The US Department of Energy has announced to $90m funding for designing, constructing and operating integrated biorefinery facilities.


The agency will fund pilot and demonstration scale manufacturing of biofuels, bioproducts, and biopower projects.

Funding from the DOE will help in the construction of bioenergy infrastructure to integrate advanced pretreatment, process, and convergence technologies.

It will support projects which will improve and demonstrate processes that break down complex biomass feedstocks and convert them to gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, as well as plastics and chemicals.

DOE Science and Energy under secretary Lynn Orr said: "The domestic bio-industry could play an important part in the growing clean energy economy and in reducing American dependence on imported oil.

"This funding opportunity will support companies that are working to advance current technologies and help them overcome existing challenges in bioenergy so the industry can meet its full potential."

According to estimates, the country spends about $1bn on imported oil every three days while Energy Department and the US Department of Agriculture estimate that it can produce more than 1 billion tons of biomass which can be converted to biofuels, bioproducts and biopower.

The biofuel produced from biomass has potential to replace 25% of country’s petroleum requirement helping it reduce 550 million tons of green house gas.

Biorefineries are similar to petroleum refineries but they use biomass in place of crude oil, or other fossil fuels to produce biofuels, bioproducts, and biopower.

Biorefieneries convert biomass feedstocks, including plant and algal materials to produce ethanol, butanol, biodiesel and other hydrocarbon fuels.

Funding from the DOE will support at least three commercial pioneer commercial plants over the next twelve years.

Image: POET-DSM biorefinery in Iowa. Photo: courtesy of POET-DSM.