WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $35 million in funding that will help slash carbon emissions and scale up the volume and efficiency of renewable biofuel. The 15 awarded research projects are housed at colleges, universities, and labs across nine states and will advance new technologies to decarbonize biorefining processes used across the energy, transportation, and agriculture sectors. The funding awards are supported by DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). These investments in advancements in clean energy technology, will help America achieve the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of 100% clean energy economy and net-zero emissions by 2050.
“Biofuel is a powerful tool in the clean energy toolkit that has immense potential to power our ships and airlines with zero carbon emissions,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “DOE is investing in research to reduce emissions and maximize the availability of efficient biofuel as we strive to reach President Biden’s net-zero carbon goals.”
Biofuel, including ethanol, biodiesel and other products derived from organic material (biomass), is almost exclusively produced via a conversion process called fermentation. These fermentation processes create carbon as a byproduct, with some processes wasting more than 1/3 of this carbon as CO2 emissions. As a result, there is a critical need to create new pathways for biofuel conversion that reduces carbon waste, prevents the loss of CO2 emissions, and in turn, maximizes the amount of renewable fuel a conversion process yields.
The 15 teams receiving awards through ARPA-E’s “Energy and Carbon Optimized Synthesis for the Bioeconomy” (ECOSynBio) program will work on the following methods to optimize biofuel manufacturing:
- Carbon-optimized fermentation strains that avoid CO2 waste;
- Engineered organisms that can use a mix of different sources of energy and carbon, and avoid evolving CO2;
- Biomass-derived sugar or carbon oxide gas fermentation with internal CO2 recycling;
- Cell-free carbon-optimized biocatalytic biomass conversion and/or CO2 use; and
- Cross-cutting carbon-optimized bioconversion methods that have the potential for high-impact emissions reductions.
“California is home to many of the world’s leading research institutions, and their innovations will be critical to building a clean energy economy,” said U.S. Senator Alex Padilla. “As we work to mitigate the impacts of climate change, we need to keep investing in the next generation of clean fuel technology. I’m proud to see California’s continued leadership in the development of these clean energy technologies and applaud the Biden administration for their ongoing commitment to combat climate change.”
“Like the Biden Administration, I am committed to investing in the technologies of tomorrow to drive us toward a more eco-friendly and sustainable future. Today’s…