The US Department of Energy (DOE) will provide up to $200 million, over five years (FY’07-’11) to support the development of small-scale cellulosic biorefineries in the United States.
DOE is soliciting projects to develop biorefineries at 10% of commercial scale that produce liquid transportation fuels such as ethanol, as well as bio-based chemicals and bioproducts used in industrial applications. Small-scale projects will use novel approaches and a variety of cellulosic feedstocks to test new refining processes.
These projects complement DOE’s announcement earlier this year of up to $385 million over four years for the development of six full-scale biorefineries. (Earlier post.) The full-scale biorefineries focus on near-term commercial processes, while the small-scale facilities will experiment with new feedstocks and processing technologies. Combined, these small- and full-scale projects will receive up to $585 million in federal investment.
The new funding will support demonstration projects that test key refining processes and provide operational data needed to lower the technical hurdles sometimes associated with financing a full-size commercial plant. These projects are expected to be operational within three to four years and will speed the adoption of new technologies to produce ethanol and other biofuels from cellulosic feedstocks. Commercial-scale demonstrations would follow thereafter.
DOE requests applicants to design, construct and operate an integrated biorefinery demonstration facility, employing lignocellulosic feedstocks for the production of some combination of liquid transportation fuel(s), biobased chemicals, and substitutes for petroleum-based feedstocks and products. DOE is seeking projects that can rapidly move to commercial-scale, supported by a sound business strategy and; encourages applications that demonstrate breakthrough technologies and collaboration between industry, universities, and DOE’s national laboratories.
Up to $15 million is expected to be available in FY’07, with the remaining $185 million expected to be available in FY’08-’11, subject to appropriation from Congress. DOE anticipates selecting 5-10 awards under this announcement. These projects require a minimum of 50 percent cost share from applicants.
Applications for this funding opportunity are due August 14, 2007.