The Bioenergy Technologies Office pursues a pathway approach for advancing research and development (R&D) of converting biomass into renewable fuels and products. Following the Office's successful demonstration of cost-competitive cellulosic ethanol production technologies, R&D efforts now focus on the conversion of biomass into hydrocarbon fuels and intermediates that lead to "drop-in" replacements for gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other petroleum-based products. The Office has recently selected several priority pathways—covering thermochemical, biochemical, and algal conversion technologies—that will guide its R&D strategy in the near term. More information about the Office's priority pathways selection process can be found in the Conversion Pathways Overview fact sheet.
More information about each of the pathways can be found in the individual fact sheet links below:
- Biological Conversion of Sugars to Hydrocarbons
- Catalytic Upgrading of Sugars to Hydrocarbons
- Algal Lipid Upgrading
- Whole Algae Hydrothermal Liquefaction
- Fast Pyrolysis Upgrading and Hydroprocessing
- Ex-situ Catalytic Fast Pyrolysis
- In-Situ Catalytic Fast Pyrolysis
- Syngas Upgrading to Hydrocarbon Fuels.
The Office also commissioned studies by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory on seven of the pathways. Their research was compiled into memorandums that outline the key barriers to developing the corresponding technologies. The memos also provide a direction for future research to reduce conversion costs.
The laboratories' findings can be viewed in the individual technology pathway memos: