Bioenergy Technologies Office: January–February 2017 Monthly News Blast


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Monthly News Blast January–February 2017

BETO Announces Launch of Consortium of National Laboratories To Overcome Catalysis Challenges

 Chemical Catalysis for Bioenergy ConsortiumThe U.S. Department of Energy's Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) announced the launch of its Chemical Catalysis for Bioenergy Consortium (ChemCatBio), a research and development consortium dedicated to identifying and overcoming catalysis challenges for biomass conversion processes. Made up of seven DOE national laboratories, ChemCatBio will collaborate with industry to bring new catalytic materials to commercial bioenergy applications at least two times faster and at half the cost, enabling a long-term bioenergy technologies industry.


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Report Analyzes the Use of Biogas-Derived Electricity To Power Electric Vehicles

With joint funding from three DOE offices, Oak Ridge National Laboratory published a report titled Analyzing the Impacts of a Biogas-to-Electricity Purchase Incentive on Electric Vehicle Deployment with the MA3T Vehicle Choice Model. The report analyzes the use of biogas-derived electricity to power electric vehicles (EVs) and could be used to understand the conditions that best advance both biogas production and EV deployment.

BETO Director Ranks #5 in Biofuels Digest’s Top 100 People in the Advanced Bioeconomy

Biofuels Digest has released its 2017 ranking of the “Top 100 People in the Advanced Bioeconomy,” and BETO Director Jonathan Male took the #5 spot! Check out the other bioeconomy leaders who made the top 100.

Technology Converts Wastewater Sludge to Renewable Natural Gas

Roeslein Alternative Energy’s Ruckman farm facility.Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) has developed technology that synergistically uses two waste biomass streams to generate two bioproducts. The technology enhances anaerobic digestion of wastewater sludge by incorporating biomass-derived, carbon-sequestering char within the digester, thus creating pipeline-quality renewable natural gas while using the remaining biosolids for a high-quality fertilizer. With the success of this research, ANL is preparing to scale up the technology with Roeslein Alternative Energy, a company experienced in operating large-scale digester facilities to produce renewable natural gas ecologically and economically.

DOE Initiative Targets Maximum Transportation Sector Efficiency, Energy Independence, and Industry Growth

DOE is working with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to put better vehicles and fuels on the road sooner, as part of the Co-Optimization of Fuels and Engines (Co-Optima) initiative. Simultaneously increasing fuel and engine energy efficiency and on-road vehicle performance could save as much as $40 billion annually in fuel costs, increase U.S. energy independence, and create thousands of new jobs in America in the biofuels sector alone. To learn about the accomplishments of the Co-Optima initiative in the first year, read the new report.

Meet the Plant That Is Bridging Renewable Energy, Rural Development, and Environmental Benefits

Shrub willow. Photo courtesy of ANL.Shrub willow can provide a source for renewable energy, environmental benefits, and opportunities for rural communities to diversify their income. Standing at more than 10 feet tall, shrub willow is an ideal crop for sustainable bioenergy production. It’s fast growing and high yielding, and it improves soil health and provides habitat for birds and small mammals. ANL recently conducted a study that demonstrates that it can also improve water quality. By planting strips of willow along the edges of a corn field, they found it was able to reduce nitrogen fertilizer runoff by 30%. Shrub willow absorbed this nitrogen, using it for its own growth, preventing it from entering nearby water sources—a service that benefits the farmer, the larger community, and the environment. Read more on the EERE blog.

BETO Publishes Analysis of Biofuels and Bioproducts from Wet and Gaseous Waste Streams

Biofuels and Bioproducts from Wet and Gaseous Waste Streams: Challenges and Opportunities Report CoverBETO published a report titled Biofuels and Bioproducts from Wet and Gaseous Waste Streams: Challenges and Opportunities. The report is the first comprehensive assessment of the resource potential and technology opportunities provided by feedstocks, including wastewater treatment-derived sludge and biosolids, animal manure, food waste, inedible fats and greases, biogas, and carbon dioxide streams. Complementary to the 2016 Billion-Ton Report, this new resource assessment, conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, concludes that wet and gaseous organic waste streams represent a substantial and underutilized set of feedstocks for biofuels and biopower. Many waste-to-energy technologies are at an early stage and, therefore, could potentially benefit from DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research program.

Biorefinery Optimization—Stakeholder Input Summarized in New Report

More than 100 biorefinery stakeholders attended the Biorefinery Optimization Workshop in October to provide their input regarding current capabilities, barriers, and opportunities for integrated biorefineries working to produce biofuels, biochemicals, and bioproducts. The results are now available in a new workshop summary report.

BioenergizeME Infographic Challenge Registration Deadline Extended

BioenergizeME Logo CircleRegistration for the 2017 BioenergizeME Infographic Challenge has been extended! In order to participate, advisers must register their student teams no later than March 3, 2017, at 5 p.m. Central Time. Infographic submissions are also due March 3, 2017, at 5 p.m. Central Time. Check out our past webinars for more information:

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about the 2017 BioenergizeME Infographic Challenge, please email

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