July 4, 2021 - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded $45.5 million for research projects geared towards understanding and harnessing nature’s biological processes to produce clean biofuels and bioproducts. This research will push the boundaries of biology and biotechnology research, while helping to enhance America’s energy security and build its clean energy economy.
“Biofuels that can power planes and ships, and bioproducts made from renewable resources will play a critical role in decarbonizing our economy—and today’s awardees will help us understand, predict, and even design them at the cellular level, so that we can unlock their full potential,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Led by the unparalleled scientific capabilities at DOE’s National Labs and America’s world-leading research universities, these projects will help us develop low-carbon products that drive economic growth while building a more sustainable world for our children and grandchildren.”
Biofuels and bioproducts are produced by converting biomass—made up of recently-living organic materials like crop waste, food waste, and algae—and other waste resources into valuable low-carbon alternatives to products such as fossil-based fuels, plastics, and construction materials.
These projects are sponsored by the Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER) within DOE’s Office of Science. The BER program supports scientific research on complex biological, earth, and environmental systems to advance the nation’s energy and infrastructure security. Over the last three decades, BER has helped map the human genome, laid the foundation for modern biotechnology, and pioneered the initial research on atmospheric and ocean circulation that eventually led to climate and Earth system models. BER research has also made considerable advances in biology underpinning the production of biofuels and bioproducts, spearheaded progress in genome sequencing, and strengthened the predictive capabilities of ecosystem and global scale models using the world’s fastest computers.
Awardees will pursue research in the following topic areas:
More information and the lists of projects for both funding opportunities can be found on the BER page under the heading “What’s New.”