30 July 2013 — In an effort to accelerate next generation biofuels and drive down the cost of producing gasoline, diesel and jet fuels from biomass, the US Energy Department has announced four new research and development projects.

The partnerships with private industry, universities and national labs can increase America’s energy security, bolster rural economic development and cut harmful carbon pollution from cars, trucks and planes, says Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.

The four projects will represent a $13 million investment, and build on a broader plan by the Obama Administration to advance the next generation of biofuels, improving performance and identifying effective, non-food feedstocks and conversion technologies.

One project will be led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, who will be partnering with FuelCellsEtc, a company specialising in the manufacture of high performance custom fuel cell and electrolyser components.

The Oak Ridge project will receive up to $2.1 million in funding from the Energy Department to use a microbial electrolysis process to efficiently remove the hydrogen from the water found in bio-oil. It is hoped the technology will help reduce the corrosivity of bio-oil and improve the efficiency of converting hydrogen and biomass to biofuels.

The funding is part of a plan to produce cost-competitive drop-in biofuels at $3 per gallon by 2017.