Environment /

Energy Dept Announces $46 Million For Biofuel Energy Production

Dozens of Projects to Be Funded That Will Repurpose Waste and De-Carbonize Atmosphere

The U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) has announced $46 million for nearly two dozen projects aimed at creating biofuel energy and reducing carbon in the atmosphere.

Private companies, universities, municipal resource management entities, and local governments will lead the projects, which seek to convert waste into biofuels and enable algal systems to capture carbon.

“Turning waste and carbon pollution into clean energy at scale would be a double win—cleaning up waste streams that disproportionately burden low-income communities and turning it into essential energy,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm announced. “Biofuel energy has the unique ability to decarbonize high-emitting sectors, create good-paying jobs, and significantly clear away barriers on the path to America’s clean energy future.”

According to the DoE, low-income communities “disproportionately affecting people of color” are impacted by waste streams, which include emissions from power plants, municipal solid waste, animal manure, and wastewater residuals.

Bioenergy Resource Recovery and Conversion Systems

$29.5 million in DoE funds will be awarded to development of systems that support low-carbon biofuels and byproducts.

Ten of the 15 projects will seek to produce solutions for “hard-to-decarbonize” sectors, such as aviation.

“It is our responsibility to lift burdens from communities and help them achieve a safer and more sustainable future while we continue to set the global standard for environmental stewardship,” Granholm said. “These investments in bioenergy waste and carbon conversion technologies will transform an economic and environmental hardship into a clean energy asset.”

A large focus of the research will be targeted toward biofuels that can benefit local economies throughout the country.

Carbon Utilization Projects

$16.5 in DoE allocations will be awarded to advance technology that will take waste carbon and engineer it to reduce overall atmospheric carbon.

According to the Energy Department, the selected projects fall into two topic areas:

  • Carbon utilization efficiency from biomass- or atmospheric-based sources of CO2
  • Algae-based technology to utilize anthropogenic CO2 from utility and industrial sources

The DoE notes that algae can grow on waste CO2, “functioning as a carbon sink.” Then, that algae is able to be used to produce low or no-emissions biofuels and products, which can displace greenhouse gas products.

All of the projects will be funded through the DoE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office.

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