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December 1, 2016
BETO Announces Notice of Intent for the Development of Algae-Based Biofuels

The U.S. Department of Energy‘s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), on behalf of the Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO), intends to issue a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) for up to $8 million, subject to appropriations. The FOA, entitled Productivity Enhanced Algae and Tool-Kits (PEAK), will support innovative technologies and approaches to help advance bioenergy and bioproducts from algae.

November 30, 2016
BETO Launches Multi-Lab Consortium to Advance Separations Technology

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) announces the establishment of the Bioenergy Separations Consortium (BioESep)—a consortium of eight DOE national laboratories leading coordinated research to move cost-effective, high-performing separations technologies to market. Separations processes can involve physical processes, like separating solids from liquids, or chemical processes, like purifying mixtures of molecules. To convert biomass to biofuels, many challenging separations are required, such as removing water from algae or taking contaminants out of sugar streams, before microbes or catalysts can further process them to fuels or products.

November 4, 2016
Process Converts Sewage to Biofuel

Sewage sludge can be converted into biofuel, but it has long been considered a poor source for fuel because it is too wet. This may change with a new Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) hydrothermal liquefaction process funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO).

October 28, 2016
BETO-Funded Study Enhancing the Economics of Advanced Biofuel Production Through Improved Infrastructure Materials Selection

With funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) evaluated the performance of several key materials used in biofuel production, processing, storage, and transportation systems. Rubber components and sealants are often exposed to chemically complex biofuel intermediates, which can cause materials to swell and affect the overall performance and service life of the product. Selection of materials that resist these effects is, therefore, a critical element for ensuring the long-term economic viability of biomass processing systems.

October 21, 2016
Life-Cycle Analysis Shows Potential for Almost 70% Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions of Renewable Diesel from Algae Fractionation Compared to Conventional Diesel

A new analysis from Argonne National Laboratory, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO), shows the potential of an algae fractionation process to produce renewable diesel fuel with 63%–68% lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than conventional diesel.

October 18, 2016
Celebrating the Legacy of Bioenergy Director Lt. Col. William C. Holmberg

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) recognizes the foundational accomplishments of retired Marine Lieutenant Colonel William C. Holmberg, the founding director of DOE bioenergy efforts and a titan of the bioenergy industry. Mr. Holmberg, known to his friends as Bill, passed away in September at the age of 88.

October 11, 2016
New Pilot Plant Demonstrates the Potential to Co-Process Biomass Streams with Petroleum

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), together with leading petroleum refining technologies supplier W.R. Grace, and leading pilot plant designer Zeton Inc., built a unique pilot-scale facility that can produce biomass-derived fuel intermediates with existing petroleum refinery infrastructure. This pilot plant, constructed in part with funding from the Bioenergy Technologies Office, combines biomass pyrolysis together with fluid catalytic cracking—one of the most important conversion processes used in petroleum refineries—to demonstrate the potential to co-process biomass-derived streams with petroleum, at an industrially-relevant pilot scale.

October 7, 2016
Fermentation tank from Lawerence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Advanced Biofuels Process Demonstration Unit, used by Lygos for pre-pilot testing of malonic acid production. (Photo from “<a href="https://youtu.be/EjdixWf1tYw?t">Enabling the Billion-Ton Bioeconomy</a>” video; Lygos Founder and CEO, Eric Steen, appears in a <a href="https://youtu.be/EjdixWf1tYw?t=1m53s">segment</a> of the video.)
Lygos Wins Innovation Award for Cutting-Edge Progress Toward Biobased Chemical Production

Industrial biotechnology company Lygos, Inc. won the “Bio-Based Chemical Innovation of the Year” award at the inaugural Bio-Based Live conference in San Francisco, California, for its biobased method to produce malonic acid, a versatile chemical used to make products ranging from flavorings in food to ultraviolet radiation-resistant coatings. Lygos uses microbes to produce the malonic acid from sugars that can be derived from non-food, cellulosic biomass. The process is also much cleaner and safer than conventional petroleum-based methods.

