DOE Grants $10.6 Million to Produce More Biodiesel, Biojet Fuel
(University of Illinois, Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology/Biomass Magazine) The U.S. Department of Energy awarded the University of Illinois a $10.6 million, five-year grant to transform two of the most productive crops in America into sustainable sources of biodiesel and biojet fuel. The new research project Renewable Oil Generated with Ultra-productive Energycane—or ROGUE—kicks off on Feb. 25 with a team meeting held in conjunction with the 2018 Genomic Sciences Program Annual Principal Investigator Meeting in Tysons, Virginia.
“The U.S. continues to enjoy cheap, abundant energy but more than 80 percent of which is derived from natural gas, coal, and petroleum,” said ROGUE Director Stephen Long, an Ikenberry Endowed Chair at Illinois. “Heavy, diesel-powered semitrailers and the aviation industry desire other options, but electric batteries are not feasible, and current biofuel crops cannot meet demands for biodiesel and biojet fuel.”
ROGUE will engineer energycane, a bioenergy crop derived from sugarcane, and Miscanthus to produce the oil that is used to create biodiesel and biojet fuel. Their work is guided by computer models, which project that these crops can achieve 20 percent oil content in the plant—a dramatic increase from natural levels of less than a tenth of 1 percent.
Previous work, funded by the DOE Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), achieved 8 percent oil accumulation, and now ROGUE will further increase oil production and target oil accumulation in the stem where it can be accessed more easily with ROGUE’s patented extraction technologies.
The project will also develop energycane to be more cold-tolerant to expand its growing region and extend its growing season.
“Our crop technologies could thrive on 235 million acres, turning untold underutilized, marginal acreage into sustainable sources of bio-oil,” Long said. “What’s more, we have the existing infrastructure in place to immediately grow, harvest, and process their bio-oil using existing sugarcane mills. These oils can be processed into biofuels with existing technologies and sold through existing marketplaces.”
ROGUE will ensure the efficacy of its crop technologies through techno-economic analyses and replicated field trials. Energycane will be evaluated at Florida and Mississippi, and Miscanthus will be tested at Illinois. In tandem, the project will continue to perfect and evaluate its patented method to separate oil from biomass and its processing technologies. READ MORE
US DOE grants $10.6M to produce more biodiesel, biojet fuel (Biodiesel Magazine)
Research group gets $10.6 million from DoE to develop more biodiesel and biojet fuel (Biofuels International)