DOE makes changes to biomass, biofuel advisory committees

By Erin Voegele | January 15, 2021

The U.S. Department of Energy on Jan. 13 announced it is terminating the Biomass Research and Development Technical Advisory Committee. A newly established Fuels of the Future Advisory Board (FoFAB), however, will have a standing subcommittee dedicated to biofuels.  

A DOE spokesman confirmed the action is part of the agency’s response to Executive Order 13875.

President Trump issued Executive Order 13875 in June 2019, requiring each federal agency to terminate at least one third of their committees established under the Federal Advisory Committee Act. Committee targeted for termination include those where stated objectives have been accomplished, subject matter or work has become obsolete, primary functions have been assumed by another entity, or where the agency determines that the cost of operation is excessive in relation to the benefits to the federal government.

As part of its effort to comply with that executive order, the DOE on Jan. 13 announced it is terminating three federal advisory committees, including the BR&D TAC, the Methane Hydrate Advisory Committee and the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technical Advisory Committee.

The DOE spokesperson said that expertise of all three terminated committees will continue to be a strong influence on the FoFAB, with the FoFAB charter plainly establishing three standing subcommittees, one for biofuels, one for hydrogen and one for methane hydrate.

“The new Fuels of the Future Advisory Board lets these three communities collaborate and benefit from each other’s efforts on overlapping technology issues such as fuel cells, overlapping economic issues in production and distribution, and very importantly, on environmental issues,” the spokesperson said. “The DOE remains committed to all promising energy sources that may serve the nation and the world and will continue the great research done in these areas with the help of outside expertise that comes through external advisory boards.”