The US Energy Department is teaming up with research institutes and the energy industry in a bid to make biofuels more cost-competitive to gas.
Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced more than $22 million (£14.5m) worth of new investment in a number of projects, most of which aim to help boost the productivity of sustainable algae (pictured) while cutting capital and operating costs of commercial-scale production.
One of the largest costs for the advanced biofuels industry comes from harvesting its raw material or feedstock – the wood, grass or agricultural waste it converts to fuel – and delivering it from the field or forest to a bio-refinery.
The research projects build on the Government’s efforts to develop “next generation” biofuels, with the goal of producing cost-competitive biofuels by 2017 and algae-based fuels by 2022.
Mr Moniz said: “By partnering with industry and universities, we can help make clean, renewable biofuels cost-competitive with gasoline, give drivers more options at the pump and cut harmful carbon pollution.”
According to statistics from the Energy Department, the US transportation sector accounts for two-thirds of total US oil consumption and one-third of total greenhouse gas emissions.
Earlier this week ELN reported the use of biofuels in the EU’s transport sector rose to 14.4 million tonnes of oil equivalent last year.