Biofuels Action Plan Sets Federal Targets

Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman and Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer released the National Biofuels Action Plan, which outlines specific action areas and goals toward achieving renewable fuels production targets.

It was developed by an interagency board co-chaired by the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Department of Agriculture.

DOE also is providing research to enable increased use of biofuels, deployment of cellulosic biorefineries, and biofuels research and development.

"The challenge is to find ways to go farther and to go faster – we must progress to the next level," said Bodman. "That means we must accelerate the development and deployment of next generation biofuels, fuels made from cellulose, algae, and from other non-food products as well as fuels compatible with our existing energy infrastructure including renewable diesel, green gasoline, and bio-butanol."

The deployment of cellulosic biorefineries is a critical pathway to meeting renewable fuels production mandates. DOE announced additional funding with POET, LLC of Sioux Falls, S.D. for its commercial-scale cellulosic biorefinery project. POET received $3.7 million in the first phase of funding under a cooperative agreement that covers initial design, permitting, and preparation of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documentation. The DOE said POET would be awarded an additional award for up to $76.3 million in federal funding, subject to annual appropriations. This funding supports final design, construction, and commissioning of the project to develop an economically viable cellulose-to-ethanol biorefinery that employs alternative energy technologies will be co-located at POET's Emmetsburg, Iowa ethanol plant and will use corn cob, and potentially corn fiber, to increase plant production of ethanol by up to 25 million gallons per year. Subject to annual appropriations, DOE's total investment in the POET project is up to $80 million, with an expected total project cost of nearly $200 million.

Pyrolysis Oils Projects
While supporting deployment and increased biofuels usage, DOE continues to focus on research and development of advanced biofuels technologies. DOE announced the selection of five advanced biofuels projects up to $7 million, subject to annual appropriations. The five projects selected will develop cost-effective, environmentally friendly ways to convert non-food feedstocks into stabilized pyrolysis oils. These biologically-derived oils are generated through the rapid heating of biomass, for the ultimate production of transport fuel. Pyrolysis oils offer the potential of a greenhouse-gas neutral, renewable, and domestically produced alternative to petroleum-based fuels.

Five advanced biofuels projects received negotiation of awards:

•UOP LLC (Des Plaines, Ill.) With partners: Ensyn Corp, DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (Golden, Colo.), DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (Richland, Wash.) and USDA-Agricultural Research Service.

•Virginia Polytechnic Institute (Blacksburg, Va. and New Brunswick, N.J.) with partner Rutgers University.

• Iowa State University (Ames, Iowa and Houston, Texas) with partner ConocoPhillips.

•RTI International (Research Triangle Park, N.C. and Decatur, Ill.)With partner: Archer Daniel Midland Co.

•University of Massachusetts-Amherst (Amherst, Mass.) with partner Renewable Oil International.

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