October 5, 2016
BETO Establishes a Consortium of National Laboratories to Streamline Biomanufacturing

On October 1, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) established the Agile BioFoundry (ABF)—a new consortium of nine Energy Department national laboratories working to standardize and streamline the entire biomanufacturing pipeline by uniting computer-assisted biological pathway design, process integration, process scale-up, and machine learning.

October 5, 2016
NREL Lowers Biofuel Costs Through Catalyst Regeneration and Vapor-Phase Upgrading

This past June, researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), in partnership with Particulate Solids Research, Inc. and Springs Fabrication, installed a recirculating regenerating riser reactor (R-Cubed) in their pilot-scale Thermochemical Process Development Unit. The R-Cubed system will now allow for catalytic upgrading of biomass pyrolysis vapors—a process that can significantly improve the efficiency and reduce the costs associated with upgrading bio-oil to a finished fuel product—at an industrially-relevant pilot scale.

October 4, 2016
Bioenergy News
BETO Hosts Biorefinery Optimization Workshop October 5–6

The Biorefinery Optimization Workshop, hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO), is being held on October 5–6, 2016, in Chicago, Illinois. The workshop will advance the understanding of the current capabilities, barriers, and opportunities for integrated biorefineries working to produce biofuels, biochemicals, and bioproducts.

September 27, 2016
Alcohol-to-jet production units at LanzaTech Freedom Pines Biorefinery in Soperton, Georgia.
BETO-Funded Technology Produces Jet Fuel for Virgin Atlantic

LanzaTech recently announced a significant milestone—producing 1,500 gallons of renewable jet fuel from industrial waste gases. LanzaTech uses a jet fuel intermediate, called “Lanzanol,” which is then converted into a renewable jet fuel using technology developed in partnership with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and funded in part by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO). Virgin Atlantic’s planes will use this final jet fuel product, which is compatible with existing aviation infrastructure.

September 13, 2016
Bioenergy News
Bioenergy Technologies Office Hosts Alternative Aviation Fuel Workshop

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) is hosting a 2-day workshop gathering lead experts in the field of aviation biofuels on September 14–15, 2016. The Alternative Aviation Fuel Workshop, which is being held in Macon, Georgia, will advance the understanding of current opportunities to increase the competitiveness of alternative jet fuels.

August 23, 2016
BETO Partner Makes the 2016 CNBC Disruptor Companies List

Carbon recycling company LanzaTech is ranked #13 on CNBC’s fourth annual Disruptor 50 list, which recognizes forward-thinking start-up companies whose innovations are revolutionizing the business landscape. LanzaTech produces fuels and chemicals from industrial waste gases—capturing the gases before they are emitted into the atmosphere as greenhouse gases and other pollutants.

August 19, 2016
Bioenergy Technologies Office Allocates $1 Million for Round 2 of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Small Business Vouchers Pilot

Bioenergy Technologies Office Allocates $1 Million for Round 2 of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Small Business Vouchers Pilot. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Small Business Vouchers (SBV) Pilot, which is part of DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE’s) National Laboratory Impact Initiative, in collaboration with national laboratories, supports small businesses to advance energy technology and help transform our biomass resources into commercially successful, high-performance biofuels, bioproducts, and biopower. To date, EERE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) has provided a total of $1.6 million through two rounds of SBV awards. Round 1 occurred earlier in 2016, and Round 2 vouchers have just been awarded. In the most recent round, DOE is providing $1 million in vouchers to assist five companies.

August 18, 2016
Energy Department Awards 43 new Business-Laboratory Collaborations under Small Business Vouchers Pilot

Today, the Energy Department announced 43 small businesses will participate in the second round of the Small Business Vouchers (SBV) pilot. With vouchers in hand, these businesses can better leverage the world-class capabilities of the department's national laboratories and bring their next-generation clean energy technologies to the marketplace faster.

