The Obama Administration has released $30 million in new funding, available to match private industry contributions in commercial-scale advanced drop-in biofuels, to pursue innovations in biofuels technologies, increase production of U.S. biofuels, and strengthen American energy security. The Energy Department is announced $32 million in new investments for earlier-stage research to drive technological breakthroughs and additional cost reductions in the industry.

Made possible through the Defense Production Act (DPA), the funding to support development of commercial-scale advanced drop-in biofuels is intended to enhance national security by supporting the creation and commercial viability of a defense-critical domestic biofuels industry to advance alternatives to petroleum. DPA is an authority that dates back to 1950 and has been used to boost industries such as steel, aluminum, titanium, semiconductors, beryllium, and radiation-hardened electronics.

The investments in the earlier stage biofuels research includes $20 million to support innovative pilot-scale and demonstration-scale biorefineries that could produce renewable biofuels that meet military specifications for jet fuel and shipboard diesel using a variety of non-food biomass feedstocks, waste-based materials and algae. These projects may support new plant construction, retrofits on existing U.S. biorefineries or operation at plants ready to begin production at the pilot- or pre-commercial scale. This investment will also help federal and local governments, private developers and industry collect accurate data on the cost of producing fuels made from biomass and waste feedstocks.

In addition, the Energy Department also announced $12 million to support up to eight projects focused on researching ways to develop biobased transportation fuels and products using synthetic biological processing. Synthetic biological processing offers an innovative technique to enable efficient, cost-saving conversion of non-food biomass to biofuels. These projects will develop novel biological systems that can enhance the breakdown of raw biomass feedstocks and assist in converting feedstocks into transportation fuels.