The Department of Energy (DOE) has invested about $15m to research biomass-based supplements for traditional fuels.

The investment will be used for the demonstration of biomass-based oil supplements that can be blended with petroleum, helping the US to reduce foreign oil use.

Known as bio-oils, the precursors for fully renewable transportation fuels could be integrated into the oil refining processes that make conventional gasoline, diesel and jet fuels.

DOE secretary Steven Chu said the DOE’s investments to develop renewable transportation fuels are a key part of the Obama Administration’s all-of-the-above energy strategy to develop America’s domestic energy resources and reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil.

"Driving innovation through targeted investments helps to speed development of next-generation biofuels made in America, biofuels that will help to protect American families and businesses from the ups and downs of the global oil market," Chu said.

The DOE expects to fully fund between five to ten projects in this year to produce bio-oil prototypes that can be tested in oil refineries and used to develop comprehensive technical and economic analyses of how bio-oils could work.