DOE awards $118M to juice domestic biofuels, as Georgia’s AVAP Biorefinery nabs $80M of it

January 26, 2023 |

In Washington, the U.S. Department of Energy has awarded $118M in funding for 17 projects to accelerate the production of sustainable biofuels Projects selected as part of this funding opportunity will contribute to meeting DOE’s goal to achieve cost-competitive biofuels and at least a 70% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030.

The Big Winner: Granbio’s AVAP Biorefinery

The winner that stood out by a country mile is the GranBio project in Thomaston, GA for the AVAP Biorefinery, which received an $80M cost share from the Feds. The proposed AVAP Biorefinery: Enabling Net ZeroT project will construct and operate a 1.2 million gallon per year equivalent fully integrated biomass to cellulosic Sustainable Aviation Fuel and renewable diesel demonstration plant. Valuable co- products will include second generation cellulosic sugars for conversion to biochemicals and a nanocellulose rubber masterbatch, the Nanocellulose Dispersion Composite, for the tire and rubber goods industries.

The proposed project would be Phase 2 of AVAPCO’s “ABBA: Advanced Biofuels and Bioproducts with AVAP” project awarded for Phase 1 (Design Phase) under the DOE’s 2016 FOA: Project Development for Pilot and Demonstration Scale Manufacturing of Biofuels, Bioproducts, and Biopower. Project partners include Petron Scientech, Byogy Renewables, Birla Carbon, and Clark Atlanta University. More on the project here, of contact Kim Nelson at [email protected] or 404-931-9109.

Achievements of the Phase 1 project include: Integrated pilot scale production of SAF from woodchips under observation and technical validation by DOE and their Independent Engineer ; Continuous pilot scale production of BioPlus® nanocellulose and NDC for the tire and rubber goods industries; completion of the demonstration-scale basic engineering package and commercialization business plant; and, Life Cycle Analysis conducted by Michigan Technological Institute showing up to a 93% reduction in Green House Gas Emissions compared to conventional jet and diesel 

Goals of the Phase 2 project include: producing on-spec cellulosic SAF and diesel from biomass; producing SAF with aromatics for testing and certification; confirming Key Performance Indicators at demonstration-scale that support commercial  scale production of SAF at a minimum sales price equivalent to conventional jet fuel and a 2G sugar MSP of ≤$0.20/lb; and producing NDC that gives the same performance benefits in tire compounds as obtained  at previous scales (10% lower estimated rolling resistance, equivalent modulus and tensile strength, and improved tear strength) for extensive on-road tire trials 

The Project Awards backgrounder

The selected projects include pre-pilot, pilot, and demonstration projects that will scale-up existing biomass to fuel technologies that will eventually create millions of gallons of low-carbon fuel annually. By investing in these technologies, the projects will create good-paying jobs in rural and underserved communities in nine states. Plans submitted by the selected projects show intent to collaborate with local school districts to educate and train the bioenergy workforce of tomorrow.  Additionally, the funded projects align with renewable fuels goals in the first-ever U.S. National Blueprint for Transportation Decarbonization, a multi-agency framework for reducing emissions, creating a robust transportation workforce, and securing America’s energy independence. The projects also support the U.S. Sustainable Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge goal of enabling the production of three billion gallons of sustainable aviation fuel annually by 2030 and 35 billion gallons annually by 2050.

The 17 selected projects fall into four areas:

1. Pre-Pilot Scale-Up of Integrated Biorefineries,

2. Pilot Scale-Up of Integrated Biorefineries,

3. Demonstration Scale-Up of Integrated Biorefineries

4. Gen-1 Corn Ethanol Emission Reduction.

Topic Area 1: Pre-Pilot Scale-Up of Integrated Biorefineries

Algenesis Corporation
Cardiff, CA
Pre-Pilot Scale Production of Algae-based Jet Fuel and Polyurethane Monomers

Captis Aire LLC
East Point, GA
Renewable Blending Components to Enable 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF)

Comstock Inc.
Virginia City, NV
Production of Renewable Diesel, Sustainable Aviation Fuel, Gasoline, and Marine Fuel from Lignocellulosic Biomass at Dramatically Improved Yield, Efficiency, and Cost.

Global Algae Innovations
San Diego, CA
Algae Direct Air Capture Scale-up to Multi-Acre Raceways

MicroBio Engineering Inc.
San Luis Obispo, CA
Attached Algae Flow Ways for Biofuels Production Utilizing Air-CO2

Research Triangle Institute
Research Triangle Park, NC
A Corn Stover Pyrolysis Pathway for Sustainable Aviation Fuel

University of California: Riverside
Riverside, CA
Scale-up Demonstration of Hybrid Catalytic Biorefining of Biomass to Sustainable Aviation and Marine Fuels

University of Utah
Salt Lake City, UT
Entrained-Flow Biomass Gasification with Syngas Fermentation for Production of Sustainable Aviation Fuels

Viridos, Inc.
La Jolla, CA
Pre-pilot Integrated Sustainable Aviation Fuels Algae Biorefinery

Topic Area 2: Pilot Scale-Up of Integrated Biorefineries

LanzaTech, Inc.
Skokie, IL
RESTORE: Replenishing EcoSystems by Transforming Residues to Energy

MicroBio Engineering Inc.
San Luis Obispo, CA
Scale-up of Hydrothermal Liquefaction with Supercritical Water Oxidation in an Integrated Biorefinery

Topic Area 3: Demonstration Scale-Up of Integrated Biorefineries

Alder Fuels, LLC
Washington DC
Decarbonizing the Skies – Sustainable Aviation Fuel from Alder Biocrude Oil

Thomaston, GA
AVAP Biorefinery: Enabling Net Zero

Topic Area 4: Gen-1 Corn Ethanol Emission Reduction

Green Plains
Omaha, NE
Emissions Reduction Technologies for Green Plains Biorefineries

Lincolnway Energy LLC
Nevada, IA
Reduced Carbon Intensity Ethanol via Biogas from Stillage & Other Feedstocks

Marquis, Inc
Hennepin, IL
Carbon Refining: Corn Ethanol 2.0

RenewCO2 Inc
Cranford, NJ
Integrated Electrocatalytic Conversion of CO2 from Bio-Ethanol Emissions into Carbon-Negative Chemicals

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