The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced $64.7M for biofuels research to reduce emissions in the shipping and aviation sectors
The move is part of the US Government’s Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) Grand Challenge to help decarbonise the aviation sector by 2050.
The Department of Energy (DOE) believes that biofuels, which are produced by converting the renewable carbon from recently living organic materials like crop waste, food waste and algae into liquid fuel, can serve as a low-carbon equivalent to fossil-based fuels such as gasoline, jet and diesel fuel.
Twenty-two projects have been selected for federal government funding to help target high-impact bioenergy research, development and demonstration to improve foundational knowledge and scale up systems to produce low-carbon biofuels at lower costs.
Funding will focus on creating replacements for conventional petroleum fuels used in heavy-duty transportation.
Among the projects selected for funding are Colorado-based National Renewable Energy Laboratory which received US$2.8M to help produce a highly fermentable sugar from corn stover.
Archer Daniels Midland was awarded US$3.5M and will couple isobutanol (a precursor for sustainable aviation fuel) fermentation with a membrane separations system – reducing energy used in the separation process by 50%.
Alder Energy was awarded US$3.0M for their efforts to convert miscanthus, a biomass crop, to fuel through its advanced pyrolysis oil technology.
Quasar Energy Group, awarded US$3.5M, will use an anaerobic digestor to convert food waste to SAF precursors. The microbes that digest the food waste produce a type of chemical called a volatile fatty acid, which can be converted to SAF.
These investments are administered by DOE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office, which is focused on developing technologies that convert domestic biomass and other waste resources into low-carbon biofuels and bioproducts.
Biofuels are gaining traction in the shipping industry with several successful trials last year. Notably Hyundai Heavy Industries is building up to a dozen carbon-neutral methanol-fuelled 16,000-TEU vessels for container ship giant AP Møller Mærsk. Mærsk is also investing in Californian bio-methanol start-up WasteFuel.
Riviera Maritime Media will provide free technical and operational webinars in 2021. Sign up to attend on our events page