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EERE Archived Funding Opportunities

DE-FOA-0001481: Request for Information (RFI): Understanding Scale-Up and Operation Challenges for Integrated Biorefinery Optimization

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) seeks feedback from industry, academia, research laboratories, government agencies, and other stakeholders on issues related to “challenges encountered with the successful scale-up and reliable operation of integrated biorefinery plants (IBRs).” Specifically, BETO seeks information that will help it understand additional areas of research, capabilities, and yet to be addressed barriers and opportunities for stakeholder engagement pertaining to technology development and engineering solutions for the reliable operation of IBRs to produce biofuels, biochemicals and bioproducts.

BETO seeks information on all IBR processes and technologies, including any and all systems processes, technologies, methods and equipment employed to convert woody biomass, agricultural residues, dedicated energy crops, algae, municipal solid waste (MSW), sludge from wastewater treatment plants, and wet solids, into biofuels, biochemicals, and bioproducts.BETO seeks information on technical challenges that have hindered, or could in the future hinder, the achievement of reliable continuous operations. BETO is particularly interested in receiving stakeholder input on production systems expected to be in the range of feedstock throughput of 1 DTPD (Dry Tonne per Day) to 1,000 DTPD to:
1. Understand scale-up and mitigate operational risks and challenges for integrated biorefinery plants;
2. Develop robust handling of variable solid materials (dry and wet feedstocks, and/or residual solids remaining in the process)and investigate reactor feed systems operating under vacuum or at positive pressures;
3. Improve pre-processing methodologies to transform diverse types of feedstocks into homogeneous, standardized intermediates;
4. Advance process intensification focused on simplification (such as reduction in number of process steps); enable reliable, robust continuous operations; increase selectivity and enable hybrid separations; cost reduction through innovative fabrication and construction methods (for example, modularization of systems); and/or efficient water management techniques;
5. Address unique process issues (for example, the need to remove oxygen and lignin to facilitate efficient processing of feedstocks into products, the need to remove natural or derivatized contaminants), and pathways including
i. biological;
ii. thermochemical;
iii. catalytic
iv. biochemical;
v. algae; and
vi. hybrid pathways; and
6. Develop strategies to reduce Capital Expense (CapEx) costs by reducing technical risks and ensuring minimum modifications during different phases of the execution (for example, construction, commissioning, operations, etc.) of biorefinery projects.

This RFI is not a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA); therefore, EERE is not accepting applications at this time. EERE may issue a FOA in the future based on or related to the content and responses to this RFI; however, EERE may also elect not to issue a FOA. There is no guarantee that a FOA will be issued as a result of this RFI. Responding to this RFI does not provide any advantage or disadvantage to potential applicants if EERE chooses to issue a FOA regarding the subject matter. If a FOA is subsequently issued, final details, including the anticipated award size, quantity, and timing of EERE funded awards, will be subject to Congressional appropriations and direction.

Any information obtained as a result of this RFI is intended to be used by the Government on a non-attribution basis for planning and strategy development; this RFI does not constitute a formal solicitation for proposals or abstracts. Your response to this notice will be treated as information only. EERE will review and consider all responses in its formulation of program strategies for the identified materials of interest that are the subject of this request. EERE will not provide reimbursement for costs incurred in responding to this RFI. Respondents are advised that EERE is under no obligation to acknowledge receipt of the information received or provide feedback to respondents with respect to any information submitted under this RFI. Responses to this RFI do not bind EERE to any further actions related to this topic.

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Submission Deadlines

  • Full Application Submission Deadline: 4/6/2016 5:00 PM ET