The development of algae-based biofuels has received a boost after the US Department of Energy decided to award up to $85million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act towards their growth.
The fuels that will benefit include renewable hydrocarbon fuels; and advanced, infrastructure-compatible cellulosic biofuels such as ‘drop in’ renewable hydrocarbon fuels.
The DOE is now seeking a consortium of scientists and engineers from private industry, government and universities to help develop new methods of bringing these biofuels to market within an accelerated timeframe. It is hoped that the partnerships will enable cross-fertilisation between multiple disciplines and that they will provide the expertise necessary to develop new technologies.
The new Funding Opportunity Announcement has identified two separate topic areas.
The first topic area is algal biofuels research and development. The DOE believes that the contributions from a successful algal biofuel consortia will take a research and development approach to investigate the potential for algae to commercially produce a variety of biofuels. It has identified three broad technical areas of interest focusing on feedstock supply; feedstock logistics; and conversion/production.
The second topic area focuses on advanced infrastructure compatible biofuels. It seeks applications to develop biomass-based alternative fuels that are capable of simply being ‘drop in’ replacements for hydrocarbon-based fuels that are currently used in these systems rather than trying to adapt the systems to different fuels. Applications in this area are always wanted to develop new and innovative approaches for the conversion of biomass to advanced biofuels that are infrastructure compatible.
Applications must be received by September 14, 2009.