BETO Quarterly Newsletter: Updates on the Bioeconomy

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Energy dot gov Office of Energy Efficiency and renewable energy

Bioenergy Technologies Office


June 09, 2023

BETO Quarterly Newsletter: Updates on the Bioeconomy

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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) Quarterly Newsletter contains program updates, funding opportunities, success stories, new reports for download, and event highlights.

About BETO

BETO supports the research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) of technologies aimed at mobilizing domestic renewable carbon resources for the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across the U.S. economy. BETO’s overall strategic goals are to:

  • Decarbonize the transportation sector through RD&D to produce cost-effective, sustainable aviation and other strategic fuels.
  • Decarbonize the industrial sector through RD&D to produce cost-effective and sustainable chemicals, materials, and processes utilizing biomass and waste resources.
  • Develop cost-effective, sustainable biomass and waste utilization technologies and innovative approaches contributing to the decarbonization of the agricultural sector, generating carbon-negative power, developing carbon drawdown strategies, or other beneficial uses.


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Read about how BETO is impacting the bioeconomy and taking steps to meeting these goals, which require significant and rapid advances in technology development and innovation across the entire biomass-to-bioenergy supply chain.

Follow us at #bioenergy, #bioeconomy, and #BioenergyCuriosity on social media.

This edition includes:

  • BETO’s Multi-Year Program Plan
  • Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF)
    • Roadmap Website Launch
    • Webinar
    • Achievement Award
  • Funding Opportunity Announcements
  • Reviewers Wanted
  • Consortia News
  • BETO Headlines
  • Technical Publications & Reports
  • Bioprose Success Stories
  • Events

beto mypp

BETO Releases New Multi-Year Program Plan

In March, BETO released its 2023 Multi-Year Program Plan (MYPP), which sets forth the office’s mission, goals, and strategic approach. The new plan identifies BETO’s research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) strategies and crosscutting programmatic activities, and outlines why these undertakings are critical to meeting the energy and sustainability challenges facing the nation.

Due to the urgency of finding low-carbon solutions for difficult-to-electrify modes of transportation, including aviation, marine, and heavy-duty long-haul freight transport, BETO is prioritizing the scale-up of biofuel technologies that can meet those needs in the near term.

– Dr. Valerie Sarisky-Reed, BETO Director, on the MYPP release. Read the Bioprose Blog

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Sustainable Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge

Sustainable Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge Website Launch

BETO partnered with the U.S. Department of AgricultureU.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and other federal agencies to launch a website for the Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) Grand Challenge, a comprehensive initiative for scaling up new technologies to produce SAF on a commercial scale. The new website has been integrated into the Biomass Research & Development Board (BR&D) site. BR&D is an inter-agency working group that coordinates R&D activities concerning bio-based fuels, products, and power across federal agencies.

Webinar: DOE’s Progress Towards Meeting the Goals of the SAF Grand Challenge

BETO held its SAF Grand Challenge webinar on February 22, 2023, providing an overview of the SAF Grand Challenge Roadmap. The webinar featured presentations from BETO leaders about the six action areas outlined in the roadmap, spanning all activities with the goal to meet the SAF Grand Challenge objectives of (1) expanding SAF supply and end use, (2) reducing the cost of SAF, and (3) enhancing the sustainability of SAF. Those action areas are:

  • Feedstock Innovation
  • Conversion Technology Innovation
  • Building Supply Chains
  • Policy and Valuation Analysis
  • Enabling End Use
  • Communicating Progress and Building Support

Watch the webinar to learn more about the SAF Grand Challenge flight plan.

SAF Grand Challenge Team Receives 2022 Secretary’s Achievement Award

Congratulations to the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge (SAF GC) team! The SAF GC team, composed of 43 outstanding federal employees from several government agencies, contractors, national laboratory employees, and the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO), was honored to receive the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) 2022 Secretary of Energy Achievement Award, and we couldn't be more proud! The annual Secretary's Awards are among the highest forms of recognition federal employees and contractors can receive and recognize those who go above and beyond in their public service. Learn more about the DOE 2022 Secretary's Award

Funding Opportunities

BETO Tech Overview

BETO develops industrially relevant, transformative, and revolutionary bioenergy technologies to enable sustainable, domestically produced biofuels, bioproducts, and biopower that can improve our energy security, reliability, and resilience while creating economic opportunities across the country.

