US DOE awards $10M to develop innovative bioenergy processes

By U.S. DOE | February 24, 2015

The U.S. Energy Department’s Bioenergy Technologies Office announces the selection of seven projects across the country to receive up to $10 million to support innovative technologies and solutions to help advance bioenergy development. These projects will support BETO’s work to develop renewable and cost-competitive biofuels from nonfood biomass feedstocks by reducing the risk associated with potentially breakthrough approaches and technologies.

Metabolix, Inc. of Cambridge, Massachusetts, in collaboration with North Carolina State University, will receive up to $2 million to develop a nongenetically modified, nonfood feedstock, Camelina sativa, with significantly increased seed yield and oil content to maximize oil yields per acre, thereby enabling the widespread use of a currently underutilized nonfood feedstock.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory of Richland, Washington, in collaboration with MicroBio Engineering Inc., will receive up to $900,000 to develop a process to produce microalgae directly from CO2 in air at high productivities, thereby decoupling algal growth from CO2 sources.

The Ohio State University of Columbus, Ohio, in collaboration with the University of Alabama and Green Biologics Inc., will receive up to $1.2 million to develop a cellulosic butanol production process with high productivities, yields, and carbon conversion through novel metabolic engineering of two different pathways.

The University of California, Riverside of Riverside, California, in collaboration with the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and CogniTek, will receive up to $1 million to further develop a cosolvent pretreatment for high yields of clean fuel precursor fractions that can significantly improve downstream chemical catalytic upgrading to final biofuel additives.

OPX Biotechnologies of Boulder, Colorado, will receive up to $2 million to develop the production of cost-competitive C8 fatty acid derivatives (that can readily be converted to high-performance lubricants and synthetic oils) from cellulosic sugars via novel metabolic engineering pathways.

Kiverdi Inc. of Berkeley, California, in collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, will receive up to $2 million to further develop processes and genetic tools to produce hydrocarbons in previously unengineered bacteria that directly utilize biomass-derived syngas for growth.

The Gas Technology Institute of Des Plaines, Illinois, in collaboration with W.R. Grace and Co. and Michigan Technological University, will receive up to $1.4 million to develop a process to catalytically convert biomass and methane into hydrocarbon liquid fuels and chemicals at high yields, while simultaneously decreasing hydrogen consumption.

The Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy accelerates the development and deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality. Learn more about EERE's work with industry, academia, and national laboratory partners on a balanced portfolio of research in biofuel conversion technologies.

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