The U.S. Department of Energy is accepting applications for up to $30 million in total funding for small-scale process integration projects. The projects will support the development of advanced biofuels that will be able to replace gasoline or diesel without requiring special upgrades or changes to the vehicle or fueling infrastructure.

The effort is part of the Obama Administration’s continuing commitment to accelerating research and development to develop a more sustainable transportation system, lower our dependence on foreign oil, and grow America’s clean energy economy.

“Developing the next generation of American biofuels will enhance our national energy security, expand the domestic biofuels industry, and produce new clean energy jobs.  It will help America’s farmers and create vast new opportunities for wealth creation in rural communities.  By investing in innovative approaches and technologies, we can continue to move the biofuels industry forward and grow our economy,” said Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. 

The Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) provides up to $30 million over the next three to four years to support as many as five projects. The projects will focus on optimizing and integrating process steps that convert biomass into biofuels and bioproducts that will eventually be used to support hydrocarbon fuels and chemicals. These process improvements could include pretreatment methods that alter the biomass to improve the yield of sugars in subsequent process steps, less costly and more efficient enzymes that produce sugars, and fermentation organisms and catalysts that convert the sugars into fuel and chemical intermediates. Successful applicants will demonstrate the research potential to improve the economics and efficiency of their proposed process.

A description of the solicitation, eligibility requirements, and application instructions can be found on the FedConnect website under Reference Number DE-FOA-0000337. Applications must be submitted through Grants.gov by no later than Feb. 7, 2011.

DOE’s Biomass Program works with industry, academia, and national laboratory partners on a balanced portfolio of research in biomass feedstocks and conversion technologies. For more information on DOE’s Biomass Program, please visit the Biomass Program Web-site.