U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Bioenergy Technologies Office
Research, Development, Demonstration, and Deployment
The Bioenergy Technologies Office's research, development, demonstration, and deployment (RDD&D) efforts are organized around five key technical and three cross-cutting elements. The first two technical program elements—feedstock supply and conversion—primarily focus on research and development (R&D). The next two technical areas—integrated biorefineries and distribution infrastructure—primarily focus on demonstration and deployment. The fifth technical area, biopower, includes R&D activities to develop improved technologies facilitating the use of biomass as a feedstock for power generation. The cross-cutting elements—sustainability, strategic analysis, and market expansion—focus on addressing barriers that could impede adoption of biomass technologies. This organization of the work allows the Office to allocate resources for pre-commercial, enabling technology development, as well as for demonstration and deployment of technologies across the biomass-to-bioenergy supply chain.
Research & Development
The research and development (R&D) activities sponsored by the Office are focused on addressing technical barriers, providing engineering solutions, and developing the scientific and engineering underpinnings of a bioenergy industry. Near- to mid-term applied R&D is focused on moving current feedstock and conversion technologies from concept to bench to integrated pilot scale. The goal of longer-term R&D is to develop knowledge of biomass, biological systems, and biochemical and thermochemical processes; this knowledge can ultimately be used to develop new or improved technologies that increase the conversion efficiency and/or reduce the conversion cost. Office R&D is performed by national laboratories, industry, and universities.
Technology Demonstration and Deployment
The Bioenergy Technologies Office's demonstration and deployment activities focus on integrated biorefinery and biopower applications. The integrated biorefinery activities address the proverbial "Valley of Death" between pilot-scale and commercial-scale deployment.
For biofuels, the goal of the demonstration and deployment activities is to develop emerging production technologies beyond bench-scale to pre-commercial demonstration scale, culminating in the construction of pioneer biofuels production plants. The Office is also working to facilitate the introduction and expansion of biofuels distribution infrastructure and biofuels-compatible vehicles across the United States into the marketplace. These demonstration and deployment efforts directly align with the biomass-to-bioenergy supply chain. The ultimate technology demonstration and deployment goal is to develop the supporting infrastructure needed to enable a fully developed and operational biomass-to-bioenergy supply chain in support of the Office's goals.