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:
- R&D to optimize one unit operation of the proposed conversion pathway; and
- 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.