First grant recipients named under DOD advanced biofuels program

By Anna Simet | May 28, 2013

The U.S. Department of Defense has issued three contracts totaling $16 million for biofuel plants intended to help power fighter jets and destroyers by 2016, as part of the Defense Production Act’s Advanced Drop-In Biofuels Production Project.

The DPA Project is focused on creating public-private partnerships that will provide incentives for private-sector investment in cost competitive, advanced biofuels production capability, while  establishing one or more complete domestic value chains capable of producing drop-in replacement biofuels.  This includes feedstock production and logistics, product blending and transportation, as well as the design, retrofit/construction, operation, validation, and qualification of domestic, commercial-scale, integrated biorefineries. 

The selected projects will involve the design, construction and/or retrofit, and operation of a domestic commercial-scale integrated biofuels production enterprise (IBPE) that meets a nominal target of at least 10 MMgy per year of biofuel production capacity, according to the DOD.  IBPEs will be capable of producing drop-in liquid transportation fuels targeted for military operational use, and must be approved and certified MILSPEC JP-5, JP-8 and/or F-76 equivalents by the time the facility becomes operational.

Award winners are Golf, Ill.-based Emerald Biofuels LLC, Natures BioReserve LLC in South Sioux City, Neb., and Fulcrum Brighton Biofuels LLC in Pleasanton, Calif. Grant recipients under the Advanced Drop-In Biofuels Production Project are required responsible for matching private investments.

A broad coalition of advanced biofuel industry stakeholders and supporters, including the Advanced Biofuel Association, Algae Biomass Organization, Airlines for America and the National Farmers Union, have voiced their support for the DOD’s selection of the grant recipients through the program, pointing out that the DOD has estimated that every 25 cent increase in the price of a gallon of petroleum-based fuel costs the military $1 billion in additional fuel costs. “It is increasingly important to find domestically produced alternatives to improve the country's energy security, meet global energy demands, and provide jobs, while strengthening our military and domestic economy,” the group stated.