DOE to Invest $786.5 Million in Recovery Act Funds in Biofuels
May 6, 2009
President Barack Obama announced on May 5 that DOE plans to invest $786.5 million from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act to accelerate advanced biofuels research and development and to provide additional funding for biorefinery demonstration projects. The DOE investment was part of a larger presidential announcement on biofuels. The funding for biorefineries includes a $480 million solicitation for pilot- and demonstration-scale "integrated" biorefineries, which produce advanced biofuels, biobased products, and heat and power in a single integrated system. DOE anticipates making 10 to 20 awards for refineries at various scales and designs, all to be operational in the next three years. The DOE funding ceiling is $25 million for pilot-scale projects and $50 million for demonstration-scale projects. In addition, $176.5 million will be used to increase the DOE funding ceiling on two or more demonstration- or commercial-scale biorefinery projects that were selected and awarded within the last two years. The funds are expected to expedite the construction phase of these projects and ultimately accelerate the timeline for start up and commissioning. See the integrated biorefinery solicitation by searching the public opportunities on FedConnect for reference number DE-FOA-0000096.
An additional $130 million in funds will support biofuels research and development, including $25 million to further support the Bioenergy Research Centers that were established last year and to establish a small-scale integrated biorefinery pilot plant that will be available as a DOE user facility. The remaining funds will be distributed through three competition solicitations, including $20 million to evaluate the impact on conventional vehicles of gasoline blends containing more than 10% ethanol, to optimize the performance of flex-fuel blends running on E85 (a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline), and to upgrade existing refueling infrastructure to be compatible with fuels containing up to 85% ethanol. An additional $50 million will support consortiums to develop algae-based biofuels, while $35 million will support a consortium to develop other third-generation biofuels, such as green gasoline and green diesel, both of which are biobased hydrocarbon fuels. See the DOE press release. To see the Funding Opportunity Announcements for the refueling infrastructure upgrades and the biofuel consortiums, search the public opportunities on FedConnect for reference numbers DE-FOA-0000125 (responses due October 4) and DE-FOA-0000123 (responses due September 14), respectively.