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Exclusive: U.S. Energy Department to allocate $118 mln to biofuels projects

2023-01-26T13:05:47Z

Unharvested corn, left as a barrier against blowing snow, stands in a field at a farm in Carroll, Iowa, U.S., January 30, 2020. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on Thursday will announce over $100 million in funding to expand U.S. biofuels production, as the Biden administration works to cut greenhouse gas emissions from transportation and meet climate goals, the department told Reuters.

The department plans to award $118 million to 17 projects designed to accelerate the production of biofuels, which can be made from biomass including agricultural waste, soybean oil and animal fats. The funds add to the more than $500 million the DOE has put into bioenergy and biorefinery research and development over the past two years, the department said.

President Joe Biden has made it a key tenet of his term to set the United States on track to reduce carbon emissions in the fight against climate change. Biden has set a goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.

The DOE’s funding includes awards to universities and private companies ranging from $500,000 to $80 million for various pre-pilot, pilot and demonstration projects, the department said. The projects are expected to eventually create millions of gallons of lower-carbon fuel annually.

“DOE investments are helping to build out a domestic bioenergy supply chain that increases America’s energy independence, creates jobs, and accelerates the adoption of cleaner fuels for our transportation needs,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm.

The projects will create jobs across nine states, the DOE added.

About 16.8 billion gallons of biofuels were consumed in the United States in 2021, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That compares to the about 134.83 billion gallons of motor gasoline that were consumed in the same year.

The Biden administration has said biofuels will be needed to lower emissions, including in the aircraft industry with lower-carbon sustainable aviation fuel.