U.S. Department of Energy: Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

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Thermochemical Conversion

The Bioenergy Technologies Office conducts research on heat-, pressure-, and catalyst-based conversion of various biomass feedstocks to biofuels, chemicals, and power. These conversion processes, most notably fast pyrolysis (as well as other forms of direct liquefaction) and gasification, are described in detail in the links on the left.

The Thermochemical Platform aims to efficiently produce biobased fuels and co-products via liquefaction and pyrolysis, followed by upgrading of  bio-oils and gaseous intermediates, respectively (for more information, view the thermochemical processes page). The platform aligns its research and development (R&D) with the Office's goals, which include using stand-alone thermochemical conversion systems and integrating efficient, complementary thermochemical conversion technology into a model biorefinery.

Feedstocks for thermochemical processes include a wide variety of biomass types,  including woody feedstocks, herbaceous and agricultural residues, and energy crops. Feedstock restrictions for thermochemical conversion mostly pertain to particle size, moisture, and ash content.

For more information on thermochemical conversion, see the Thermochemical Conversion: Using Heat and Chemistry to Make Fuels and Bioproducts.

Bio-Oil Stabilization and Commoditization (BOSC) Funding Opportunity

In April 2012, the Bioenergy Technologies Office announced a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) to support production of stable bio-oils from lignocellulosic and algal biomass sources for blending within petroleum refineries to produce fungible transportation fuels with a renewable component. The FOA targeted two topic areas: (1) Designed to target R&D for establishing "proof of concept" bio-oil production systems with the objective of engaging a refinery partner by the end of the 1-year project period for bio-oil quality testing, and (2) Tailored for technology providers with an R&D plan and refinery partner at the onset with the goal of "process validation" at an engineering-relevant scale. The key differences between Area 1 and Area 2 are technology readiness and refinery partner involvement. All applicants submitted a life-cycle assessment (LCA) to show they meet greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction requirements for an "advanced biofuel" in the Renewable Fuel Standard. At the end of their project, awardees will submit a completed techno-economic assessment and an updated LCA. The projects selected for award on August 15, 2012, are as follows:

Selected BOSC Topic Area 1 Awardees

Selected BOSC Topic Area 2 Awardees

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Content Last Updated: 06/18/2013