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President Obama’s fiscal year (FY) 2017 budget request was released earlier this month, proposing increased funding levels for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The request proposes $278.9 million for the Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO), which is a $53.9 million (24%) increase from the enacted budget for FY 2016. This percent increase is 14% higher than the Energy Department’s requested increase as a whole compared to FY 2016, emphasizing the growing importance of bioenergy towards the nation’s clean energy goals. The funding would include an increase for almost all Office programs which include Feedstock Supply and Logistics (formerly Feedstocks), Advanced Algal Systems (formerly under Feedstocks), Conversion Technologies, Demonstration and Market Transformation, and Strategic Analysis and Cross-Cutting Sustainability.
Highlights of the FY 2017 Budget Request:
- Feedstock Supply and Logistics will support a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) to develop preprocessing technologies to reduce the cost for processing and transporting feedstocks to the biorefinery, which will be an essential part of creating a national bioeconomy.
- Advanced Algal Systems will select up to three additional projects for the Algae Biomass Yield II FOA focused on improving biomass productivity, yield, and other logistical considerations.
- Conversion Technologies will support development of a Syn-Bio effort, which will leverage the tools of synthetic biology to enable the biotechnology industry to achieve substantial improvements in conversion efficiencies and the scale-up of biological processes.
- Demonstration and Market Transformation will support Phase II of the FY 2016 integrated biorefinery FOA to down select for the construction and operation of up to one demonstration-scale and one pilot-scale facilities to produce drop-in hydrocarbon fuels.
- Strategic Analysis and Cross-Cutting Sustainability will identify best practices for reducing air emissions, water use, and wastewater associated with advanced bioenergy pathways, as well as publicly deploy Web-based tools that enable users to visualize and improve the sustainability performance of bioenergy systems.
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 focuses on accelerating the development and commercialization of cost-competitive technologies to convert the nation’s abundant domestic, renewable biomass resources into advanced biofuels and biobased products. This work is part of DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy strategy to reduce U.S. reliance on oil, increase energy affordability, ensure environmental responsibility, enhance energy security, offer Americans a broader range of energy choices, and create new jobs.
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 2017 Budget Justification, Volume 3, pp. 51–70.