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BTO Funds Small Bus. Building Efficiency Projects (Funding)
DOE EERE
Date: 2021-06-11
In Washington, the US DOE is reporting $54 million in funding for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) research and development projects. As part of the funding, the Building Technologies Office (BTO) will invest $3.6 million in 21 projects across 14 states.

The SBIR/STTR Program helps small businesses conduct R&D for projects with the potential for commercialization. Through a competitive awards-based program, SBIR and STTR enable small businesses to explore their technological potential and provide the incentive to profit from commercialization while stimulating technological progress.

SBIR/STTR-funded projects are one way DOE supports the development of a clean energy workforce and engages all levels of the energy economy to combat the climate crisis.

The BTO-funded projects will focus on modeling, data, and analytics; lighting R&D; energy management for indoor agriculture; healthy, efficient buildings; advanced building technologies; heat exchangers; and thermal energy storage technologies.

Download BTO SBIR/STTR Phase I grant details HERE. (Source: US DOE, EERE, PR, 10 June, 2021) Contact: US DOE, www.energy.gov/eere/buildings; Building Technologies Office, energy.gov/eere/bioenergy/bioenergy-technologies-office

More Low-Carbon Energy News DOE EERE,  Energy Efficiency,  DOE BETO,  


PNNL Touts Biocrude Conversion Process Progress (Ind. Report)
PNNL,Bioproducts Institute
Date: 2021-04-14
The U.S. DOE Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is reporting a large-scale demonstration using hydrothermal liquefaction to convert wastewater sludge and food waste biocrude to renewable diesel fuel has passed a significant test, operating for more than 2,000 hours continuously without losing effectiveness.

"The research showed that essentially any biocrude, regardless of wet-waste sources, could be used in the process and the catalyst remained robust during the entire run. While this is just a first step in demonstrating robustness, it is an important step," according to John Holladay, a PNNL scientist and co-director of the joint Bioproducts Institute, a collaboration between PNNL and Washington State University.

According to the PNNL release, Wet wastes from sewage treatment and discarded food can provide the raw materials for an innovative process called hydrothermal liquefaction, which converts and concentrates carbon-containing molecules into a liquid biocrude. This biocrude then undergoes a hydrotreating process to produce bio-derived fuels for transportation.

The next steps for the research team include gathering more sources of biocrude from various waste streams and analyzing the biofuel output for quality. In a new collaboration, PNNL will partner with a commercial waste management company to evaluate waste from many sources. Ultimately, the project will result in a database of findings from various manures and sludges, which could help decide how facilities can scale up economically. The project is supported by the DOE's Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO). (Source: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, PR, Website, 12 Apr., 2021) Contact: PNNL, Michael Thorson, Project Manager, www.pnnl.gov; John Holladay, Co-director Bioproducts Institute, contact.bpi@ubc.ca, www.bpi.ubc.ca

More Low-Carbon Energy News Bioproducts Institute,  PNNL,  Biofuel,  Biocrude,  


Bldg. Energy Efficiency Campaign Drives $95Mn Savings (Ind. Report)
US DOE,
Date: 2020-10-23
One hundred and four U.S. companies, schools, governments, and institutions are taking their building energy savings to a new level with the 4-year US DOE Smart Energy Analytics Campaign funded through the Building Technologies Office (BETO) and facilitated by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) to expand the use of energy management and information systems (EMIS) in commercial buildings.

The Campaign helped drive approximately 4 trillion BTUs of annual energy savings -- enough to power more than 44,000 U.S. households for a year -- reducing the campaign participants' collective energy bills by $95 million a year. The research also enabled Berkeley Lab to create the world's largest collection of data on building energy analytics -- the first real-world, large-scale body of evidence of EMIS' value to commercial buildings. Nationwide, if buildings throughout the commercial sector adopted EMIS best practices, the resulting savings in annual energy costs could total $4 billion.

