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DOE to award up to $40M for biorefineries to produce milspec drop-in hydrocarbon biofuels

17 June 2012

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a funding opportunity announcement (DE-FOA-0000739) to identify, evaluate, and select innovative pilot- or demonstration-scale integrated biorefineries that can produce hydrocarbon fuels that meet military specifications for JP-5 (jet fuel primarily for the Navy), JP-8 (jet fuel primarily for the Air Force), or F-76 (diesel). The pilot- or demonstration-scale biorefinery must be integrated from biomass input to fuel output such that the finished product can be used directly as a fuel. Ethanol from sugarcane, starch, algae, or lignocellulosic feedstocks is specifically excluded.

DOE expects approximately $20,000,000 to be available for new awards under this FOA in FY2012 with up to an additional $20,000,000 in FY2013, subject to Congressional appropriations for this program.

Integrated biorefineries proposed for this funding opportunity may employ various combinations of feedstocks and conversion technologies to produce a variety of products, but the primary focus must be on producing biofuels. DOE is requiring applications that propose novel or breakthrough technologies and encourages those that include appropriate collaboration to handle all aspects of the proposed project.

The FOA will fund new (green-field) pilot or demonstration scale facilities, or the retrofit of existing pilot or demonstration scale facilities, or the continued operation of an existing innovative pilot- or demonstration-scale facility. There are two main topic areas:

  • Topic Area 1 requests applicants to design, construct and/or operate an integrated pilot- or demonstration-scale integrated biorefinery in order to validate the proposed technology using an acceptable lignocellulosic or waste-based feedstock, to produce an acceptable biofuel.

    Processes are also eligible under this topic that can utilize advanced technology approaches for the efficient conversion of carbon dioxide—rather than direct conversion of lignocellulosic biomass—directly to liquid transportation fuels.

    For applications proposing use of CO2 as source of carbon for fuels and proposing to initially use a fossil-based CO2 stream, the applicant must indicate a significant reduction in GHG as compared to petroleum-derived fuels, using an acceptable methodology and propose a credible path to the use of renewable CO2. This must include sourcing of renewable derived CO2 for credible testing as part of the proposed project and an economically-viable source of hydrogen or other inputs. 

  • Topic Area 2 requests applicants to design, construct and/or operate an integrated pilot- or demonstration-scale integrated biorefinery in order to validate the proposed technology using an acceptable algal type feedstock, to produce an acceptable biofuel.

  • Algae may have a broader role under this FOA than other acceptable feedstocks because they can also act as biocatalysts, accumulate lipids or starch-based carbohydrates, or excrete fuels or fuel intermediates.

    For the purpose of this FOA, algal biomass can be grown with either CO2 as the main carbon source (photoautotrophic growth), or with other clean carbohydrate sugars or lignocellulosic-derived carbohydrates (heterotrophic growth), or with both types of carbon sources (mixotrophic growth). Acceptable algal types, for purposes of this FOA, are defined as cyanobacteria, microalgae, and macroalgae.

    For applications proposing heterotrophic algae and proposing to initially use a clean carbohydrate sugar feedstocks stream, the applicant must propose a credible path to the use of lignocellulosic (LC) sugars. This must include sourcing of sufficient sugars for credible testing as part of the proposed project and an economically-viable source of a high-impact quantity of LC sugars.

For the purpose of the FOA, DOE defines a pilot-scale integrated biorefinery as a facility with a throughput of no less than one dry tonne of feedstock per day. A demonstration-scale integrated biorefinery is defined as a facility with a throughput of no less than 50 dry tonnes of feedstock per day.

Algal-based integrated pilot facilities must have a throughput of no less than one dry tonne of CO2 or other main carbon source. Algal-based integrated demonstration facilities must have a throughput of no less than50 dry tonnes per day of CO2 or other main carbon source.

DOE expects the selected projects to be operational as soon as possible after the award. For pilot-scale integrated biorefineries, DOE is seeking conversion technologies and systems that have the capability to proceed rapidly through piloting and on to demonstration. For demonstration-scale integrated biorefineries, DOE is seeking conversion technologies and systems that can proceed rapidly to commercial-scale operation following successful completion of the proposed project. DOE expects that the successfully completed projects under this FOA will ultimately lead to commercialization after further development.

DOE anticipates making approximately 2-4 awards, with up to 2-3 additional awards in FY2013, subject to Congressional appropriations for this program. DOE anticipates that awards will be in the $5,000,000-7,000,000 range.

June 17, 2012 in Algae, Algal Fuels, Bio-hydrocarbons, Biomass, Biorefinery | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

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