DOE awards $1 million for bioenergy research

By the United States Department of Energy | December 29, 2022

Three projects have been selected for funding under a US Department of Energy (DOE) Bureau of Bioenergy Technologies (BETO) interagency agreement with the Minority Serving Institution STEM Research & Development Consortium (MSRDC).

DOE has leveraged the interagency agreement to lower barriers to entry for minority-serving institutions (MSIs) and increase research partnerships.

MSRDC is a non-profit member group of more than 70 MSIs formed under a cooperation agreement by the US Army in 2014. The consortium facilitates awards for basic, applied and advanced research by federal agencies through a limited competition contract vehicle. Through its agreement with MSRDC, BETO has expanded its pool of participants and has funded nontraditional, emerging, and historically underfunded researchers from MSI to $1 million in fiscal year 2022.

Projects under this call focus on three areas:

    Advanced algal systems: Develop strategies and technologies to produce high quality algae for cost-effective biofuels, intermediates and bioproducts.

    Advanced Technologies for Land Waste Raw Materials: Develop strategies and technologies to convert municipal solid waste and other potential waste resources into low-carbon biofuels and bioproducts.

    Accelerating the development of catalysts for biofuel production: Within the Chemical Catalysis for Bioenergy Consortium (ChemCatBio), this topic focuses on high-impact technology development for catalytic conversion technologies with a focus on liquid transportation fuels, such as sustainable aviation fuels, diesel and marine fuels, their co-products or intermediaries.

The three selected projects for the prizes are:





Thematic area: advanced algal systems

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University


This project will develop a symbiotic biofiltration-microalgae system with a novel microalgae-derived biochar-hydrogel-iron composite as a support medium for the simultaneous anaerobic filtration and cultivation of attached microalgae in agricultural wastewater. The proposed biofiltration attached microalgae symbiotic system and the corresponding new carbonaceous composite support medium can improve microalgae production in wastewater.


Thematic area: Advanced technologies for land waste raw materials

Florida A&M University


This team will produce hydrocarbon from food waste using microwave-mediated hydrothermal carbonization to increase thermal efficiency and reduce process costs. Hydochar can be used as a stable and consistent feedstock for biofuel or biomass energy production. The team will collaborate with Florida State University’s National High Magnetic Field Laboratory.


Thematic area: accelerating the development of catalysts for the production of biofuels

University of New Mexico


This team will develop a new catalytic approach to transform biomass-derived ethanol into sustainable aviation fuel. Using state-of-the-art characterization techniques, the project aims to show how novel single-atom catalysts can be exploited to overcome catalyst deactivation challenges. This work will provide UNM researchers with the opportunity to collaborate with DOE National Laboratory partners working on similar challenges in ChemCatBio.


Read more about MSRDC website.

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