DOE to provide $4 million for university biofuels research

By Susanne Retka Schill | April 08, 2008
Web exclusive posted April 25, 2008 at 10:05 a.m. CST

The U.S. Department of Energy will provide up to $4 million for university research to improve the conversion of biomass to advanced biofuels through biochemical, thermochemical and chemical processes while also focusing on lowering production costs and increasing yields and productivity. In its April11 funding opportunity announcement (FOA), the DOE said it anticipates selecting 12 projects from among the applications which are due June 2.

"These projects will expand the field of biomass and bioenergy encouraging collaboration with universities to the innovation necessary to diversify our nation's energy sources," DOE Under Secretary Clarence (Bud) Albright said during the announcement at the Shell Eco-Marathon Americas Competition. The competition is an educational project that challenges college and high school teams to build prototype vehicles using conventional or alternative fuels, including biofuels such as ethanol, derived from biomass conversion processes.

The DOE's advanced research and development funding contributes to President George W. Bush's goal of making cellulosic ethanol, which is produced from agricultural waste products through biomass conversion, cost-competitive by 2012. The FOA will expand the geographic diversity and breadth of partners working on advanced biofuels development across the country. This research also aims to increase the suite of biofuels necessary to supply at least 36 billion gallons of U.S. motor fuel by 2022 and meet interim supply targets for specific advanced fuels outlined in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.