U.S. Spending $18M on Pilot Biofuel Projects

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Wednesday April 24, 2013

The U.S. Energy Department is spending $18 million to support four pilot-scale "biorefineries" to test biofuels that could replace diesel used for military vessels, as well as jet fuel and fuels for civilian cars, trucks, and planes.

"The innovative biorefinery projects announced today mark an important step toward producing fuels for our American military and the civil aviation industry from renewable resources found right here in the United States," said Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

The projects involve producing fuel from non-food biomass, waste materials, and algae, and the goal is to develop cost-effective products that can replace existing petroleum-based fuels on a drop-in basis.

The government funds will provide up to half of the projects' costs.

Recipients of the funding are Frontline Bioenergy of Iowa, which is developing a process for making fuel from woody biomass, municipal solid waste, and refuse derived fuel; Cobalt Technologies of California, which plans to convert switchgrass to bio-jet fuel; Mercurius Biorefining of Washington State, which plans to make bio-jeft fuel and chemicals from cellulosic biomass; and BioProcess Algae of Iowa, which is trying to make military fuel, other hydrocarbons, glycerine, and animal feed from algae.

Ray Mabus, secretary of the U.S. Navy, recently said developing drop-in biofuels is a key to reducing the military's dependence on oil.