3 January 2011

The US Department of Energy (DOE) issued a request for information (RFI) soliciting input from industry, academia and other biofuels stakeholders regarding supply systems and services for the production, handling, storage, transport and delivery of algae biomass. DOE intends to use the information in support of program planning.

Under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS2), fuels derived from algal biomass qualify as advanced biofuels. “While algal biofuels have tremendous potential, no commercial entity today can yet produce algal biofuels at a cost that is competitive with petroleum-derived fuels,” said DOE. DOE’s National Algal Biofuels Technology Roadmap report, released in June 2010, highlights some of the commercialization opportunities and challenges for algae.

DOE intends to address barriers highlighted in the Roadmap that can impact the cost and sustainability of producing algal biofuels at commercial scale. Toward this end, the DOE Biomass Program is investing in various algal biomass and biofuels production research, development, and demonstration projects (RD&D). Reliable and readily available supplies of sufficient volumes and varieties of algae biomass and metabolites, which are are currently lacking, are needed to support current and anticipated RD&D efforts.

The DOE is interested in responses that address the following parts:

  • Near-term production and supply of algal biomass
  • Downstream algal biomass requirements
  • Non-destructive production of advanced biofuels or intermediate metabolites

A formal funding opportunity announcement (FOA) in the area of algal biofuels may be considered as a result of this RFI.

Source: US DOE