US DofE announces $18.6m funding for biomass projects

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The US Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) awarded $18.6 million (€17.3 million) in funding to eight university and industry projects to develop biomass feedstocks to produce affordable biofuels and bioproducts that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Located in eight states, the DoE said the projects would create good-paying jobs, support rural economies and encourage participation of underserved communities, all while putting the United States on a path to a clean and equitable energy economy.
“These critical investments represent DOE’s commitment to tackling the most challenging clean energy problems,” said Alejandro Moreno, associate principal deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy.
“These projects have the potential to drastically reduce barriers to producing clean, sustainable biofuels and can jumpstart innovation in the clean energy bioeconomy.”
The selected projects support DOE’s investment in the development and production of biofuels and innovation and growth in agricultural industries and will help meet the Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) Grand Challenge goal of producing 35 billion gallons of low-GHG emission SAF made from domestic biomass and waste resources annually by 2050.
Currently, most biofuels are made from feedstocks such as corn grain and agricultural residues, forestry residues, and solid and wet waste streams. To meet the growing demand for SAFs and other low-carbon biofuels, affordable feedstocks sources must be developed, said the DoE.
The selected projects will address critical bioenergy needs through two topic areas:

  • Improving the production of environmentally sustainable and low-carbon feedstocks for bioenergy through climate-smart agricultural practices, and

  • Developing algae crop protection methods and strategies for algae cultivation systems.

The following projects were selected:

Aequor's Algal Crop Protection Treatment

This project will test and develop treatments to prevent algae crop productivity loss caused by pests.


Arizona State University

Mesa, Arizona


Secretome and Exometabolome Effects on Algal Media and Grazing "SEAMAG”

This project will test the effects of media components and recycling on the instability of algal cultures caused by pests.


Corteva Agriscience

Johnston, Iowa (50131-0256)

Feedstocks for Advanced Biofuels from Perennial Ground Cover Systems: FAB-PGCs

This project seeks to reduce the carbon intensity of corn stover by growing perennial groundcover (PGC) crops in between the rows of corn, thereby decreasing nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions and increasing soil carbon storage.


Ginkgo Bioworks

Boston, Massachusetts (02210-2383)

Integrated pest management-inspired approach to algal crop protection based on laboratory evolution and engineered antimicrobial peptides

This project will develop antimicrobial peptides to treat for algae pests and pathogens in in real-world conditions at industrially relevant scales.


Global Algae Innovations

Lihue, Hawaii


Combined Biological and Chemical Pest Management in Outdoors Algal Cultivation Ponds

This project will generate microbiota datasets and develop new treatments to support an improved crop protection strategy that proactively maintains a healthy culture and prevents periods of low productivity.


New Mexico State University

Las Cruces,

New Mexico


Anti-Virulence Approaches to Treat Algal Crops (AVATAC)

This project will identify antivirulence molecules that will be tested against bacterial pathogens of multiple relevant algal strains.


Research Foundation for SUNY on behalf of the University at Buffalo

Buffalo, New York


Preventing Culture Crash Trajectories through Pre-Emergent Pest Detection and Process Control in Mixed Microalgae Cultivation

This project will develop monitoring and process control strategies to mitigate the impact of pests in mixed algal cultures grown for wastewater treatment.


University of Tennessee

Knoxville, Tennessee


Biochar Enhanced Ecosystem Services for Energy Crop Systems in the Southeast

This project seeks to reduce the fertilizer requirement for growing two bioenergy crops (miscanthus and biomass sorghum) in six locations in the southeast United States via application of biochar and poultry litter, which itself will help to trap additional soil carbon, lower N2O emissions, and reduce the overall carbon intensity of this feedstock supply chain.


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