The campaign, a public-private partnership with businesses and public-sector organizations, has supported cutting-edge analytics technology use in over 6,500 buildings totaling 567 million sq-ft of floor space. It allowed Berkeley Lab experts to offer technical assistance and provide industry partners with frequent opportunities for peer-to-peer interaction, including exchanging best practices.

Researchers found that average installation and software costs ranged from two to eight cents per square foot, depending on the type of EMIS system. The median participant saved approximately $3 million in annual energy costs across their portfolio and re-couped associated costs over a two-year period.

Although the Smart Energy Analytics Campaign is concluding, its work will continue through DOE's Better Buildings program with ongoing support from the team of experts at Berkeley Lab. The Smart Energy Analytics Campaign is one of several successful Better Buildings Alliance technology drives, led by DOE's national laboratories, that aim to accelerate adoption of efficient building technologies by providing technical assistance, resources, and guidance on best practices. (Source: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, PR, Website, Oct., 2020) Contact: LBNL, Building Technology & Urban Systems Division, Jessica Granderson, Research Deputy, Better Buildings Campaign, HERE; BETO, www.energy.gov/eere/buildings/building-technologies-office

More Low-Carbon Energy News DOE Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory,  BETO,  Energy Efficiency,  


DOE Announces $300Mn for Sustainable Transport R&D (R&D, Funding)
US DOE
Date: 2020-01-27
The US DOE has announced three separate funding opportunities totaling nearly $300 million for sustainable transportation fuels, resources and technologies R&D.

Funded through the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), the three FOAs will be issued on behalf of the three transportation offices: Vehicle, Fuel Cells, and Bioenergy Technology Offices. Brief summaries of the FOAs follow:

  • FY20 Vehicles Technologies Office (VTO) Multi-Topic FOA ($133M) -- Issued on behalf of DOE's VTO , topic areas within this FOA address priorities in advanced batteries and electrification; advanced engine and fuel technologies, including technologies for off-road applications; lightweight materials; new mobility technologies (energy efficient mobility systems), and alternative fuels technology demonstrations.

  • H2@Scale New Markets FOA ($64M) -- Issued on behalf of DOE's Fuel Cells Technologies Office (FCTO), topic areas within this FOA advance DOE's H2@Scale initiative. This investment will support innovative hydrogen concepts that will encourage market expansion and increase the scale of hydrogen production, storage, transport, and use, including heavy-duty trucks, data centers and steel production.

  • FY20 Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) Multi-Topic FOA ($100M) -- Issued on behalf of DOE's BETO, topic areas within this FOA support the U.S. bioeconomy by reducing the price of drop-in biofuels, lowering the cost of biopower, and enabling high-value products from biomass or waste resources.(Source: USDOE, 25 Jan, 2020) Contact: US DOE BETO, energy.gov/eere/bioenergy/bioenergy-technologies-office

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Biofuels,  Bioenergy,  DOE BETO,  DOE EERE,  


  • Biomass-Acetone, Light Creates Green Jet Fuel Additive (Ind Report)
    Loa Alamos National Lab
    Date: 2020-01-27
    Take biomass-derived acetone -- common nail polish remover -- use light to upgrade it to higher-mass hydrocarbons and you have a domestically generated product that can be blended with conventional jet fuel to fly while providing environmental benefits.

    There are many challenges in using acetone for fuels applications, the paper notes. Its volatility precludes its direct use as a fuel, and it requires chemical upgrading to be suitable for introduction into the fuel supply, as acetone has a nasty habit of dissolving engine parts and O-rings. So by upgrading the initial product to a cyclobutane, a potentially safer and more energy-dense fuel is created, while reducing the hydrogen input required for upgrading a bio-derived feedstock.

    "Reducing high-pressure hydrogen treatment in synthesizing renewable fuels is important, because most hydrogen is derived from using steam to reform natural gas, which generates carbon dioxide," according to the release.

