NREL researchers score $3M ARPA-E grant to integrate electrochemistry into biofuel production

July 29, 2021 |

In Colorado, as much as one-third of the carbon in sugar is lost as carbon dioxide (CO2) during fermentation processes that use biomass to make renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). 

That waste CO2 translates into notable consequences for biorefiners scrambling to meet demand for low-carbon biofuels. Less carbon makes it into the fuel, lowering yields. More makes it into the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas, accelerating climate change. 

Researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) aim to solve both challenges after receiving a nearly $3 million award from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). In an NREL-led project with the University of Oregon and industry partners Genomatica and DeNora, scientists will integrate electrochemistry with sugar fermentation to produce lipids used to make biofuels, thereby avoiding the release of CO2 into the atmosphere. 

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Category: Research

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