Key Activities

The Bioenergy Technologies Office's key activities are aimed at producing a viable, sustainable domestic biomass industry that produces renewable biofuels, bioproducts and biopower; enhances U.S. energy security; reduces U.S. oil dependence; provides environmental benefits (e.g., reduced greenhouse gas emissions); 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.

Use the links below to jump to specific areas of interest:

Office Summaries 

  • The overview publication, Replacing the Whole Barrel to Reduce U.S. Dependence on Oil, provides highlights of the Bioenergy Technologies Office's major research, development, demonstration, and deployment activities to advance biomass conversion, technology integration in biorefineries, and supply logistics to provide a secure, sustainable supply of advanced biofuels.
  • The Bioenergy Technologies Office Overview presentation is an interactive walk through of the Office's vision of advancing the next generation biofuels and bioproducts industry and highlights the research and development activities being performed in an effort to achieve it.
  • The Bioenergy Technologies Office Multi-Year Program Plan outlines the Department of Energy's strategy for research, development, and deployment of various biomass technologies from 2012 through 2022.
  • The Bioenergy Technologies Office Peer Review process, a biennial requirement for all EERE programs, helps to guide future Office research and development activities. The resultant reports can be found on the Peer Review Web page.
  • More Bioenergy Technologies Office publications and information are available in the Information Resources section.

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Research, Development, Demonstration, and Deployment

The Office uses an integrated framework to manage its research, development, demonstration, and deployment activities. The Office 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, and identifies the most promising targets for follow-on industrial-scale demonstration and deployment. For more information on specific activities within Office platforms, please view the Research and Development section of the website.

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The Bioenergy Technologies Office currently requests funding by activity through the annual Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill. The Office also received funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Annual budgets guide Office activities, including research opportunities; funding opportunity announcements and awards; and Office technology focus. Budget focal points for the Bioenergy Technologies Office over the past five fiscal years have been on the following activities:

  • Small business innovation research/small business technology transfer (SBIR/STTR)
  • Cellulosic Ethanol Reverse Auction
  • Biopower
  • Analysis and Sustainability
  • Integrated Biorefineries
  • Conversion Technologies.

The chart below shows annual budgets (dollars in thousands) for Office activities beginning in fiscal year (FY) 2008, as well as the 2013 budget request.

Chart showing annual budgets for Program activities beginning in fiscal year (FY) 2008, as well as the 2013 budget request.

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

  • The Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 sets aggressive goals calling for transportation fuel sold or introduced into commerce in the United States (on an annual average basis) contains at least the applicable volume of renewable fuel, advanced biofuel, cellulosic biofuel, and biomass-based diesel, which help direct Office activities and initiatives, including the following:
    • Moving renewable fuels into the marketplace
    • Reducing the nation's dependence on foreign sources of energy
    • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector.
  • EISA built on the goals of the Renewable Fuel Standard Program contained in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to 22 billion gallons of advanced renewable fuels by 2022.

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The Bioenergy Technologies Office works with other federal agencies, national labs, industry, non-profit 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 utilizing partnerships, the Office is able to better define and employ strategies with partners to overcome challenges in effectively deploying biofuels and bioproducts. Some prominent partnerships include:

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