum fuel selling price (MFSP) of drop-in biofuels, which are fuels made from biomass and other waste carbon sources, and that are compatible with existing petroleum fuel infrastructure and conventional vehicles. BETO partnered with T2C-Energy LLC to validate pilot-scale production of drop-in biofuels with a price of $3 per gallon of gas equivalent (GGE) and at least 60 percent lower greenhouse gas emissions than petroleum, using T2C’s TRIFTS process.

The TRIFTS process converts anaerobic digestor produced biogas (or landfill gas) to liquid transportation fuels. TRIFTS has allowed drop-in renewable diesel fuel to reach a MFSP of $2.91/GGE without the use of credits from the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard, California Low Carbon Fuels Standard, or other carbon credits while reducing GHG emissions by 130 percent when compared to traditional petroleum diesel fuel.

T2C and BETO have previously partnered on projects that have been key to advancing bioenergy technology to its current state. Previous BETO-funded Small Business Innovation Research awards allowed T2C to advance their technology to pilot scale, which was critical to reaching this important biofuel milestone. The T2C process has been thoroughly tested at the pilot scale since 2018 and uses both carbon dioxide and methane portions of biogas, using nearly 100 percent of biogas components as a feedstock to produce fuel. This technical achievement was verified by an independent engineering firm.

BETO’s efforts to reduce the price of drop-in biofuels is part of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s larger strategy for decarbonizing transportation across all modes.