August 2, 2016
Energy Department Announces $11.3 Million for MEGA-BIO: Bioproducts to Enable Biofuels

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced today up to $11.3 million for three projects that support the development of biomass-to-hydrocarbon biofuels conversion pathways that can produce variable amounts of fuels and/or products based on external factors, such as market demand.

August 1, 2016
Energy Department Announces $7 Million to Accelerate Fuel and Engine Co-Optimization Technologies

The U.S Department of Energy (DOE) announced today up to $7 million in project funding to accelerate the introduction of affordable, scalable, and sustainable high-performance fuels for use in high-efficiency, low-emission engines as part of the Co-Optimization of Fuels and Engines (Co-Optima) initiative.

July 15, 2016
Bioenergy Technologies Office Announces Notice of Intent for the Co-Optimization of Fuels and Engines Initiative

The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) intends to issue, on behalf of the Bioenergy Technology Office (BETO) and Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO), a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) entitled “Co-Optimization of Fuels and Engines.” The FOA will be restricted to U.S. Institutions of Higher Education and non-profit research institutions that operate as a division under the U.S. Institutions of Higher Education.

July 14, 2016
Energy Department Announces $15 Million to Advance Algae-based Biofuels and Bioproducts

The Energy Department today announced up to $15 million for three projects aimed at reducing the production costs of algae-based biofuels and bioproducts through improvements in algal biomass yields.

July 12, 2016
Future Bioeconomy Supported by More Than One Billion Tons of Biomass Potential

Within 25 years, the United States could produce enough biomass to support a bioeconomy, including renewable aquatic and terrestrial biomass resources that could be used for energy and to develop products for economic, environmental, social, and national security benefits.

June 14, 2016
Graphic courtesy of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Release Commercial Aircraft Propulsion and Energy Systems Research: Reducing Global Carbon Emissions

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine releases the Commercial Aircraft Propulsion and Energy Systems Research: Reducing Global Carbon Emissions report, which focuses on large (single- and twin-aisle) planes that transport more than 100 people. These aircraft account for more than 90% of greenhouse gas emissions from all commercial aircraft.

June 8, 2016
DOE Requests Information on Revolutionary Biomass Supply Systems Supporting a Billion-Ton Bioeconomy Vision

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE’s) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) Feedstock Supply and Logistics Program is responsible for developing technologies to support Advanced Feedstock Supply Systems (AFSS) that would enable mobilization of our growing national biomass resources to support a thriving bioeconomy. DOE seeks feedback from industry, academia, research laboratories, government agencies, and other stakeholders to support a “billion-ton bioeconomy.” This request for information (RFI) asks for input about specific aspects in the development of large-scale supply systems and technologies to eventually supply up to a billion dry tons of biomass feedstocks annually for a variety of end uses.

May 25, 2016
Bioenergy News
2016 BioenergizeME Infographic Challenge Winners Crowned

The winner of the 2016 BioenergizeME Infographic Challenge was announced during a special awards ceremony on May 11, 2016, by Dr. Jonathan Male, Director of the Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO). The winning infographic entitled “Cellulosic Ethanol: Fueling the Future,” was developed by students from Smithtown High School East in St. James, New York.

May 23, 2016
Bioenergy News
Algal Biology Toolbox Workshop Brings Lead Experts to Inform Algae-Based Biofuel Strategy

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) is hosting a two-day workshop gathering lead experts in the field of algal biology from May 24–25, 2016. This workshop, “Sharpening Our Tools: Algal Biology Toolbox Workshop,” held in San Diego, California, will discuss research and development (R&D) needed to achieve affordable, scalable, and sustainable algae-based biofuels. It is the first algal biofuels strategy workshop to focus specifically on improvements in algal biology—a key research focus required to advance the economic viability of algae-based biofuels.