    The LANL research was funded through the U.S. DOE Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) through ChemCatBio: Chemical Catalysis for Bioenergy Consortium. (Source: Los Alamos National Laboratory, PR, 23 Jan., 2020) Contact: Los Alamos National Laboratory, (505) 667-5061, www.lanl.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News LANL,  Los Alamos National Lab,  Green Fuel,  Green Jet Fuel,  


    DOE Offering $75Mn for Bioenergy Crop R&D (R&D, Funding)
    US DOE
    Date: 2020-01-13
    In Washington, the US DOE has announced the availability of as much as $75 million in individual grants ranging from $1 million to $3 million over five years for research to develop of sustainable bioenergy crops that are "tolerant of environmental stress and resilient to changing environmental conditions." Funded research will focus on the genetic and physiological mechanisms influencing plant productivity and resource use, among other factors.

    Qualifying Universities, industry and non-profit research institutions will collaborator with DOE national laboratories and other federal agencies. (Source: USA DOE, PR, Jan., 2020)Contact: US DOE BETO, energy.gov/eere/bioenergy/bioenergy-technologies-office

    More Low-Carbon Energy News US DOE BETO,  Bioenergy Crop,  Bioenergy R&D,  


    Vertimass Aviation Biofuel R&D Funded (R&D, Funding Report)
    Vertimass
    Date: 2019-11-08
    Irvine, California-based Vertimass LLC is reporting receipt of a cost-shared award of up to $1.4 million from the US DOE EERE Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) to optimize and commercialize jet biofuel production compatible with the current jet fuel infrastructure.

    Existing US ethanol production plants currently have the capacity to produce approximately 16 billion gpy, a level that saturates current use as 10 pct blends with gasoline. However, the new Vertimass catalyst breaks that barrier by producing a hydrocarbon that can be blended at much higher levels. In addition, while ethanol has been traditionally considered too low in energy density for use as a jet fuel, the Vertimass catalyst can overcome that issue.

    Initial tests indicate the Vertimass fuels (Vertifuels) are compatible for blending with gasoline, diesel, and jet fuels with no engine modifications, but further tests are underway for ASTM certification.

    Vertimass is working with the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI), Sandia National Laboratory (SNL), TechnipFMC, and the University of California, Riverside (UCR). (Source: Vertimass LLC, EngineerLive, 7 Nov., 2019) Contact: Vertimass LLC, John Hannon, CEO, www.vertimass.com; DOE EERE Bioenergy Technologies Office, www.energy.gov › eere › bioenergy

    More Low-Carbon Energy News DOE EERE Bioenergy Technologies Office,  Vertimass,  Jet Biofuel,  Aviation Biofuel,  Biofuel,  


    DOE Offers $33.5Mn for Energy-Efficient R&D Projects (Funding)
    DOE BETO
    Date: 2019-05-15
    In Washington, the US DOE reports the availability of up to $33.5 million in funding for the research and development of projects aimed at reducing energy bills through advanced building construction techniques for both existing and new, residential and commercial buildings.

    According to the DOE, commercial and residential buildings account for roughly 40 pct of the nation's total energy demand at a cost in excess of $380 billion per year.

    While an ideal project would address a combination of issues across areas such as heating, cooling, the building envelope, water heating and ventilation, funding applications should focus on one of three topics:

  • Advanced Technology Integration: including projects that concentrate on taking technologies from the laboratory to the field, in order to meet national, regional, state and local needs. Energy savings methods in this category focus on workforce training, service delivery methods and field validation of new technologies and building practices;

  • Integrated Building Retrofits: which concentrate on existing buildings, including technologies that aim to achieve greater energy-efficiency through combined space heating and cooling systems, hot water systems and light and durable, highly-insulated panels. The goal under this topic is to achieve 75 pct energy reductions;

  • New Construction Technologies which focus on innovative approaches to a building's design, construction and installation. Through advancements in robotics, digitalization, off-site manufacturing, improved modeling and automation, the goal for projects within this topic is to make buildings and homes 50 percent more energy efficient than current code requirements.

    Funding is issued through the DOE's Building Technology Office (BTO) which aims to find new, energy-efficient technologies while improving the efficiency of current technologies to help the department realize its goal for reducing the energy use of U.S. buildings by 30 pct by 2030.

