Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

Department of Energy Selects $3 Million in Research Projects to Advance Biofuels, Bioenergy, and Biobased Products

May 9, 2018

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WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $3 million in funding for advanced biofuels, bioenergy, and biobased products available through the Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI). DOE has selected two projects from the University of Tennessee and Northwestern University that will receive between $1 million to $2 million each.

Research projects funded through BRDI—a joint program organized through DOE and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)—will help develop economically and environmentally sustainable sources of biomass and increase the availability of competitively-priced renewable fuels and biobased products, all while helping to improve energy security by increasing and diversifying our domestic energy sources.

Integrating science and engineering, the two DOE projects will develop diverse, cost-effective cellulosic biomass technologies for use in the production of biofuels, as well as a range of biobased products that potentially can increase the economic feasibility of fuel production in a biorefinery. The DOE selections are:

  • The University of Tennessee (UT), Knoxville, TN – UT will be developing an integrated biorefinery design that combines the production of liquid fuels and renewable chemicals to verify production of affordable cellulosic ethanol.
  • Northwestern University (NU), Evanston, IL – NU will be developing a rapid synthesis of next-generation biofuels and bioproducts from lignocellulosic biomass. The project will employ several strategies to reduce the timeframe of discovering biosynthetic pathways to optimize fuel and chemical production, including bottom-up engineering principles, computational models, and cell-free framework systems.

Both these projects will lower the costs of the production of bio-based fuels, as well as co-products for chemicals and other uses. If successful, both projects will help the Bioenergy Technologies Office to meet its goal of less than $3 per gallon gasoline equivalent for advanced biofuels.

The Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) accelerates research and development of energy efficiency, sustainable transportation, and renewable energy technologies and solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, and boost domestic energy production, energy resilience, and energy affordability. Learn more about EERE's work with industry, academia, and national laboratory partners on a balanced portfolio of research in biomass feedstocks and conversion technologies. For more information on funding opportunities for advanced bioenergy technology projects, see the Bioenergy Technologies Office's financial opportunities.