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US invests in facility for advanced biofuels

The US Department of Energy (DoE) will invest US$18 million in advanced biofuels.

DoE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will build a process development facility that will accelerate the commercialisation of advanced biofuels by allowing researchers and the private sector to test and integrate innovative technologies.

The biofuels facility will be funded with US$18m from the Recovery Act and will be a publicly-available facility where researchers can integrate process steps and test innovative technology pathways.

This facility could be the only one of its kind available for public use and is scheduled to be fully operational by early next year. Sites for the biofuels facility are being considered in the San Francisco area.

“The DoE is committed to developing cost-effective and sustainable advanced biofuels,” says Assistant Energy Secretary Cathy Zoi. “With this investment, we will vastly increase the capacity to test new innovative approaches on a larger, integrated scale.”

Biofuels facility to move technologies into market

The Advanced Biofuels Process Development Unit (PDU) is part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to building a sustainable transportation system based on clean energy and domestic innovation. The PDU will leverage the efforts of DoE’s national laboratories and the private sector, to move new technologies into the marketplace.

The PDU will provide universities, national laboratories and industry partners with the opportunity to scale up promising biofuels processes discovered in their labs. Planned capabilities include unique pretreatment of biomass, enzyme production, fermentation for the production of multiple biofuels, and product purification in quantities sufficient for engine testing at partner institutions.

US$718m for biomass under US Act

DoE’s Biomass Program has awarded US$718m in Recovery Act funds to accelerate commercialisation of advanced biofuels and foster the growth of a sustainable US bioindustry. The investments will facilitate the industry’s ability to meet mandated production requirements for advanced biofuels, which increase from 950 million gallons this year to 21 billion gallons per year in 2022.

Advanced biofuels are expected to reduce GHG emissions by at least 50% and can be produced from diverse non-food biomass such as forestry and agricultural residues, mill wastes, energy crops, and sorted municipal solid waste.

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