As part of the Obama Administration’s efforts to cut foreign oil imports, Energy Secretary Steven Chu Friday announced that Michigan Biotechnology Institute, based in Lansing, was selected for up to $4.3 million to improve pre-treatment processes in biofuels development.
The award is part of up to $36 million nationally that will advance the technology improvements and process integration needed to produce drop-in advanced biofuels and other valuable bio-based chemicals.
The projects aim to improve the economics and efficiency of biological and chemical processes that convert non-food biomass feedstocks into replacements for petroleum-based feedstocks, products, and fuels.
Administration officials say this research will lead to affordable, clean alternatives to fossil fuels and diversify our nation’s energy portfolio.
“Projects such as these are helping us to diversify our energy portfolio and decrease our dependence on foreign oil,” Chu said. “Together with our partners, the department is working hard to expand the clean energy economy, creating jobs in America and providing sustainable replacements for the fuels and products now provided primarily by petroleum.”
The funding announced today will help diversify DOE’s Biomass Program portfolio to include a breadth of fuels and chemicals beyond cellulosic ethanol and ensure that the department’s research and development on biofuels remains integrated and strategic.
Michigan Biotechnology Institute’s project will focus on improvements to a pretreatment process, which provides a stable, conversion-ready intermediate of consistent quality at a cost and in a format compatible with long-term storage and ease of transfer between multiple modes of transportation.
DOE’s Biomass Program works with industry, academia, and national laboratory partners on a balanced portfolio of research in biomass feedstocks and conversion technologies.