This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.
DOE Awards $83.3 Million to Develop a Sustainable Biofuels Industry
DOE announced the steps that it will be taking to support the development of a sustainable biofuels industry, per the conclusions and recommendations in the recently released National Biofuels Action Plan (NBAP). The NBAP, which was released October 7, is an interagency plan that details the collaborative efforts of federal agencies to accelerate the development of a sustainable biofuels industry, and outlines federal work in seven specific areas and "next steps" and goals that are required in order to further develop the biofuels industry. DOE will focus on three major goals: research to enable increased use of biofuels; deployment of cellulosic biorefineries; and research and development of biofuels.
DOE's research to increase the usage of biofuels will be focused mostly on assessing the potential impacts of E15 and E20—blends of gasoline and 15% to 20% ethanol, respectively—on conventional vehicles and other gasoline engines. A preliminary report released by DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) on the affects of E15 and E20 on 13 vehicles and 28 small non-road engines, including lawn equipment and generators, was also released on October 7, and demonstrates no statistically significant difference in regulated emissions.
DOE has also announced that it will invest an additional $76.3 million in POET, LLC, which is producing a commercial-scale cellulosic biorefinery. POET received $3.7 million under the first phase of a cooperative agreement with DOE that covered initial design, permitting, and preparation of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documentation. This second phase of funding will support final design, construction, and commissioning of the project to develop an economically viable cellulose-to-ethanol biorefinery. Additionally, DOE has selected five advanced biofuels projects to receive $7 million in funding, subject to annual appropriations. The five projects will develop cost-effective, environmentally friendly ways to convert non-food feedstocks into stabilized pyrolysis oils. Pyrolysis involves the rapid heating of biomass in the absence of oxygen. See the DOE press release, the DOE fact sheet on the intermediate ethanol blend report, and the intermediate ethanol blends report from NREL and ORNL (PDF 1.5 MB). Download Adobe Reader.