By Anna Simet | July 02, 2012
For the first time in history, the USDA, U.S. DOE and the Navy will collaborate on a multi-faceted plan to make headway on development of the country’s advanced drop-in biofuel industry, a strategy that involves over $130 million in new funding opportunities.
Heather Zichal, deputy assistant to the president for energy and climate change, began a July 2 conference call by depicting the positive impacts that efforts made to date have had on the U.S. renewable energy economy, emphasizing that U.S. oil imports are the lowest level in 16 years. During that time, she added, the U.S. has doubled its energy from renewable resources.
Zichal said later today the DOE will announce $20 million in funding for earlier-stage research and development projects to support pilot- and demonstration-scale biorefineries. These projects will produce renewable biofuels meeting military fuel specifications using a variety of nonfood biomass feedstocks, waste-based materials and algae.
The DOE will announce an additional $12 million to support up to eight projects focused on researching ways to develop bio-based transportation fuels and products using synthetic biological processing, a strategy that parallels a two-phase Funding Opportunity Availability introduced by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus.
The $30 million FOA must be matched on a per dollar basis with private industry, he said, and companies interested should respond immediately to learn what is required in terms of a business plan and technology. Companies chosen in phase one will have an opportunity to participate in phase two, which offers a $70 million FOA from the Defense Production Act to move into actual production.