Biofuels to become No. 1 investment for the U.S. administration

The US Energy Department will put $118 million into biofuels projects

In an effort to increase domestic production of biofuels and help the Biden administration reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will announce more than $100 million in funding on Thursday, the department told the media.

In order to speed up the manufacturing of biofuels, which may be made from biomass such as agricultural waste, soybean oil, and animal fats, the government aims to award $118 million to 17 projects. The monies are an addition to the more than $500 million the DOE has invested in research and development for bio-energy and bio-refineries over the previous two years, according to the agency.

How are biofuels manufactured?

Biofuel production goes through the process of converting organic matter into a fuel source. There are several different methods for manufacturing biofuels, depending on the type of biofuel and the feedstock used.

One of the most common methods for producing biofuels is through the process of fermentation. This process involves breaking down the sugars or starches in the feedstock, such as corn or sugarcane, into alcohols like ethanol. They then distill the ethanol to increase its concentration and purity.

Another method for producing biofuels is through the process of pyrolysis, which involves heating the feedstock in the absence of oxygen to produce a liquid biofuel known as pyrolysis oil. This oil can undergo further refinement to produce transportation fuels like diesel and jet fuel.

Biodiesel is another biofuel that is produced through a process called transesterification, which involves combining alcohol, typically methanol, with the feedstock to produce biodiesel. The feedstock for biodiesel is typically vegetable oils such as soybean oil, palm oil, or canola oil.

A newer method of producing biofuels is through the process of algae cultivation. This involves growing algae in large tanks or ponds and then harvesting the algae to produce biofuel. Algae are also promising feedstock for biofuels because they grow quickly and can produce a large amount of oil per acre compared to other feedstocks.

United States on a course to cut carbon emissions by biofuels

Setting the United States on a course to cut carbon emissions in the fight against climate change is a central goal of President Joe Biden’s administration. By 2050, Biden wants to have net-zero emissions.

According to the agency, grants from the DOE to universities and private businesses for various pre-pilot, pilot, and demonstration projects range in value from $500,000 to $80 million. Millions of gallons of lower-carbon gasoline are in plan to be produced yearly as a result of the projects in the future.

According to U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm, DOE investments are assisting in the development of a domestic bio-energy supply chain that boosts America’s energy independence, generates jobs, and quickens the adoption of cleaner fuels for our transportation requirements.

According to the DOE, the projects will generate employment in nine states.

How much biofuel does the U.S. use?

The US Energy Information Administration estimates that in 2021, the US consumed about 16.8 billion gallons of biofuels. Comparatively, in the same year, transportation burned around 134.83 billion gallons of motor fuel.

The Biden administration has stated that biofuels will be necessary for the aviation sector. It’s a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Also, it helps the industry meet its climate goals. Aviation is a significant contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions. The aviation industry has set a goal to achieve carbon-neutral growth by 2020 and reduce its net emissions to half of 2005 levels by 2050.

The aviation sector must switch to biofuels

The opinion is that biofuels are a key technology for reducing emissions in the aviation sector. It is because they have the potential to reduce carbon emissions by up to 80% compared to traditional fossil fuels. As we said, they make biofuels from renewable plant materials. They do not produce the same carbon emissions as fossil fuels when burned. Companies can also blend them with traditional jet fuel to reduce emissions on a per-flight basis.

Limited use of biofuels in aviation continues. But several airlines, including United and Delta, have already begun testing and using biofuels on a small scale. Some airlines are also investing in the development of biofuels. An example is the partnership between Alaska Airlines, Washington State University, and Gevo Inc. They produce low-carbon, renewable jet fuel from wood waste.

In addition, the Biden Administration already has announced plans to invest in the biofuel industry. It aims to help lower the cost of biofuels. Also, it will increase the production and distribution of biofuels in the U.S. This should help the aviation industry in the long term to achieve its climate goals.