DOE awards $1 million for bioenergy research

By U.S. Department of Energy | December 29, 2022

Three projects have been selected for funding under a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) interagency agreement with the Minority Serving Institution STEM Research & Development Consortium (MSRDC).

DOE has leveraged the interagency agreement to reduce barriers to entry for Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) and increase research partnerships.

MSRDC is a nonprofit member group of over 70 MSIs formed under a cooperative agreement by the U.S. Army in 2014. The consortium facilitates basic, applied, and advanced research awards from federal agencies through a limited competition contracting vehicle. Through its agreement with MSRDC, BETO has broadened its pool of participants and funded non-traditional, emerging, and historically underfunded investigators from MSIs at $1 million in Fiscal Year 2022.

Projects under this solicitation focus on three areas:

    Advanced Algal Systems: Developing strategies and technologies to produce high quality algae for cost-effective biofuels, intermediary products, and bioproducts.

    Advanced Terrestrial Waste Feedstock Technologies: Developing strategies and technologies to convert municipal solid waste and other potential waste resources into low-carbon biofuels and bioproducts.

    Accelerating Catalyst Development for Biofuel Production: Within the Chemical Catalysis for Bioenergy Consortium (ChemCatBio), this topic focuses on high-impact technology development for catalytic conversion technologies with emphasis on liquid transportation fuels, such as sustainable aviation fuel, diesel, and marine fuels, their co-products, or intermediaries.

The three projects selected for awards are:





Topic Area: Advanced Algal Systems

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University


This project will develop a biofiltration-microalgae symbiotic system with a novel microalgae-derived biochar-hydrogel-iron composite as a support medium for simultaneous anaerobic filtration and attached microalgae cultivation in agricultural wastewater. The proposed biofiltration attached microalgae symbiotic system and corresponding novel carbonaceous composite support medium can improve microalgal production in wastewater.


Topic Area: Advanced Terrestrial Waste Feedstock Technologies

Florida A&M University


This team will produce hydrochar from food waste using microwave-mediated hydrothermal carbonization in order to increase thermal efficiency and reduce process costs. The hydochar can be used as a stable, consistent feedstock for biofuel production or biomass power. The team will collaborate with The National High Magnetic Field Laboratory at Florida State University.


Topic Area: Accelerating Catalyst Development for Biofuel Production

University of New Mexico


This team will develop a novel catalytic approach for upgrading biomass derived ethanol to Sustainable Aviation Fuel. Utilizing cutting edge characterization techniques, the project aims to show how novel single atom catalysts can be leveraged to overcome catalyst deactivation challenges. This work will provide UNM researchers opportunities to collaborate with DOE National Laboratory partners working on similar challenges in ChemCatBio.


Read more on the MSRDC website.




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