    BETO programs currently include: HVAC; water heating and appliances; solid-state lighting; building energy modeling; sensors and controls; and buildings-to-grid integration. (Source: US DOE BETO, 14 May, 2019) Contact: US DOE BETO, www.energy.gov/eere/buildings/building-technologies-office

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Energy Efficiency,  DOE BETO,  


  • Spero Renewables Announces DOE BETO R&D Funding (Ind. Report)
    Spero Renewables
    Date: 2019-05-06
    CORRECTION -- The following article appeared in our 22nd April editions with contact errors which are herein corrected. We regret any inconvenience our error may have caused.

    Goleta, California-based Spero Renewables LLC, a Green chemistry company, is reporting a $1.6 million cooperative agreement with the US DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to develop and scale-up production of the company's patented SPERLU technology that produces polymers from wood pulp and similar plant-based sources.

    The grant is part of a recently announced $80 million DOE Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) initiative supporting 36 bioenergy R&D projects. In addition to biobased products, projects include renewable hydrocarbon fuels and power from non-food Biomass and waste feedstocks.

    Spero's SPERLU™ technology converts biomass lignin, a waste byproduct of cellulosic ethanol production that is expensive to remediate, into valuable, environmentally friendly polymers and plastics. The resulting polymers are renewable, free of off-gassing emissions, and formaldehyde-free as opposed to current polymers that come from petrochemicals and are manufactured with formaldehyde, according to the company's website.

    According to the company website, "Spero Energy is a technology developer for the production of high value renewable and natural molecules from biomass. The company's novel extractive technology for the manufacture of natural ferulic acid is a game changer for the production of natural vanilla. Spero's one-step lignin conversion (SPERLU™) is key to realizing a fully integrated biorefinery." (Source: Spero Renewables LLC, Spero Website, 19 April, 2019) Contact: Spero Renewables LLC, Mahdi Abu-Omar, Ph.D. Chemistry, Pres., Joe Ramelli, VP Business Dev., (805) 696-2199 x 2001, joe@sperorenewables.com, US DOE BETO, energy.gov/eere/bioenergy/bioenergy-technologies-office

    More Low-Carbon Energy News DOE BETO,  Spero Renewables,  


    DOE Announces $79 Mn Funding for Bioenergy R&D (Funding, R&D)
    US DOE
    Date: 2019-05-06
    In Washington, the US DOE has announced over $79 million in funding for bioenergy R&D including biofuels, bioproducts, and biopower. This funding supports Agency's goal of providing consumers and businesses with a range of domestic energy options that are affordable, reliable, and secure.

    The FOA topics will advance DOE's Bioenergy Technology Office's (BETO) objectives to reduce the price of drop-in biofuels, lower the cost of biopower, and enable high-value products from biomass or waste resources. Topics areas for this funding opportunity include the following:

  • Cultivation Intensification Processes for Algae -- Develop technologies for outdoor algae systems that increase the harvest yield, reliability and quality of algae;

  • Biomass Component Variability and Feedstock Conversion Interface: Research to lower the cost and improve the reliability of biomass handling and preprocessing;

  • Efficient Wood Heaters -- Develop technologies to reduce emissions and increase efficiency of wood heaters for residential heating;

  • Systems Research of Hydrocarbon Biofuel Technologies -- Integrate new technologies and processes in experimental prototype systems to improve and verify real-world performance and lower the cost of drop-in Biofuels;

  • Optimization of Biomass-Derived Jet Fuel Blends -- Identify and develop cost-competitive drop-in renewable jet fuel with improved energy density and lower particulate matter emissions;

  • Renewable Energy from Urban and Suburban Wastes: Support academic research and educational programs that focus on strategies to produce bioenergy and bioproducts from urban and suburban waste feedstocks;