The office selects research and development projects through open and competitive procurements called funding opportunity announcements (FOA) and encourages collaborative partnerships with industry; universities; national laboratories; federal, state, and local governments; and non-government agencies. Current and past funding opportunities include:

Current Funding Opportunities

DOE Invests $4 Million to Reduce Wood Heater Pollutants and Accelerate Innovative Technology

DOE announced $4 Million to reduce harmful pollutants from wood heaters and to advance wood heater innovation. Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO), will oversee a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) to develop the next generation of efficient and clean wood heaters. 

Applicants will work collaboratively with BNL and LBNL to develop a scope of work and to leverage their unique expertise to develop and validate the performance of innovative wood heater technologies. The deadline to submit a concept paper is August 11, 2023, and final proposals are due November 3, 2023.  For more information on how to apply, please visit the Wood Heater Innovation Collaboration website and register to attend the informational webinar on June 16, 2023. 

Past Funding Opportunities

BETO-funded Agile BioFoundry (ABF), NSF 2023 CRADA Call

In January, the ABF, along with the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced a funding opportunity to support a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) call, Accelerating Innovations in Biomanufacturing Approaches through Collaboration Between NSF and the DOE BETO-funded ABFNSF 22-549. The funding will provide support for synthetic and engineering biology research projects that have the potential to leverage the unique capabilities at the ABF. The deadline for proposal submission was April 18, 2023.

DOE Awards $118 Million to Accelerate Domestic Biofuel Production

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In January, DOE awarded $118 million in funding for 17 projects to accelerate the production of sustainable biofuels for American transportation and manufacturing, including pre-pilot, pilot scale-up, and demonstration projects. The 17 selected projects fall into four areas: Read more

  1. Pre-Pilot Scale-Up of Integrated Biorefineries 
  2. Pilot Scale-Up of Integrated Biorefineries  
  3. Demonstration Scale-Up of Integrated Biorefineries
  4. Gen-1 Corn Ethanol Emission Reduction

Reducing Agricultural Carbon Intensity and Protecting Algal Crops

DOE announced $25.5 million to support climate-smart agricultural practices for low-carbon intensity feedstocks as well as algal crop production. The "Reducing Agricultural Carbon Intensity and Protecting Algal Crops” funding opportunity will improve the production of environmentally sustainable feedstocks for bioenergy through two topic areas:

  • Climate-Smart Agricultural Practices for Low-Carbon Intensity Feedstocks
  • Algae Crop Protection

The concept papers were due March 20, 2023, and full applications were due May 16, 2023.

Read more

Agile BioFoundry (ABF) Selects New Projects to Accelerate the U.S. Biomanufacturing Sector

BETO announced the selection of five external collaborations totaling over $3.7 million to conduct research and development needed to accelerate the U.S. biomanufacturing sector. Working with scientists at the ABF consortium, these industry and academic groups will leverage national laboratory capabilities to address challenges in biomanufacturing. The selected projects all directly contribute to producing renewable biofuels and bio-based chemicals & materials. Learn more

waste pickup

2023 Waste-to-Energy Technical Assistance for Local Governments in Review

In March, BETO launched the next phase of the organic Waste-to-Energy Technical Assistance. This BETO-funded program pairs national laboratory experts with U.S. local governments and decision makers and provides technical assistance to advance waste-to-energy technologies, including addressing knowledge gaps, specific challenges, decision making considerations, planning, and project implementation strategies. Applications were accepted from March 1, through April 14. Learn more about waste-to-energy assistance for local governments.

