DOE Announces $18M to Advance Drop-In Biofuels

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced $18 million in investments for four pilot-scale biorefineries that will test renewable biofuels that will meet military specifications for jet fuel, shipboard diesel, cars and trucks. These projects build on the Obama Administration’s broader efforts to advance biofuels technologies to continue to bring down costs, improve performance and identify effective, non-food feedstocks and processing techniques.

Logos for DOE StoryThe projects selected for negotiation are: Frontline Bioenergy LLC (up to $4.2 million based in Ames, Iowa); Cobalt Technologies (up to $2.5 million based in Mountain View, California); Mercurius Biorefining, Inc. (up to $4.6 million based in Ferndale, Washington) and BioProcess Algae (up to $6.4 million based in Shenandoah, Iowa).

“Advanced biofuels are an important part of President Obama’s all-of-the-above strategy to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil, improve our energy security and protect our air and water,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “The innovative biorefinery projects announced today mark an important step toward producing fuels for our American military and the civil aviation industry from renewable resources found right here in the United States.”

Chu says domestic oil and gas production has increased each year the President has been in office. Simultaneously the administration is taking additional steps to reduce America’s reliance on foreign oil. As part of this effort, the Department is helping to speed the development of hydrocarbon-based biofuels that are more compatible with today’s infrastructure and engines, including heavy vehicles and other applications. According to the Energy Department’s Billion Ton Study, advanced biofuels have the potential to displace approximately one-third of the nation’s current transportation petroleum use.

The pilot-scale biorefinery projects selected today will use a variety of non-food biomass feedstocks, waste-based materials, and algae in innovative conversion processes to produce biofuels that meet military specifications for jet fuel and diesel. The projects will demonstrate technologies to cost-effectively convert biomass into advanced drop-in biofuels and assist these organizations to scale up the processes to commercial levels. Recipients are required to contribute a minimum of 50 percent matching funds for these projects.

2 thoughts on “DOE Announces $18M to Advance Drop-In Biofuels

  1. Why is our military being used as a front for paying off political debts and buying votes with biofuel subsidies and biorefinery construction at taxpayer expense? RAND, The National Academy of Science, The National Research Council, and the Nature Conservancy have all come out strongly questioning the energy balances and greenhouse gas emission reductions claimed by biofuel proponents. The Europeans, who are farther down this road than we are, have begun dialing back liquid biofuels because of the growing evidence of food competition, environmental damage, human rights violations, water stress, and even increased lifecycle GHG emissions compared to fossil fuels.

    The German National Academy of Science has recommended all European governments end all biofuel mandates: http://www.leopoldina.org/en/publications/detailview/?publicationpublication=433

    Germans consumers have rejected E10 at the pumps: http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/out-of-gas-e10-debacle-puts-the-brakes-on-biofuels-a-757812.html

    There is new EU legislation that limits first generation biofuel blending to 5%, phases out subsidies, and imposes greater scrutiny and higher thresholds for true GHG reductions: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/10/us-eu-biofuels-idUSBRE8890SJ20120910 and http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/01/18/1466121/new-report-calls-on-europe-to-meet-its-2020-transport-fuel-standards-without-reliance-on-biofuels/

    A consortium of Nine European Environmental Groups is mounting opposition to biofuels as well: http://www.ieep.eu/assets/786/Analysis_of_ILUC_Based_on_the_National_Renewable_Energy_Action_Plans.pdf.

    It is time we recognize this epic political scam for what it is and force our politicians to stop pouring our tax money down this drain.

  2. Wouldn’t this money be better spent by addressing the national debt, rather than blowing it on a pipe dream that will never economically materialize? Yet another example of wasteful spending by our government. Who makes these decisions?