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DOE to award $35M for bioenergy feedstock and algae R&D

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $35 million in funding for bioenergy feedstock technologies and algae research and development. (DE-FOA-0002423) Topic Areas ins the FOA support DOE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office’s (BETO’s) objectives to reduce the minimum selling price of drop-in biofuels, lower the cost of biopower, and enable high-value products from biomass or waste resources.

Topic Areas include:

  1. Characterization of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) to Enable Production of Conversion-Ready Feedstocks (up to $15M). Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) represents a potential low-cost, abundant feedstock for producing fuels and products. The heterogeneity of MSW characteristics including chemical composition, and physical and biological properties, presents a significant challenge for utilization. The importance of any particular MSW characteristic is defined by the conversion technology specifications.

    1. Measurement of variability of key MSW characteristics within and across unique MSW streams.

    2. Development of novel methods for rapid/real-time measurements.

  2. Algae Productivity Exceeding Expectations (APEX) (up to $20M). Algae are photosynthetic, carbon sequestering organisms that have the ability to grow in fresh to saturated saline water, at a broad range of pH, and in many growth configurations including open unlined ponds, enclosed photobioreactors, attached growth systems, and in the open ocean. Due to their ability to use sunlight to convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into biomass with advantageous biochemical compositions, at high areal yield, using marginal land, and with waste resources, algae are a desirable renewable feedstock for the production of biofuels and bioproducts.

    However, increases in productivity per cultivation area (areal productivity) are necessary to accelerate the commercialization of algae technologies. This Topic Area seeks to support research to develop and test strain and cultivation technologies that advance the state-of-the-art for algal areal productivity and biomass quality achievable in industrially relevant cultivation systems.

    1. Improvements in productivity with traditional carbon dioxide (CO2) supply.

    2. Improvements in productivity with Direct Air Capture (DAC) of CO2 from ambient air.

The Feedstock Technologies Topic Area will focus on the characterization of MSW streams. Projects will work on understanding MSW variability and informing the steps necessary to produce conversion-ready feedstock.

The Advanced Algal Systems Topic Area looks to improve seasonal productivity of algae via a diverse portfolio of strains and improvement approaches. Projects will develop tools to accelerate current and future strain and cultivation improvements.

The application process will include two phases: a concept paper and a full application. Concept papers are due on 1 February 2021, and full applications are due on 5 April 2021.


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