DOE Feedstock-Conversion Interface Consortium 2023 CRADA Call

BETO’s Feedstock-Conversion Interface Consortium (FCIC) announced a CRADA call to help industry and academic partners leverage capabilities of the FCIC. The funding will provide resources to collaborate with FCIC researchers to address the negative cost and risk impacts of feedstock and process variability across the bioenergy and bioproducts value chain. Up to four projects will be selected. BETO held an informational webinar on March 14 to provide details. The deadline to submit an intent to propose was April 14, and final proposals were due May 5. Read more

2023 Conversion Research and Development

DOE announced $14 million to support the development of high-impact technologies that convert domestic biomass and waste resources into affordable biofuels and bioproducts. The specific topic areas are:

  • Overcoming Barriers to Syngas Conversion
  • Strategic Opportunities for Decarbonization of the Chemicals Industry Through Biocatalysts.

The concept paper deadline was April 21, and full applications are due June 16. BETO also held an informational webinar on March 30, to explain the application process and details. Read more

Agile BioFoundry (ABF) Announces 2023 CRADA Call

In March, the ABF consortium announced another funding opportunity to support competitively selected CRADAs between BETO's laboratory consortia and industry partners. The CRADA provides resources to perform research for developing novel microbial hosts; augmenting titer, rate, and yield of bioproducts; and creating new capabilities and approaches to improve the Design-Build-Test-Learn biomanufacturing cycle. At least $3M is available for up to four projects. Learn more

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Reviewers Wanted!

Apply to Become a Bioenergy Technologies Project Reviewer! 

BETO is looking for a diverse pool of subject matter experts to review applications for federal funding. We are striving to expand our reviewer pool to broaden participation and to create a more inclusive and equitable review process. Specific reviewer expertise areas include thermochemical conversion (especially on gasification processes) and biochemical conversion  (especially on strain engineering). If interested, please send your resume and desired review area to no later than June 9, 2023. Learn more

Consortia News

New Consortium Advances Technologies That Use Renewable Electricity to Turn Carbon Dioxide into Fuel


The new CO2 Reduction and Upgrading for e-Fuels Consortium (CO2RUe) – made up of five DOE national laboratories – is developing an integrated portfolio of technologies that use renewable electricity to upgrade carbon dioxide into fuels and chemicals for everyday products. The goal of the consortium is to enable ethanol plants to reduce emissions and produce millions more gallons of fuel every year. For more information, visit the recently launched CO2RUE Consortium website.

BETO Headlines

BETO at the Advanced Bioeconomy Leadership Conference (ABLC)

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DOE led the March 2023 ABLC with a keynote address and subject matter experts speaking about current and upcoming research in the bioeconomy. The DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE) Deputy Assistant Secretary for Sustainable Transportation and Fuels, Michael Berube, provided the keynote address, and BETO Director, Dr. Valerie Sarisky-Reed spoke at the Sustainable Futures Summit session, where she released BETO’s Multi-Year Program Plan (MYPP). Dr. Nichole Fitzgerald, BETO Program Manager, and Dr. Mark Elless, BETO Technology Manager, moderated the Billion Ton 2023 session, and BETO Technology Manager Joshua Messner moderated the Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) for Alternative Marine Fuels session. See ABLC’s full agenda

White House Unveils New Goals to Advance Biotechnology & Biomanufacturing

WH BioTech Report

In March, the Biden-Harris administration released a new report, Bold Goals for U.S. Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing: Harnessing Research and Development to Further Societal Goals, supporting BETO’s groundbreaking efforts to produce viable biofuels and bioproducts using sustainable sources of biomass and waste resources and to enable substantial investments that translate scientific discoveries into commercial applications. Read more

New Technical Reports & Publications

Soil Carbon

Bioenergy’s Role in Soil Carbon Storage

In March, BETO published a summary report following the Bioenergy’s Role in Soil Carbon Storage Workshop held in March of 2022. This workshop report includes insight from diverse experts, including government, industry, agriculture, silviculture, and academia stakeholders. The workshop included discussions on building healthy soils, decarbonizing agriculture and forests, and assessing full life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions associated with generating biomass for bioenergy. Read more

Bioprose: Bioenergy Research & Development Success Stories


BETO’s Bioprose: Bioenergy R&D Blog is a key resource for scientific information on the U.S. bioeconomy. The blog provides technical knowledge that shows how BETO sustainably develops biofuels, biopower, and bioproducts and communicates how researchers are enhancing U.S. energy security and competitiveness. Below are BETO and national laboratory staff blogs featured last quarter.


