The US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded around $13m for four advanced biofuels research and development projects in the country.

Of the four projects, University of Oklahoma and Virent will each receive a funding of around $4m, while the remainder will be distributed among Ceramatec and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

DOE noted that the projects selected will optimize the amount of renewable carbon and hydrogen that can be converted to fuels from biomass and better the separation processes in bio-oil production to remove non-fuel components – reducing production costs further.

Commenting on the initiative, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said that the department can increase the energy security, cut harmful carbon pollution from vehicles in the country, by partnering with private industry, universities and national labs.

The Energy Department is aimed to speed the development of clean, renewable biofuels, with the goal of producing cost-competitive drop-in biofuels at $3 per gallon by 2017.