In Washington, the US Department of Energy announced up to $12 million for up to five R&D projects that will improve the carbon, hydrogen, and separation efficiencies in bio-oil production and upgrade processes. The aim of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (DE-FOA-0000812) is also to boost biofuel yields from non-food-based lignocellulosic feedstocks such as agricultural residue, fast-growing poplar trees, and switch grass.
This round is open to universities, national laboratories, industrial entities, and nonprofit organizations, and will focus on fast pyrolysis, ex situ and in situ catalytic fast pyrolysis, hydropyrolysis, hydrothermal liquefaction, and solvent liquefaction.
This FOA will focus on moving knowledge and understanding of basic or fundamental principles observed at Technical Readiness Level (TRL) 1 into practical, applied research and development at TRLs 2-3 or beyond.
Specifically, this FOA will focus on three barriers: 1) carbon efficiency: developing selective fractionation and separation systems in bio-oil processing; 2) hydrogen efficiency: improving H2 production, use, and transfer in biomass liquefaction and bio-oil upgrading; and 3) separations efficiency: developing technologies for use and mitigation of the aqueous fraction of bio-oil. Successful applicants will provide an R&D work-plan to address the technical barriers that must be overcome to produce a hydrocarbon fuel blendstock at $3.00/gallon or less (gasoline equivalent), and demonstrate the potential to transfer findings to pilot- and demonstration-scale systems. Awards will be in the $3 million range for the total lifetime of the project, and projects are expected to last for up to three years.