This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.
DOE Offers $160 Million for Biorefinery Construction
DOE announced on February 22nd its offer of $160 million in funds over the next three years to construct up to three biorefineries in the United States. Biorefineries are a concept similar to today's refineries, except that instead of using petroleum as their raw material, they draw on woody biomass resources such as agricultural waste, trees, forest residues, and perennial grasses. Like today's refineries, biorefineries will produce both fuels and chemicals. See the description of biorefineries on the DOE Biomass Program Web site.
The goal of the new solicitation is to demonstrate that commercial biorefineries can be profitable once initial construction costs are paid. DOE will provide up to $100 million for any single demonstration project, and industry is required to provide at least 60 percent of the total cost of the project. The solicitation is part of President Bush's Biofuels Initiative, which includes a goal to make cellulosic ethanol—ethanol derived from woody biomass—cost-competitive by 2012, potentially displacing up to 30 percent of the current U.S. fuel use by 2030. See the DOE press release.