Key Activities

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The key activities of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) are aimed at developing a viable, sustainable domestic biomass industry that produces renewable biofuels, bioproducts, and biopower; enhances U.S. energy security; reduces dependence on foreign oil; provides environmental benefits; and creates nationwide economic opportunities. Meeting these goals requires significant and rapid advances in the entire biomass-to-bioenergy supply chain—from the farmer’s field to the consumer.

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Office Summaries

  • BETO released its updated strategic plan in December 2016, titled Strategic Plan for a Thriving and Sustainable Bioeconomy, which provides a blueprint on how best to tackle the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in building the U.S. bioeconomy.
  • The Bioenergy Technologies Office Multi-Year Program Plan outlines BETO's strategy for research and development of various biomass technologies.
  • Replacing the Whole Barrel to Reduce U.S. Dependence on Oil, provides highlights of BETO's major research, and development activities to advance biomass conversion, technology integration in biorefineries, and supply logistics to provide a secure, sustainable supply of advanced biofuels.
  • The peer review process, a biennial requirement for all programs in DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), helps to guide BETO’s future research and development activities. BETO will be hosting the 2017 Project Peer Review on March 5–10, 2017. Information about the event and reports from previous peer reviews can be found on the 2017 Project Peer Review Web page.
  • More BETO publications and information are available in the Information Resources section.

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Research and Development

BETO uses an integrated framework to manage its research and development activities. BETO down-selects the most promising opportunities through systematic investigation and evaluation of a broad range of emerging technologies across several technology readiness levels. This approach supports a diverse technology portfolio in applied research and development. For more information on specific activities within BETO’s program areas, please view the Research and Development section of this website.

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Budget

BETO currently requests funding by activity through EERE. Annual budgets guide BETO activities, including research opportunities and funding opportunity announcements and awards. Budget focal points for BETO over the last 5 fiscal years have been on the following activities:

  • Conversion Technologies
  • Advanced Development and Optimization
  • Analysis & Sustainability
  • Advanced Algal Systems
  • Feedstock Supply and Logistics

The table below shows annual budgets (dollars in thousands) for BETO activities beginning in fiscal year (FY) 2013, as well as the FY 2017 budget request.

BETO Annual Budgets, FY 2013–FY 2017
Activities

FY 13 ($K)

FY 14 ($K)

FY 15 ($K)

FY 16 ($K)

FY 17 Request ($K)

Conversion Technologies$81,057$111,987$95,800$85,500$140,900
Demonstration and Market Transformation$46,248$47,381$79,700$75,100$75,000
Analysis & Sustainability$15,830$12,154$11,000$11,000$11,000
Cookstoves$4,487$2,000$0$0$0
Advanced Algal Systems$31,659$30,000$25,000$30,000$30,000
Feedstock Supply and Logistics$19,523$23,907$7,000$16,500$22,000
National Renewable Energy Laboratory Site-Wide Facilities$0$5,000$6,500$6,900$0
Total$198,804$232,429$225,000$225,000$278,900

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Policy

Federal and state policies support and guide the development and use of advanced biofuels. These policies range from directing and funding biofuels research and development, to ensuring interagency coordination of biofuels-related efforts, to requiring assessments of existing biofuels policies and programs. The main policy driver that influences BETO's efforts is the Energy Independence and Security Act:

  • The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 sets goals calling for transportation fuel sold or introduced into commerce in the United States (on an annual average basis) to contain at least the mandated volume of renewable fuel, advanced biofuel, cellulosic biofuel, and biomass-based diesel, which help direct BETO activities and initiatives, including the following: 
    • Moving renewable fuels into the marketplace
    • Reducing the nation's dependence on foreign sources of energy
    • Reducing harmful emissions from the transportation sector.

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Partnerships

BETO works with other federal agencies, national laboratories, industry, nonprofit organizations, and academia to share and learn from valuable insights and perspectives that can help identify the most critical challenges facing the biofuels industry. By using partnerships, BETO is able to better define and employ strategies with partners to overcome challenges in effectively deploying biofuels and bioproducts. Some key partnerships include the following:

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