EPA, DOE Offer $9.4 Million Grant to Develop New Biofuels

DOE to Lead Tech Development for Future EPA Biofuel Standards
ethanol plant
Trucks at an ethanol plant in Underwood, N.D. (Daniel Acker/Bloomberg)

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A new partnership has been formed between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy to release $9.4 million in grants to develop future advanced biofuels.

The significance of this agreement, made Feb. 22, is that it calls for the DOE to oversee research and development of next-generation biofuel technologies that could be incorporated into EPA’s framework for administering its Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program for biofuels.

Biofuels are liquid fuels produced from renewable biological sources, including plants and algae.

“Investing in bioenergy technologies provides a path forward to meet the growing demand for sustainable aviation fuel and other low-carbon biofuels,” said Jeff Marootian, DOE principal deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Jeff Marootian


Marootian called the joint DOE-EPA investment “a great example of interagency partnership.”

The federal Funding Opportunity Announcement was made through the innovative agreement between the agencies to spur the development of high-impact biofuel technology projects that improve performance and lower costs for biofuel production technologies. Both agencies also seek to accelerate production systems in industry partnerships, which would help ideas get from the drawing board to the consumer marketplace faster.

The overall objective is to fund advanced biofuel technologies to support EPA’s RFS program that would be different from today’s allowable feedstocks and allowable primary fuels, explained a 133-page funding announcement.

Created under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the RFS program falls under the EPA, which requires and designates specific annual amounts of renewable fuel to replace or reduce petroleum-based transportation fuel, heating oil or jet fuel with biomass-based diesel, biofuels and renewable fuel.

The EPA’s RFS program sets biofuel requirements for current commercial-scale activities in a defined biofuel pathway using a specific combination of feedstock, production processes and fuel types.

Joseph Goffman


Joseph Goffman, EPA’s assistant administrator in the office of air and radiation, noted: “This investment through the Inflation Reduction Act will spur innovation in the production of advanced biofuels, advancing this administration’s goal to build a stronger clean energy economy.”

Projects, which will be funded through DOE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office, will be in two high-priority areas:

  • Scaling up key process steps in advanced biofuel production
  • Developing and testing key technology innovations for processing biointermediates (feedstocks partially converted at one facility and sent to another for final processing into renewable fuel)

Eligible applicants are U.S. businesses, educational institutions, nonprofits, state and local governments, and federally recognized American Indian tribes and Alaska native entities, which will be required to explain how their proposed project meets EPA’s RFS definition of an advanced biofuel.

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“DOE envisions awarding one or more financial assistance awards in the form of cooperative agreements lasting approximately 36 months,” stated a funding announcement.

Concept papers must be submitted by March 22, with the application deadline set for May 24. DOE is scheduled to notify grant winners by July 25. DOE anticipates awarding from three to five grants for projects that would last from two years to 36 months.