DOE Offers $200 Million for Small-Scale Cellulosic Biorefineries

May 1, 2007

Bird's-eye view of a pilot plant, which consists of eight large vessels interconnected with a complex network of piping.

The new DOE funding will help companies scale up biorefining processes from small pilot plants, such as this facility in Nebraska.
Credit: Abengoa Bioenergy

DOE announced on May 1st that it will provide up to $200 million over five years to support the development of small-scale cellulosic biorefineries in the United States. The projects will involve designing, building, and operating biorefineries at one-tenth of commercial scale. The small-scale biorefineries will convert cellulosic biomass—trees, grasses, and agricultural residues—into liquid transportation fuels such as ethanol, as well as biobased chemicals and products. DOE expects to award funds to 5 to 10 small biorefineries that demonstrate breakthrough technologies, can quickly be moved to commercial scale, and are supported by sound business strategy. Applicants must cover at least half the cost of the projects and must submit their applications by August 14th. See the DOE press release and the full funding opportunity announcement.

The new funding will complement DOE's earlier funding announcement of $385 million over four years to develop six full-scale biorefineries. While the full-scale biorefineries will focus on near-term commercial processes, the small facilities developed with this new funding will experiment with new refining processes and feedstocks. See the article from the EERE Network News on the earlier funding announcement.