DOE announced on December 14, 2010 that funds will be made available for small-scale process integration projects that support the development of advanced biofuels. The biofuels could replace gasoline or diesel without requiring special upgrades or changes to the vehicle or fueling infrastructure. The funding opportunity announcement, reference number DE-FOA-0000337 (the “FOA”) will provide up to $30 million over the next 3 to 4 years to support up to 5 projects.
Successful proposals will focus on optimizing and integrating processes that convert biomass into biofuels and bioproducts that can be used to support hydrocarbon fuels and chemicals. These process improvements could include, for example:
- Pretreatment methods that alter the biomass to improve the yield of sugars in subsequent process steps;
- More cost-efficient enzymes that produce sugars;
- Fermentation organisms and catalysts that convert the sugars into fuel and chemical intermediates.
Successful applicants will demonstrate the economics and efficiency of their proposed process.
This FOA is largely focused on agricultural residues but other feedstock sources can be proposed if the applicant can show compelling evidence that the feedstock will be sustainably available by 2015. However, certain feedstocks and processes are excluded from the scope of this FOA:
- Proposals that use pure sugar feeds and ‘model’ hydrolysates are not eligible for funding under this FOA
- Proposals that include thermochemical processes (example: fermentation of syngas from a gasification process).
- Early- and late-stage processes (i.e. prior to pretreatment and saccharification or after conversion to final product) will not be eligible for funding.
- If a catalytic conversion process is proposed, the hydrogenation process may not be included in the proposed process improvements to be funded under this FOA.
A complete description of the FOA solicitation, eligibility requirements, and application instructions can be found at https://www.fedconnect.net/FedConnect/PublicPages/PublicSearch/Public_Opportunities.aspx
Applications must be submitted through Grants.gov by no later than 11:59 p.m. EST on February 7, 2011. Applicants are requested (but not required) to submit a letter of intent by January 17, 2011.