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California Energy Commission Solicits Applications for Biofuels Research

The California Energy Commission’s (CEC) Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) Program has issued a competitive grant solicitation for the research, development and demonstration of biofuel energy conversion technologies and refineries using lignocellulosic biomass (such as agricultural and forest residues, and urban waste), food waste, beverages, waste grease, purpose-grown or energy crops.

Total funding available through this solicitation is $3 million, and PIER anticipates that it will select three to four projects for funding. The maximum amount that may be requested for a single proposal under this solicitation is $1 million in PIER funding.

Technologies can either utilize thermochemical, biochemical, and physicochemical (mechanical and chemical extraction) conversion routes or the combination of two or more of these routes. The final product should be transportation fuels such as ethanol, biodiesel, and biomethane and should co-produce other value-added products such as heat and power.

Proposed biofuel conversion technologies should improve the cost competitiveness and affordability of biofuel conversion technologies by:

  • Lowering capital cost, operation and maintenance cost, and/or life cycle production costs; or
  • Improving performance; increasing yield and conversion efficiencies
  • Optimizing biofuel conversion technologies and trade-offs between fuels production and electricity production (e.g., co-location of ethanol facility to biomass power plant).

Technologies must also have a clear commercialization pathway. The deadline to submit proposals is 4 January 2007.

The PIER Program supports energy research, development and demonstration (RD&D) projects that will help improve the quality of life in California by bringing environmentally safe, affordable and reliable energy services and products to the marketplace. PIER annually awards up to $62 million in research grants.



Can you gasify (BTL) high protein biomass/high nitrogen compound concentration, and get away with it?


I have submitted proposals to PIER in the past. In my opinion, there is a lot of bureaucracy there and not much, if anything, makes it to market.

Rafael Seidl

Allen -

any processing plant has to meet local air quality regulations. If, for whatever reason, it emits gases that contain an excessive concentration of restricted compounds, those gases need to be cleaned up first. SCR is a proven technology for cleaning up NOx.

Note, however, that lignin does not contain any nitrogen.


I was thinking about Soy (w/oil removed), or tobacco. They are both high in protein.

Cheryl Ho

DME is an LPG-like synthetic fuel can be produced through gasification of Biomass. The synthetic gas is then catalyzed to produce DME. A gas under normal pressure and temperature, DME can be compressed into a liquid and used as an alternative to diesel. Its low emissions make it relatively environmentally friendly. In fact, Shandong University completed Pilot plant in Jinan and will be sharing their experience at upcoming North Asia DME / Methanol conference in Beijing, 27-28 June 2007, St Regis Hotel. The conference covers key areas which include:

DME productivity can be much higher especially if
country energy policies makes an effort comparable to
that invested in increasing supply.
National Development Reform Commission NDRC
Ministry of Energy for Mongolia

Production of DME/ Methanol through biomass
gasification could potentially be commercialized
Shandong University completed Pilot plant in Jinan and
will be sharing their experience.

Advances in conversion technologies are readily
available and offer exciting potential of DME as a
chemical feedstock
By: Kogas, Lurgi and Haldor Topsoe

Available project finance supports the investments
that DME/ Methanol can play a large energy supply role
By: International Finance Corporation

For more information:

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