On April 10, 2012, the Department of Energy (“DOE”) announced that it is offering up to $15 million in funding to companies, universities, or laboratories working to develop biomass-based oil supplements that can be blended with petroleum.  Possible materials used to create the prototype include algae, corn and wheat stovers, dedicated energy crops or wood residues.  The DOE’s focus is on the creation of prototype renewable fuels that would be blended with traditional fuels to power conventional engines for the purpose of transportation.  These prototypes need to be able to be integrated with the currently existing fuel refining and distributing processes.  Eventually, these prototype biofuels could be the precursor to what the DOE is calling “fully renewable transportation fuels,” essentially, fuels that are able to power engines without being blended with traditional fuels.  Success in this endeavor would diversify the U.S.’s energy portfolio, create American jobs and reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil. 

The initiative was presented as part of President Obama’s “all-of-the-above” energy strategy.  Letters of intent to apply for the funding are due May 1, 2012 and complete applications are due May 29, 2012.  The DOE anticipates fully funding five to ten projects for FY2012.  The results of this round of investment are intended to inform future DOE efforts aimed at driving innovation through targeted government investments.

To go to DOE’s Biomass Program website, click here.