INL Blend

Researchers Find New Blends for Greener Gas in DOE Co-Optima Research

By Dr. Lynn Wendt, Idaho National Laboratory

DOE’s Co-Optimization of Fuels & Engines Initiative (Co-Optima) selected and recommended 10 different bio-blendstocks that could be used to make gasoline burn cleaner, more efficiently, and with lower greenhouse gas emissions. Researchers found prenol to be the leading candidate, and refocused research on its viability as a commercial gasoline. Since then, two papers have been published on the value and formulation of prenol. Learn more


Diverse Collage

BETO Collaborates with HBCUs and MSIs to Increase Innovation in the Clean Energy Industry

By Sheila Dillard, BETO

The Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE) is committed to growing their involvement with historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). Many BETO-funded projects strive to make an impact by providing opportunities for skill expansion and research within historically Black colleges and universities and minority-serving institutions. Learn more about the impacts these collaborations are making in the bioeconomy.



ABPDU’s Gas Capture Capability Enables Production of Sustainable Aviation Fuel Molecule

By Katy Christiansen, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Producing sustainable aviation fuels is a tricky process since some important aviation fuel molecules are volatile and evaporate at room temperature. During the fermentation process, molecules leave the fermenter as a gas and must be recaptured. The Advanced Biofuels and Bioproducts (ABPDU) – a BETO-funded research facility – collaborated with BETO’s Bioprocessing Separations Consortiumand researchers from Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) to develop new experimental setups and technologies to advance volatile product capture. This collaboration resulted in developing capabilities and expertise to safely deploy off-gas capture for real-world fermentations. Read more



Paper and Plastic Instead of Coal – Researchers Team with Commercial Partner to Pelletize Landfill-Bound Materials

By Dr. Lynn Wendt, Idaho National Laboratory

The idea of using biomass or non-recyclable materials to produce power has been around for a long time, but techniques for developing a consistent feedstock to produce a fuel that is economical compared to coal, resistant to moisture, and has no spontaneous combustion in storage has been a daunting challenge. With funding from BETO, researchers at Idaho National Laboratories (INL), in partnership with Michigan Technological University and Convergen Energypioneered a technique for combining non-recyclable plastics and paper fiber that would otherwise end up in landfills to form pellets with an energy content like bituminous coal. Learn more



National Labs Research Better Uses for Carbon Dioxide

By Meltem Urgun-Demirtas, Argonne National Laboratory

A team of researchers from ANL and National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is examining how to make better use of carbon dioxide generated by industry, transportation, and agriculture by turning it into sustainable aviation fuel and other useful products. The goal is to identify catalysts that can make beneficial bioproducts efficiently and selectively. Read more

Upcoming Events

Webinar: Perspectives on Engineered Catalyst Design and Forming

On June 14, join BETO's Chemical Catalysis for Bioenergy Consortium for a webinar on perspectives on engineered catalyst design and forming. In this webinar, speakers will present (1) critical considerations for the “engineered” catalyst, (2) an industrial perspective on catalyst design and forming, and (3) ChemCatBio’s industry-informed capabilities that support the transition to more commercially relevant catalyst forms. Learn more

Informational Webinar: Wood Heater Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA)

On June 16, join BETO's Wood Heater CRADA informational webinar to learn more about the CRADA Call and application process. All questions answered during this webinar will be collected and posted on the webinars Frequently Asked Questions web page. This webinar is open to the public. All participants must submit a registration form in order to attend. There is no registration fee for this webinar. Learn more

Bioenergy Bridge to Career Program Workshop

BETO's Bioprocessing Separations Consortium is hosting a four-day virtual event for undergraduate students interested in learning about the bioenergy field. This workshop will occur for four consecutive Fridays, starting on Friday, July 14, and ending on Friday, August 4. Learn more

BETO supports technology research, development, and demonstration to accelerate greenhouse gas emissions reductions through the cost-effective and sustainable use of biomass and waste feedstocks across the U.S. economy. BETO is part of DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

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