  • Advanced Bioprocessing and Agile BioFoundry -- Reduce the time and cost of developing biological processes for biomanufacturing fuels and products through the use of synthetic biology, low capital intensity methods, and continuous production systems;

  • Plastics in the Circular Carbon Economy -- Develop biobased plastics with improved performance and recyclability and lower the cost and energy-intensity of recycling existing plastics through enhanced degradation;

  • Rethinking Anaerobic Digestion: Develop anaerobic processes or alternative strategies to enhance carbon conversion efficiency and lower costs of smaller scale wet waste systems;

  • Reducing Water, Energy, and Emissions in Bioenergy -- Identify biofuels or bioproducts technologies with the greatest potential for reducing water consumption, energy consumption, and/or emissions relative to existing conventional fuels or products.

    This FOA also supports the Water Security Grand Challenge, a White House initiated, DOE-led framework to advance transformational technology and innovation to meet the global need for safe, secure, and affordable water. In particular, this funding will support R&D focused on anaerobic digestion, a technology that can help achieve the Grand Challenge's goal to double resource recovery from municipal wastewater. (Source: US DOE EERE, 3 May, 2019) Contact: US DOE EERE, www.energy.gov/eere

    More Low-Carbon Energy News US DOE EERE,  Bioenergy,  Biofuel,  Anaerobic Digestion ,  


  • O'Rourke Floats Climate Proposal (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    Beto O'Rourke
    Date: 2019-05-01
    2020 Dem. presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke has released what he's calling "the most ambitious climate plan in the history of the United States and the most comprehensive climate policy proposal put out by any 2020 contender to date."

    O'Rourke's proposal calls for halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050 through a program of: executive action; a $5 trillion over 10 years investment in a clean energy transition; and preparing vulnerable communities for the impacts of climate change.

    Although the plan is focused on climate and energy -- cutting emissions and creating alternatives -- approximately $3.5 trillion is allocated through tax incentives, loans, and other financing mechanisms for infrastructure, research, resilience, and clean energy deployment. The outlay would be funded by "structural changes to the tax code" that end tax breaks to fossil fuel companies and raise rates on corporations and top earners. Of the remaing $1.5 trillion, $1.2 trillion would go to grants for sustainable housing, transportation, public health, farming, and start-ups.

    As opposed to a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade system, O'Rourke is advocating a legally-binding net-zero emissions standard by 2050. The plan doesn't rule out pricing carbon but instead focuses on setting definitive goal posts. If elected, O'Rourke noted will re-enter the Paris climate agreement, implement rules to cut methane and other "super-potent" GHG emissions, tighten clean air rules, ramp up appliance efficiency standards, demand clean energy procurement from federal contractors, and end new fossil fuel leases on public lands. (Source: Vox, Various Media, 30 April, 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Change,  Carbon Emissions,  Carbon Tax,  Methane,  Clean Air,  


    NREL, Forest Concepts Collaborate on Biofuel Feedstocks, Biomass Conversion (R&D, Ind. Report)
    Forest Concepts
    Date: 2018-12-12
    Recognizing the importance of enhancing biomass conversion processes for industry, a team of NREL scientists partnered with Auburn, Washington-based Forest Concepts to perform detailed thermochemical conversion simulations for biomass feedstocks. The simulations relate feedstock attributes to expected product yields and necessary pyrolysis conversion process conditions. The work by NREL will allow Forest Concepts to better convey the value of their feedstocks to biorefinery customers.

    Forest Concepts, a manufacturer of precision woody and herbaceous feedstocks for bioenergy and bioproduct applications, leveraged NREL's capabilities in biomass conversion modeling to help quantify the impact of their feedstock characteristics based on various particle shapes and sizes. The NREL team is part of the Consortium for Computational Physics and Chemistry (CCPC), which uses high-performance computing to support the U.S. Department of Energy Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO).

    Prior to the development of the NREL models, Forest Concepts provided feedstock pricing based on volume and size of the biomass particle. Using the NREL models, Forest Concepts can now provide information to their customers such as standardized performance, required conversion conditions, and expected yields based on the size and shape of feedstock particles.

