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President Obama’s fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget request was released Monday, proposing funding levels for the U.S. Department of Energy, including $246 million for the Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO). This budget would be a $21 million increase from BETO’s enacted budget for FY 2015 and would include an increase for all Office programs: Feedstocks, Conversion Technologies, Demonstration and Market Transformation (new title; formerly “demonstration and deployment”), and Strategic Analysis and Cross-Cutting Sustainability.
Proposed changes in BETO program activities include the following:
- Feedstocks (including Algae): Increased funding will be applied to the FY 2016 Algal Biomass Yield Phase 2 funding opportunity for up to three facilities to reduce the risk of scaling up to achieve 2,500 gallon/acre annual average yields of biofuel intermediate oil at the one-acre cultivation equivalent scale.
- Conversion Technologies: The increase reflects a greater emphasis on preparing to conduct validation activities at a scale above bench scale with process integration to meet the FY 2017 research and development target (to validate a mature, modeled thermochemical conversion cost of $3.39/gallon gasoline equivalent for a combined blendstock) as technologies reach greater maturity and de-risk the technologies in preparation to release the successful projects to the Demonstration and Market Transformation Program.
- Demonstration and Market Transformation: Increased funding will be applied for up to three new pilot projects or one new demonstration project that will enable the advancement of a wider array of technology pathways converting biomass feedstocks to hydrocarbon fuels.
- Strategic Analysis and Cross-Cutting Sustainability: Increase funding for projects focused on improving the environmental and social benefits of bioenergy production while generating critical data on feedstock quality, logistics costs, and life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions.
Next, House and Senate committees will hold hearings on the President’s budget request and will submit their own budget resolutions. The House will then begin consideration of annual appropriation bills and reconcile differences based on allocations in the budget resolutions. Finally, the President will sign the budget into law or veto.
The Bioenergy Technologies Office is working to produce cost-competitive ($3/gallon of gasoline equivalent) advanced biofuels from non-food biomass resources that reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% or more versus petroleum-based alternatives. This work is part of Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy all-of-the-above energy strategy to reduce U.S. reliance on oil, create jobs, and reduce pollution.
For a detailed break-down of BETO funding in the President’s Budget Request and for additional information about BETO’s purpose and programs, see the Energy Department’s FY 2016 Budget Justification, Volume 3, pp. 52–73.