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DOE Investing Up to $78M Investment in Two Consortia Targeting Algae-Based and Biomass-Based Bio-Hydrocarbon Fuels and Infrastructure; $1.6M for Ethanol Blends Fueling Infrastructure

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will invest up to $78 million under the American Recovery and Reinvestment in two consortia to support research and development of algae-based and biomass-based bio-hydrocarbon fuels and infrastructure. The DOE investment will be matched by private and non-federal cost-share funds of more than $19 million for total project investments of more than $97 million.

The two consortia selected for funding are the National Alliance for Advanced Biofuels and Bioproducts and the National Advanced Biofuels Consortium. The two cross-functional groups will seek to break down critical barriers to the commercialization of algae-based and biomass-based advanced renewable transportation fuels. The selected projects consist of leading scientists and engineers from universities, private industry, and government, and will facilitate sharing expertise and technologies.

National Alliance for Advanced Biofuels and Bioproducts (NAABB) ($44 million). Led by the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center (St. Louis, MO), NAABB will develop a systems approach for sustainable commercialization of algal biofuel (such as renewable gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel) and bioproducts.

NAABB will integrate resources from companies, universities, and national laboratories to overcome the critical barriers of cost, resource use and efficiency, greenhouse gas emissions, and commercial viability.

It will develop and demonstrate the science and technology necessary to significantly increase production of algal biomass and lipids, efficiently harvest and extract algae and algal products, and establish valuable certified co-products that scale with renewable fuel production. Co-products include animal feed, industrial feedstocks, and additional energy generation. Multiple test sites will cover diverse environmental regions to facilitate broad deployment.

These activities will accelerate the ability to overcome several key barriers identified in the Algal Biofuels Roadmap, including: feedstock supply (strain development and cultivation); feedstock logistics (harvesting and extraction); and conversion (production of fuels and co-products).

NAABB partners include: The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center; the Los Alamos National Laboratory; Pacific Northwest National Laboratory; University of Arizona; Brooklyn College; Colorado State University; New Mexico State University; Texas AgriLife Research - Texas A&M University System; University of California Los Angeles; University of California San Diego; University of Washington; Washington University in St. Louis; Washington State University; AXI; Catilin; Diversified Energy; Eldorado Biofuels; Genifuel; HR Biopetroleum; Inventure; Kai BioEnergy; Palmer Labs; Solix Biofuels; Targeted Growth; Terrabon; and UOP.

National Advanced Biofuels Consortium (NABC) (up to $33.8 million). Led by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, NABC will conduct research to develop infrastructure compatible, biomass-based hydrocarbon fuels. The result will be a sustainable, cost-effective production process that maximizes the use of existing refining and distribution infrastructure.

NABC will develop and demonstrate the science and technology necessary to enable the biofuels industry to produce infrastructure-compatible biomass-based hydrocarbon fuels. The research and development strategy includes investigating six process options:

  • Fermentation;
  • Catalytic conversion;
  • Catalytic fast pyrolysis;
  • Hydropyrolysis;
  • Hydrothermal liquefaction; and
  • Low-cost one-step syngas to distillates.

After techno-economic evaluation of each option in the first year, one or possibly two process strategies will be downselected, resulting in more focused development in years 2-3.

NABC partners include: National Renewable Energy Laboratory; Pacific Northwest National Laboratory; Albemarle Corporation; Amyris Biotechnologies; Argonne National Laboratory; BP Products North America Inc.; Catchlight Energy, LLC; Colorado School of Mines; Iowa State University; Los Alamos National Laboratory; Pall Corporation; RTI International; Tesoro Companies Inc.; University of California, Davis; UOP LLC; Virent Energy Systems; and Washington State University.

Ethanol Blend Fueling. Energy Secretary Steven Chu also announced the selection of eight infrastructure projects to receive up to $1.6 million to support expanded fueling infrastructure for ethanol blends.

The projects will expand ethanol blends infrastructure at existing retail fueling locations in nine states: Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Missouri, Texas, Virginia, and Washington. The projects plan to install E85 pumps, retrofit existing pumps to dispense E85, and install blender pumps that offer ethanol blends up to 85% at more than 60 stations.

Collectively, the projects propose creating at least 45 E85 dispensers and 16 blender pumps along key driving corridors and areas with higher concentrations of flexible fuel vehicles.

The infrastructure projects will be matched with $3.9 million in non-federal cost-share funds, for total projects investments of $5.5 million.



"$78M Investment..."

I would like to see the DOE make direct investments by buying stock in new companies. Not just grants, loans and loan guaranties, but an actual equity stake in new companies developing renewable energy. They could make money much like the Federal Reserve made $45 billion in interest on all the bank loans. If the government makes a profit, we can all pay lower taxes and/or have more and better services.


Giant waste of money.

Green Fuel Technologies blew through more than $200 million from 2001 to 2009 with absolutely nothing to show for it.

$78M more to re-create the same failures. Brillant


Interesting, if the private sector does this it is a bold business move and when the DOE does this it is a big waste of money.



You are advocating that the US Socialize more industries? I won't get into an economic systems debate regarding the merits of free enterprise, but let me just say that grants are the best way for a government to spur R&D in an area of interest. Direct government investment will push out private dollars in this industry.

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