Several new, federally-funded grant opportunities for biofuel initiatives have been announced by the Obama Administration, as part of the ongoing commitment to reduce our reliance on imported oil. Summaries are listed below, but additional details can be found by following this link:
Commercial-scale Advanced Drop-In Biofuels
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Navy and Department of Energy are announcing $30 million in federal funding to match private investments in commercial-scale advanced drop-in biofuels. The Energy Department is also announcing a total of $32 million in new investments for earlier stage research that will continue to drive technological breakthroughs and additional cost reductions in the industry.
Commercial-Scale Drop-In Biofuel Substitutes for Diesel and Jet Fuel
As part of the Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future, the Navy, USDA and DOE are collaborating to support commercialization of "drop-in" biofuel substitutes for diesel and jet fuel. Competitively-priced drop-in biofuels will help improve America's energy security, meeting the fuel needs of U.S. armed forces, as well as the commercial aviation and shipping sectors. $30 million in funding has been allocated to help speed the development of biofuels for military and commercial transportation that will reduce the need for foreign oil and strengthen rural America. The Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is available.
The FOA comprises a two-phased approach, with government and industry sharing in the cost. In Phase 1, applicants will submit a design package and comprehensive business plan for a commercial-scale biorefinery, identify and secure project sites and take additional required steps spelled out in the announcement. Awardees selected to continue into Phase 2 will submit additional information for the construction or retrofit of a biorefinery.
Agencies participating in this initiative will make additional funding requests to Congress to support the initiative, including President Obama's FY 2013 budget request of $110 million.
Biofuel Research, Development, and Demonstration
The Energy Department also announced new investments in earlier stage biofuels research that complements the commercial-scale efforts announced by the Navy and USDA. Totaling $32 million, these early-stage, pre-commercial investments are the latest steps in the Obama Administration's efforts to advance biofuels technologies to continue to bring down costs, improve performance, and identify new effective, non-food feedstocks and processing technologies.
The funding announced by DOE includes $20 million to support innovative pilot-scale and demonstration-scale biorefineries that could produce renewable biofuels that meet military specifications for jet fuel and shipboard diesel using a variety of non-food biomass feedstocks, waste-based materials and algae. These projects may support new plant construction, retrofits on existing U.S. biorefineries or operation at plants ready to begin production at the pilot- or pre-commercial scale. This investment will also help federal and local governments, private developers and industry collect accurate data on the cost of producing fuels made from biomass and waste feedstocks. The full funding solicitation is available.