DOE Awards up to $12 Million to Support Drop-In Biofuels

September 7, 2011

DOE announced on August 31 that it would invest up to $12 million to fund three small-scale drop-in biofuels projects in Illinois, North Carolina, and Wisconsin. Drop-in biofuels are fuels that can supplement or directly replace existing gasoline, diesel, and jet fuels. The projects seek to accelerate research and development that will lead the way toward affordable, clean alternatives to fossil fuels and will diversify our nation's energy portfolio.

Using innovative thermochemical processes, the projects will help improve the economics and efficiency of turning biomass into biofuels and other products. These processes use heat and catalysts to convert biomass, in a controlled industrial environment, into liquid and gaseous intermediates that can then be chemically converted into fuels and other products. The funding further diversifies DOE's research and development portfolio in a breadth of fuels and chemicals derived from domestic cellulosic biomass, such as grasses, wood, and agricultural residue.

Selected recipients include LanzaTech of Roselle, Illinois, which will develop a cost-effective technology that converts biomass-derived ethanol into jet fuel using catalysts, thus driving down fuel cost; the Research Triangle Institute of Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, which will integrate a thermochemical process that produces a bio-crude intermediate from biomass with a hydroprocessing technology that upgrades the bio-crude into gasoline and diesel; and Virent Energy Systems, Inc. of Madison, Wisconsin, which will convert biomass into oxygenated chemical intermediates using an innovative thermochemical technology and will then upgrade the intermediates to a hydrocarbon. See the DOE press release and the DOE Biomass Program website.