Energy Action Month Topic 1: Terrestrial Feedstocks & Algae



Energy Action Month Topic 1: Terrestrial Feedstocks & Algae
Developing Secure, Sustainable, and Affordable Biomass Supply

Feedstock and algae collageWe’ve made great progress throughout fiscal year (FY) 2015 toward developing a secure, sustainable, and affordable feedstock supply of corn stover, woody residue, energy crops, and algae. Our work is crucial for making one billion tons of biomass accessible to biorefineries as the advanced bioenergy industry develops.

Let’s walk you through some recent achievements and the highlights of this past year:


Self-Loading Trailer Commercialized

As part of the five high-tonnage feedstock logistics projects from 2009, FDC Enterprises developed a self-loading trailer that dramatically reduces the loading and unloading time of bales of corn stover from the field to the biorefinery—from 20–40 minutes to around 10 minutes. Abengoa purchased a self-loading trailer for its cellulosic ethanol plant in Hugoton, Kansas, and announced that it plans to purchase 40 more. Watch a short video of how the self-loading trailer operates, and read more on the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Blog.

Algae Nutrient Recycling Process Developed

Molecular biologists at Sandia National Laboratories developed a two-step process that recycles two-thirds of nitrogen and phosphate nutrients that are used to grow algae back into algae growth systems. This recycling process improves sustainability of algal biofuel production and cuts costs. Read more on the Bioenergy Technologies Office website.


Terrestrial Feedstock Supply and Logistics

Additional Feedstock Logistics Projects Finalized and Commercialized: In addition to the self-loading trailer, other technologies from our five high-tonnage feedstock logistics projects from 2009 were completed, demonstrated, and commercialized. You can also read more in our successes fact sheet.

New Feedstock Logistics Projects Awarded: In December 2014, we selected the State University of New York and the University of Tennessee to develop and demonstrate technologies that reduce the cost of delivering feedstocks to biorefineries. These projects will also develop rapid analytical methods to assess feedstock quality along various points in the supply chain.

Workshop Held to Discuss the “Depot” Concept: In February 2015, we held the Advanced Supply System Validation Workshop to discuss ways that public-private partnerships can horizontally integrate biomass supply and logistics systems, such as to stabilize feedstock supplies across large geographic areas by selling biomass as a commodity in independent business units called “depots.”

Feedstock Sustainability Projects Awarded: In August 2015, we announced up to $9 million to Antares Group, Inc. to enable more stable and sustainable future feedstock supplies in areas near three cellulosic ethanol biorefineries in Iowa and Kansas. This was earlier referred to as the “Landscape Design” funding opportunity announcement, and it is also part of our sustainability work.

Algal Feedstocks

Algae Projects Awarded: In July 2015, we awarded funding to six entities to reduce the price of algae-based biofuels and bioproducts.

Algae Petrochemical Alternative Developed: National Renewable Energy Laboratory research determined that a certain type of cyanobacteria can be genetically engineered to produce ethylene, a petrochemical feedstock used in the manufacture of plastics and polyester.

Algae Foundation Announces New Energy Department-Funded Education Initiative: The Algae Foundation, a nonprofit organization committed to expanding the algae industry through research, education, and outreach, announced plans to develop an innovative formal degree program.

Look for emails in the coming weeks for the FY 2015 accomplishments of our other programs—Conversion, Demonstration and Market Transformation, and Analysis and Sustainability. We look forward to building off these successes in FY 2016!


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