Five projects will receive up to $13.4 million in US Department of Energy funding to develop advanced biofuels and bioproducts.
The DOE says these projects will help drive down the cost of producing gasoline, diesel and jet fuel from biomass, while also reducing carbon emissions. The department has set a goal to enable the production of renewable and cost-competitive drop-in biofuel at $3 per gallon by 2022.
The projects are:
- The University of Wisconsin of Madison, Wisc., will receive up to $3.3 million to develop a process to produce high value chemicals from biomass, which can be used as plasticizers (an additive in certain plastics) and in the production of industrial chemicals and resins.
- American Process of Atlanta, Ga., will receive up to $3.1 million to develop and demonstrate processes to upgrade cellulosic sugars to solvents in their demonstration facility.
- The National Renewable Energy Laboratory of Golden, Colo., will receive up to $2.5 million to develop a conversion process demonstrating the production of muconic acid from biogas. This acid can be converted into an array of bioproducts, including fuel, plasticizers and lubricants.
- Natureworks of Minnetonka, Minn., will receive up to $2.5 million to develop a fermentation process, using biogas and bacteria, for the production of lactic acid. This process could be used for the commercialization of biomethane to fuels.
- Vertimass of Irvine, Calif., will receive up to $2 million to commercialize technology to convert ethanol into diesel fuel, gasoline and jet fuel blend stocks compatible with the current transportation fuel infrastructure.
Last month Chevron said its attempts at producing profitable, commercial-scale biofuels have failed, joining other major oil producers that have exited the renewable fuels industry including Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil, which has said its $600 million algae-based fuel project may take a quarter-decade to succeed.