On May 21, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) announced that it will fund 87 new projects across 34 states, totaling nearly $13 million in funding. This funding is part of the 219 grants totaling $34 million awarded to 183 small businesses in 41 states through the DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Nine EERE technology offices are funding ten Phase I topic areas (Advanced Manufacturing I & II, Bioenergy, Buildings, Fuel Cells, Geothermal. Solar, Vehicles, Water, and Wind) across 29 subtopics. The announcement states that DOE technology offices “award Phase I grants to small businesses that demonstrate technical feasibility for innovations during the first phase of their research,” most Phase I awards “are for $150,000 for less than one year,” and, if completed successfully, “Phase I projects are eligible for … Phase II funding awards [that] provide up to $1 million or up to $1.5 million, depending on the technology, and an award known as a sequential Phase II award can provide up to an additional $1 million.”
The full list of EERE-funded projects, that includes 13 bioenergy projects, is available online. The bioenergy companies receiving funding are: Emergy LLC; Media and Process Technology Inc.; SarTec Corporation; TDA Research, Inc.; Bio-Missions LLC; Faraday Technology, Inc.; Industrial Microbes, Inc.; Lygos; Global Algae Innovations, Inc. (three projects); MicroBio Engineering; and Molecule Works Inc.
USDA AMS To Make Available Informational Webinar On NBFDS
On May 23, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced that a pre-recorded informational webinar regarding the proposed National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (NBFDS) will be made available beginning on June 1, 2018. 83 Fed. Reg. 23827. The Federal Register notice states that the pre-recorded webinar “will provide an overview of the background, provisions, and potential impacts of the proposed standard,” and the proposed standard “would require food manufacturers and other entities that label foods for retail sale to disclose information about bioengineered food and bioengineered food ingredients.” The webinar will be available on USDA’s Rules & Regulations webpage.
Fulcrum BioEnergy, Inc. Breaks Ground On Sierra BioFuels Plant
On May 16, 2018, Fulcrum BioEnergy, Inc. announced the start of site construction for Phase 2 of the Sierra BioFuels Plant in Reno, Nevada. This commercial-scale plant will be the nation’s first to convert municipal solid waste feedstock into low-carbon, renewable jet fuel. “Launching the final construction phase of Sierra is another milestone for Fulcrum, our partners, Northern Nevada and the low-carbon fuels industry,” Jim Macias, Fulcrum’s President and Chief Executive Officer, stated during the groundbreaking event. “We’ve spent ten years developing, designing, testing, improving and demonstrating this new process so that it is now ready for commercial deployment. By converting waste into low-carbon transportation fuel, Fulcrum provides a real solution to the aviation industry’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions.”
Fulcrum’s thermochemical conversion process for jet fuel is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 80 percent when compared to traditional petroleum fuel. The Reno plant is scheduled to start commercial production in 2020, producing 10.5 million gallons of fuel annually. Similar plants are currently in development by Fulcrum, with eventual plans to collectively produce more than 300 million gallons of jet fuel annually. These plans have already drawn airline investors to Fulcrum, with Cathay Pacific Airways investing in 2014, and United Airlines investing in 2015.
National Biodiesel Board Announces Exploring Biodiesel Seminars
On May 21, 2018, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB), in partnership with industry sponsors, announced a series of five seminars for fuel wholesalers, distributors, retailers, marketers, fleets, municipalities, and other end users focusing on benefits and opportunities surrounding biodiesel. The complimentary series, Exploring Biodiesel (XBX), will be held in the following regions:
■ Boston, MA (June 12, 2018);
■ Philadelphia, PA (July 18, 2018);
■ Los Angeles, CA (August 7, 2018);
■ Portland, OR (August 9, 2018); and
■ Cleveland, OH (September 18, 2018).
More information and registration is available on the XBX website.
■ Sandia National Laboratories, “Riding Bacterium to the Bank”
■ Biomass Magazine, “NREL Discovers Enzyme Domains that Improve Performance”