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DOE to issue MEGA-BIO funding opportunity for drop-in renewable hydrocarbon fuels from biomass with a focus on byproducts

The US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) intends to issue, on behalf of the Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO), a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) entitled “MEGA-BIO: Bioproducts to Enable Biofuels” (DE-FOA-0001434). This FOA supports BETO’s goal of meeting its 2022 cost target of $3/gallon gasoline equivalent (gge) for the production of hydrocarbon fuels from lignocellulosic biomass.

Previously, BETO has focused on conversion pathways that produce biofuels, with little or no emphasis on coproducing bioproducts. As BETO increasingly focuses on hydrocarbon fuels, it is examining strategies that capitalize on revenue from bioproducts as part of cost-competitive biofuel production.

Although a variety of technology pathways can be used to produce hydrocarbon biofuels, many of them require the production of value-added chemicals and products in the near-term to achieve an attractive rate of return on cost-competitive fuels.

Value-added chemicals and products can also incentivize the de-risking of “front end” processes (from feedstock logistics through to deconstruction) which are also necessary for fuel production.

With the MEGA-BIO FOA, BETO intends to identify R&D projects that develop biomass-to-hydrocarbon biofuels conversion pathways that can produce variable amounts of fuels and products based on external factors, such as market demand. These pathways could consist of a route to a platform chemical that could be converted to products or fuels or a route that coproduces chemicals and fuels.

The FOA may include the following Areas of Interest:

  1. R&D to optimize one unit operation of the proposed conversion pathway; and
  2. R&D to optimize and integrate multiple unit operations of the proposed conversion pathway.

EERE envisions awarding multiple financial assistance awards in the form of cooperative agreements. The estimated period of performance for each award will be approximately three years. EERE plans to issue the FOA in or about January, 2016.

Comments

SJC

It sounds like they make few assumptions and have few constraints.

Roger Pham

We cannot realistically depend just on market competition for Renewable Energies (RE) to replace Fossil Fuels fast enough to avert the Global Warming crisis, keeping temperature rise to below 2 dgr C. Too Slow the pace and too great the inertia!!!

The Governments of each countries must start mandating a gradual growth of RE into ALL sources of Energies. This is so because "if a law eliminating ALL new internal-combustion cars was passed today, it would take until 2034 for half of the U.S. fleet to turn over." Plug-in EV's are less than 1% of new-car market today, so it might take well into the next Century for 1/2 of the fleet to become Plug-in EV's.

Since it will take so long for EV's to populate the road in sufficient numbers to help reduce CO2 release, how are we going to halt CO2 release?
We can start making synthetic fuels to substitute for petroleum fuels. However, the insurmountable problem is that Synthetic gasoline from CO2 and H2 from Renewable Energy (RE) will cost at least twice as much as gasoline when oil is at $40-50 per barrel currently!

A potential solution could be a RE fuel mandate and RE electric grid mandate to gradually phase in RE until we will arrive at 100% RE Economy within 50 years for both transportation AND for the electricity grid.
For example, 0.5% increase in RE content of fuels and of the grid electricity yearly for the next 5 years, increasing to 1% increase annually for the 5-year following, then to 1.5% annual increase in RE content for the 5 years after that... and so on and so forth ...until we will reach 100%-RE economy 50 years from now. The rate of increase is gradual enough to avoid any economic hardship, yet allowing the energy companies to ramp up infrastructure for RE-fuels steadily, thus boosting the economy significantly.

Don't forget about the gov. mandate to double fuel efficiency of cars a decade from now. If we are going to
have synfuel costing 2x as much as fuels now, while future cars are going to be capable of doubling the MPG of current auto fleet, then the cost per mile will remain the same, so no economic hardship.

Will it be possible to double the MPG of future cars and will still be affordable?
Hybrids like the Prius is already there, not having to wait for 10 more years.

Future synfuel probably won't cost twice as much as petroleum due to steadily decreasing prices of RE and
mass production and economy of scale, thus good profit margin for oil companies. Imagine this: doubling in fuel economy hence halving the oil consumption YET same or higher profit income for oil companies because total spending on fuels will remain the same. So, the oil
companies won't object to this mandate...and the oil companies have a lot of political power.

This will also boost the adaptation of Electric Vehicles (EV's) because electricity charged directly from Solar and Wind (S&W) energies will be cheaper than using S&W energies to make synthetic fuels.

Looks like the gradual-phasing-in RE mandate is gonna be a win win win situation for everyone. No carbon tax will be necessary. Tax is a dirty word in politic and is usually avoided by politicians.
This will even benefit oil and gas exporting countries. Imagine that Saudi Arabia can also produce fuels from their vast solar resources by using CO2 and H2O from sea water. Russia can produce liquid fuel and methane from wind energy using carbon sourced from waste biomass. With RE mandates, the higher prices of RE-synfuels will no longer matter. The slow phasing-in period of 50 years will ensure no hardship on neither consumers nor for oil producers. The world-wide economies will grow significantly when RE will be rapidly developed! With economy of scale, the future prices of RE-synfuels will be lower and lower.

Arnold

So many considerations. All coloured by our individual perspectives.That's what makes our world 'solid'.

The idea of chaos theory rules out predicting what will happen as humanity has proved to be capable of consistent surprise and renewal. We can never really see the whole big picture.

It was always important to recognise that from time to time the most resilient amongst us have brainsnaps and cognitive impairment.

In self defense 17 hours of sleep deprivation can be equivalent to blood alcohol levels of .05g/100ml! -Honestly officer.

Tomorrow, hopefully, my fingers won't be slurring across the keyboard.

The sun will shine and some problems will seem to have solved themselves.

A heartfelt hank you all for helping us to understand our collective world views.

Regards and best wishes for the season.


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