U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's Office of the Biomass Program has implemented the Biofuels Initiative (BFI), with the goal of reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil by meeting the following targets:
- To make cellulosic ethanol (or ethanol from non-grain biomass resources) cost competitive with gasoline by 2012.
- To replace 30 percent of current levels of gasoline consumption with biofuels by 2030 (or 30x30).
Background and Basis for the BFI
During the 2006 State of the Union Address, the President announced the Advanced Energy Initiative (AEI). The AEI aims to reduce the nation's reliance on foreign sources of energy by addressing two areas: 1) Changing the way we fuel our vehicles, and 2) Changing the way we power our homes and businesses.
The AEI goals that address the way we fuel our vehicles are:
- Develop advanced battery technologies that allow a plug-in hybrid-electric vehicle to have a 40-mile range operating solely by battery charge.
- Foster the breakthrough technologies needed to make cellulosic ethanol cost competitive with corn-based ethanol by 2012.
- Accelerate progress towards the President's goal of enabling large numbers of Americans to choose hydrogen fuel cell vehicles by 2020.
The Biomass Program adopted the President's goal to make cellulosic ethanol technologies cost competitive by 2012. To assess the impact it could have in contributing to reducing dependence on foreign sources of energy, it analyzed the biomass resource potential identified in the DOE/USDA Billion Ton Study (PDF 8.5 MB). Based on that analysis, the Biomass Program set a goal to reduce 30 percent of our current transportation fuel usage by 2030. This goal is equivalent to 60 billion gallons of ethanol.
Implementing and Achieving the BFI
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 required the Department of Energy to solicit proposals for the demonstration of commercial scale integrated biorefineries that convert cellulosic biomass resources into fuels, chemicals, and power. These projects will be play a large role in developing and validating the technology required to meet the 2012 goal of making cellulosic ethanol technologies cost competitive.
The Biomass Program has also undergone a number of planning efforts that will help contribute to meeting both the 2012 cost target and the 2030 volumetric target. In August 2006, the Program hosted the "30x30 Workshop", during which input was collected from industry, academic, and other external stakeholders for the technology, policy, and infrastructure needs required to meet both goals.
In November 2006, the Program hosted the National Biofuels Action (NBA) Plan Workshop, during which representatives from all Federal agencies involved in biomass-related work came together to identify areas of overlap or gaps in their work. The Program is currently working with these agencies to develop the NBA Plan that will outline the strategy for meeting the goals of the BFI. The Interagency Biomass R&D Board will be primarily responsible for implementing the plan.