Biomass 2008: Fueling our Future Conference Considers Federal Strategy for Sustainability, Collaboration

April 21, 2008

Alexandria, VA - The Department of Energy's Biomass 2008: Fueling our Future conference was held April 17-18, 2008. In-depth discussions of current biofuels issues throughout the event were augmented by Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) highlighting the Department's support for cellulosic biorefining to achieve national goals for environmentally-conscious energy security.

Biomass Program Manager Jacques Beaudry-Losique began the two-day event by announcing a FOA soliciting applications for projects that can improve the conversion of biomass to advanced biofuels via pyrolysis – a process that uses heat to chemically decompose the lignin, cellulose, and hemicellulose of biomass materials. Up to $7 million in federal funding over two years (Fiscal years 2008 – 2009) will be provided for advanced research and development in converting non-food based biomass to advance clean and affordable biofuels. Combined with private minimum cost share of 20 percent, up to $8.75 million would be invested in this research effort. Pyrolysis Press Release

Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman spoke on the second day regarding the importance of developing clean, affordable, and sustainable biofuels to meet the President’s goal of stopping the growth in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2025. To this end, Bodman announced that the Department will invest $86 million over the next four years (FY ’08 - ‘11) in three new cellulosic ethanol biorefineries, to be built by Ecofin, LLC; Mascoma; and RSE Pulp & Chemical, LLC. The small-scale biorefineries were competitively selected to receive funding, with which they will produce ethanol from non-edible cellulosic biomass sources, such as corncobs, wood chips, and switchgrass. The three small-scale cellulosic biorefineries will be constructed in Old Town, ME; Vonore, TN; and Washington County, KY. Three Small-scale Cellulosic Biorefineries Press Release

Biomass Program Manager Jacques Beaudry-Losique closed the conference by announcing he plans to make it an annual event.

Presentations from the conference can be accessed via the event website: