Bioenergy Technologies Office April News Blast


Monthly News Blast April 2016

Notice of Intent for the Manufacturing of Biofuels, Bioproducts, and Biopower

DuPont’s cellulosic ethanol facility. Photo by DuPont.The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE's) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) intends to issue a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) entitled "Project Definition for Pilot- and Demonstration-Scale Manufacturing of Biofuels, Bioproducts, and Biopower." This FOA supports technology development plans for the manufacture of drop-in hydrocarbon biofuels, bioproducts, or biopower in a pilot- or demonstration-scale integrated biorefinery. BETO envisions awarding multiple financial assistance awards in the form of cooperative agreements with an estimated period of performance of approximately 1–2 years for the design phase of each award. The FOA is expected to be posted on the the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE’s) Exchange on or about May 2, 2016. See the full notice of intent on the EERE Exchange.


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Integrating the Production of Bioproducts and Biofuels

Brachypodium, rice, wheat and switchgrass. Photo  by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.In addition to serving as a direct replacement for fossil fuels in the production of energy, biomass can also be used as a renewable alternative for the many industrial products and materials made from petroleum or natural gas, such as plastics, fertilizers, lubricants, and industrial chemicals. In many cases, these biobased products can be produced alongside biofuels at an integrated biorefinery. Revenue generated from the sale of co-products also provides added value, improving the overall economics of biorefinery operations and enabling the production of fuels that are cost-competitive. Read more about how BETO is focusing on strategies that capitalize on revenue from bioproducts to improve the economic feasibility of advanced biofuel production.

Harnessing Biotechnology To Accelerate Advanced Biofuels Production

Harnessing Biotechnology to Accelerate Advanced Biofuels Production. Photo by Joint BioEnergy Institute.BETO provides funding for many ongoing projects that focus on biotechnology. These projects have already led to achievements in reducing the cost of cellulosic ethanol—a fuel source that has the potential to slash life-cycle carbon emissions by more than 80% when replacing gasoline—and will help accelerate the creation of hydrocarbon biofuels made from biomass and algae to power cars and planes. Read more about how our office is working to drive the emerging bioeconomy, reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and spur the creation of a new domestic bioenergy industry in the EERE blog.

Double-Win “Algal Turf Scrubbers” Help To Clean Up Baltimore Harbor and Fuel Cars

Algae. Photo by Sandia National Laboratories.Algae absorb nutrients and produce oxygen—ecosystem services that are vital to the health of impaired water bodies like the Chesapeake Bay and Gulf of Mexico. With funding from BETO, researchers at Sandia National Laboratories are investigating how to mimic these natural services, while at the same time, sustainably produce biomass for conversion to renewable biofuels and bioproducts. It’s a double win for the environment! Learn more about how algae are working double-time for our clean energy future!

Co-Optimization Workshop Summary Report Now Available

Logo for Co-Optima: Co-Optimization of Fuels & EnginesBETO, in partnership with the Vehicle Technologies Office and DOE national laboratories, hosted a stakeholder listening day last June to concurrently investigate the optimization of fuels and vehicles. Formerly called “Optima,” this work is now called “Co-Optimization of Fuels & Engines” or “Co-Optima.” Outcomes from the listening day are now available online in the Co-Optima Stakeholder Listening Day Summary Report. See the report and visit the Co-Optima Web page for up-to-date information on these emerging efforts.

Register for Our Webinar! Building the Billion Ton Bioeconomy

Join the Biomass Research and Development Board Operations Committee at a bioeconomy listening session. Conference attendees are invited to join the listening session, titled “Building a Billion Ton Bioeconomy in the United States,” held on Thursday, May 5, 2 p.m.–4 p.m. Eastern Time, to provide their thoughts and comments and to ask questions on the potential to grow the national bioeconomy. Listening session hosts from the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Energy will solicit input from participants on opportunities that may exist and challenges that need to be confronted to achieve a focused and successful bioeconomy vision for the United States. This listening session will use ThinkTank collaborative technology to gather input from participants.

Register Today for the Algal Biology Toolbox Workshop

Algal growth tanks. Photo by Sandia National Laboratory.BETO will host the Algal Biology Toolbox Workshop on May 24–25, 2016, in San Diego, California. During the workshop, attendees will have the opportunity to review the tools and resources available to grow, monitor, valorize, and genetically enhance algae for biofuel production. Register today to help realize a future where algae-based biofuels and bioproducts contribute significantly to the U.S. bioeconomy.

BETO Cross-Agency Efforts Highlighted in Report from the White House's Office of Science and Technology

Scientist in lab coat holding two beakers.BETO collaborates with other agencies across the federal government to strengthen the bieoconomy, increase national security, create jobs, and drive technological innovation. Many of these efforts are detailed in a new report published by the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, entitled “Advanced Manufacturing: A Snapshot of Priority Technology Areas Across the Federal Government.” The report includes input from BETO staff, including Valerie Reed, who is on detail as the Senior Advisor of Bioenergy at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and members of BETO’s Conversion Technologies Team— Program Manager Kevin Craig and Technology Managers Jay Fitzgerald and Nichole Fitzgerald. The report also includes information about BETO’s work to support synthetic biology and the Energy Materials Network. It is a big step in creating a national vision for future manufacturing technologies, identifying key investment strategies, and strengthening U.S. leadership in advanced manufacturing.

View the Top 10 Infographics from the BioenergizeME Social Media Campaign

The BioenergizeME Infographic Challenge’s Social Media Campaign has officially concluded. This year the teams received 21,760 unique page views! The top 10 infographics will advance to the next round where they will win a chance to visit Washington, D.C., to participate in BETO’s annual conference. View our Social Media Campaign Leaderboard to see which teams will advance. The winning team will be announced during the second week of May. Stay tuned to find out who will take the lead!

BETO Hosts Bioenergy Discussion with 4-H Youth Leaders from Across the Nation

A group of 4-H youth delegates presenting their views on bioenergy as part of the 2016 National 4-H Conference.Engaging and inspiring the nation’s future clean energy workforce is an important goal of the DOE’s Operation BioenergizeME Initiative, led by BETO. Last week, BETO hosted a roundtable discussion with a group of 4-H youth delegates from across the country. The roundtable, which is part of the larger National 4-H Conference, addressed the role of bioenergy in a sustainable global energy system. Participants also shared perspectives on the importance of bioenergy in their local communities and offered suggestions on how BETO could engage more with youth in the community. Read more about their visit on the BETO website. 

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