    BETO recognized early on the value of developing detailed biomass feedstock particle models to understand how the properties of each particle impact the yield and composition products from the conversion process. Moving forward, these capabilities will be leveraged by the newly established Feedstock-Conversion Interface Consortium (FCIC) whose mission is to quantify, understand, and manage variability in biomass from field through downstream conversion and to understand how biomass composition, structure, and behavior impact system performance.

    FCIC is an integrated and collaborative network of eight national laboratories dedicated to addressing technical risks and understanding how biomass properties influence collection, storage, handling, preprocessing and conversion technologies with the goal of improving the overall operational reliability of integrated pioneer biorefineries. (Source: NREL, PR, 10 Dec., 2018) Contact: NREL, Peter Ciesielski, Scientist, www.nrel.gov; US DOE BETO, energy.gov/eere/bioenergy/bioenergy-technologies-office; Forest Concepts, James H. Dooley, CTO, (253) 333-9663, www.forestconcepts.com; Feedstock-Conversion Interface Consortium, https://fcic.inl.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News NREL,  Forest Concepts,  Bioenergy,  Biofuel,  Biomass,  BETO ,  


    CSU, NREL Lead $2.1Mn CO2 Utilization for Algae Biofuels R&D (R&D)
    Colorado State University,NREL
    Date: 2018-10-31
    Following up on our October 4, 2017 coverage, a team of five Colorado State University (CSU) and three National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) researchers are reporting a $2.1 million, 3-year effort to increase algae yield for biofuel production by improving carbon dioxide utilization. For the research, New Belgium Brewing will provide CO2 from their fermentation processes, and Qualitas Health, a producer of omega-3 nutraceuticals from algae, will help test the improved CO2 delivery technology. The aim is to improve delivery of CO2 to algae and enhance algae's consumption of the CO2.

    The project is being funded by the U.S. DOE Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy in a collaborative effort to improve the cost-competitiveness and environmental sustainability of microalgae-based fuels and products. (Source: CSU, NREL, Various Media, Oct., 2018) Contact: Colorado State University, Prof. Ken Reardon, kenneth.reardon@colostate.edu, www.colostate.edu; US DOE BETO, energy.gov/eere/bioenergy/bioenergy-technologies-office

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Colorado State University,  NREL,  Algae,  CO2,  Biofuel,  


    Texas A&M Awarded $2.2 Mn for Biofuel R&D (R&D, Funding)
    Texas A&M
    Date: 2018-10-15
    In College State, Texas A&M AgriLife Research is reporting receipt of $2.2 million in grant funding from grant from the U.S. DOE Bioenergy Technologies Office to support investigation of waste products used in lignocellulosic biofuel production, turning them into valuable agents used in producing commercial products such as biodiesel and asphalt binding agents.

    According to Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientist and project leader Dr. Joshua Yuan, "The conversion of lignocellulosic biomass has been around for many years, but many of the waste products can not be commercialized due to the configuration of these biorefineries. What we are trying to accomplish is developing a streamlined process where the biomass waste at these refineries can be fractionated to produce lipids for biodiesel, asphalt binder modifier and quality carbon fiber. All of these bioproducts can add great value to the economy and enhance their market value."

    Yuan noted that lignocellulose bioconversion refineries burn off 60 pct of the lignin produced. Utilizing this lignin offers incentives such as improving the efficiencies of a biorefinery, reducing costs and lowering emissions. The work will include developing an integrated biorefinery program or "a blueprint for future biorefinery development," Yuan added. (Source: Texas A&M AgriLife Research, PR, Oct., 2018) Contact: Dr. Joshua Yuan, Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Dr. Joshua Yuan, Dir. Synthetic and Systems Biology Hub, people.tamu.edu/~syuan, www.tamu.edu; US DOE Bioenergy Technologies Office, www.energy.gov/eere/bioenergy

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Texas A&M,  US DOE BETO,  lignocellulosic ,  biofuel,  

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