DOE, EPA Offer Advanced Biofuels Development Funding Opportunity

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As part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have released a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), entitled “Inflation Reduction Act Funding for Advanced Biofuels,” for up to $9.4 million toward the development of advanced biofuels.

This investment through a new agreement between EPA and DOE is funded by Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act and will support high-impact biofuel technology projects to improve the performance and reduce the cost of biofuel production technologies, scale up production systems in partnership with industry and accelerate the nation’s bioeconomy. Advancing renewable and sustainable energy sources is essential to achieving the Biden-Harris administration’s clean energy and climate goals.

“Investing in bioenergy technologies provides a path forward to meet the growing demand for sustainable aviation fuel and other low-carbon biofuels,” says Jeff Marootian, DOE principal deputy assistant secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. “This joint DOE and EPA investment in a clean energy future is a great example of interagency partnership to further President Biden’s whole-of-government approach to tackling the climate crisis.”

“EPA is proud to partner with DOE in setting up this funding to advance President Biden’s Investing in America agenda” adds Joseph Goffman, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “This investment through the Inflation Reduction Act will spur innovation in the production of advanced biofuels, advancing this administration’s goal to build a stronger clean energy economy.”

Biofuels are liquid fuels produced from renewable biological sources, including plants and algae. When responsibly sourced, biofuel production in the U.S. can help strengthen the rural economy, reduce reliance on foreign sources of oil and support domestic production of cleaner fuels.

The FOA includes up to $9.4 million in federal funding to achieve the above outcomes by supporting two Topic Areas focusing on research and development (R&D) to advance technologies from the bench scale to pilot scale:

Topic Area 1: Pre-Pilot Scale Up of Integrated Biorefinery Technologies

Topic Area 1 will support development of scaling up key process step(s) already developed at the bench-top scale. The funding opportunity would require verification of the work at the bench-top scale, and then support development of the process step(s) at the pilot-scale. Work would entail designing and building the pilot-scale process step(s) and then performing an operational test. The proposed key step(s) are not required to comprise a fully integrated pilot scale unit by the end of the project, but rather can be used to support future integration of the entire process at pilot or demonstration scale.

Topic Area 2: Biointermediate Processing Toolbox

Topic Area 2 will support development and pilot-scale testing of key technology innovations for processing biointermediates, which are feedstocks that have been partially converted at one facility but are then sent to a separate facility for final processing into a renewable fuel; for example, co-processing biocrudes in legacy petroleum refinery infrastructure. Work would entail employing a technology feature to improve biointermediate processing, and then performing a pilot-scale operational test, along with employing a method to measure biogenic carbon in the co-processed fuel if the biointermediate is co-processed with petroleum.

DOE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) has supported enabling work at DOE national laboratories on biocarbon incorporation into transportation fuels via co-processing in refineries.

Domestic businesses, educational institutions and nonprofits are eligible to apply for the funding, which BETO will administer. FOA applicants will be required to explain how their proposed project meets EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) definition of an advanced biofuel. DOE envisions awarding one or more financial assistance awards in the form of cooperative agreements lasting about 36 months. The FOA concept paper deadline is 5 p.m. Eastern on March 22, 2024, and full applications are due at 5 p.m. Eastern on May 24, 2024.

Learn more about and view the full FOA on DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) exchange to register and apply. The solicitation with additional information on applicant eligibility is also available on Grants.gov.

An informational webinar for potential applicants will be held Monday, March 4, 2024, at 3 p.m. Eastern, where participants can hear about the objectives and requirements of the funding opportunity. Panelists will give a presentation on the topic areas and application process. The webinar will be recorded, and the recording will be available shortly afterward on the FOA landing page. The webinar is optional, and attendance is not a requirement to submit a concept paper.

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