The U.S. Department of Energy today announced $46 million for 22 projects that will create biofuel energy to help decarbonize the transportation and power generation sectors. These innovative projects, led by universities, private companies, municipal resource management entities, and local governments, will develop waste conversion and carbon capture technologies to produce fuels from biomass and waste streams, and enable algal systems to capture carbon and turn it into alternative clean energy sources. Advancing renewable and sustainable energy sources through research and innovation will play a critical role in achieving President Biden’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.
“Turning waste and carbon pollution into clean energy at scale would be a double win—cleaning up waste streams that disproportionately burden low-income communities and turning it into essential energy,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Biofuel energy has the unique ability to decarbonize high-emitting sectors, create good-paying jobs, and significantly clear away barriers on the path to America’s clean energy future.”
Waste streams can cause a multitude of health impacts for surrounding communities as they often include gaseous carbon emissions from power plants, municipal solid waste, animal manure, wastewater residuals, and other organic materials. They are also more likely found in low-income communities, disproportionately affecting people of color and underserved neighborhoods. Waste streams are also an untapped, key feedstock for biofuel production. Algae, also a key feedstock for biofuels and products, can help significantly decarbonize the transportation and power generation sectors through carbon utilization technologies.
The selected project teams will support high-impact research and development to accelerate the growth of the bioeconomy by:
- Developing improved organisms and inorganic catalysts that support the next generation of low-carbon biofuels and bioproducts, turning costly waste streams into valuable bioenergy resources; and
- Increasing the capability of algal systems to capture carbon dioxide and use it to produce biofuels and bioproducts.
These projects are funded by DOE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) under the Waste Feedstocks and Conversion R&D funding opportunity and BETO and Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management under the Carbon Utilization Technology: Improving Efficient Systems for Algae funding opportunity.