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May 4, 2016
As part of the Co-Optimization of Fuels & Engines initiative, researchers are exploring synergies among new bio-based fuels, engines, powertrains, and fueling infrastructure. Image by Loren Stacks, Sandia National Laboratories
Co-Optimized Fuel-Engine Systems to Transform Our Nation’s Vehicles

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) recent Co-Optimization of Fuels and Engines Initiative (Co-Optima) seeks to combine previously independent areas of biofuels and engine-combustion research and development to design new fuels and engines that are co-optimized—designed in tandem to maximize vehicle performance and carbon efficiency.

April 28, 2016
Non-food biomass such as the crop residue (the leftover material from crops like stalks, leaves, and husks of corn plants following harvest) pictured above can be converted to biofuels as well as high-value products such as plastics, chemicals, and fertilizers.
Integrating the Production of Biofuels and Bioproducts

A new biomass production strategy offers a more efficient, cost-effective, and integrated approach to the utilization of our nation’s biomass resources.

April 27, 2016
Rice hulls and other samples used for demonstrating the capabilities of the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Rapid Biomass Analysis System. Researchers have found a way to produce silicon structures for lithium-ion batteries using rice husks. | Photo courtesy of NREL
From Rice Paddies to the Road: Transforming Rice Husks into Lithium-ion Anodes for Plug-in Electric Vehicles

Through a project supported by the Energy Department’s Vehicle Technologies Office, researchers at Stanford University have been able to produce silicon structures for lithium-ion batteries from rice husks, a waste product of this ubiquitous agricultural crop.

April 12, 2016
Improving Access to Energy-Rich Sugars. Ning Sun is part of a team of researchers in the Energy Department's Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) Deconstruction Division exploring methods to pretreat biomass. | Image courtesy of JBEI
Harnessing Biotechnology to Accelerate Advanced Biofuels Production

Advances in synthetic biology—which involves engineering biological systems for new uses—can offer innovative solutions to improve advanced biofuel production. This, in turn, can speed up the development and commercialization of biofuels, making them attractive and affordable to industrial manufacturers.

March 22, 2016
Bioenergy Blog
Energy Department Charting New Future for Wastewater Treatment

It will cost about $600 billion over the next 20 years to continue reliably transporting and treating wastewater, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Find out how the Department of Energy collaborated with the National Science Foundation and EPA to explore a smarter future for water treatment.

February 24, 2016
Researchers take laser-based velocity measurements at the Sandia National Laboratory's Combustion Research Facility. The measurements are used to help understand the flow features involved in the creation of in-cylinder carbon monoxide distributions in order to improve automotive diesel engines. | Photo by Randy Wong, Sandia National Laboratory
New Vehicle Initiative Aims to Make Fuel and Engines Work Together More Efficiently

Recently I had the pleasure of briefing members of Congress on EERE’s groundbreaking fuel-engine co-optimization initiative. The new, multi-year project combines previously independent areas of biofuels and engine combustion research and development (R&D) to design new fuels and engines that are co-optimized—designed in tandem to both maximize vehicle performance and carbon efficiency.

February 22, 2016
Bioenergy Blog
Federal Agencies Outline Bioeconomy Vision and Current Activities

This week at the Advanced Bioeconomy Leadership Conference, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Chief Scientist, Dr. Catherine Woteki, announced the release of the Federal Activities Report on the Bioeconomy. This report was developed to inform Americans of current federal agency activities that are helping to develop and support what we call the "bioeconomy"--an emerging part of the U.S. economy that relies on renewable biological resources to produce fuels, power, and bio-based products.

December 18, 2015
Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant | New York City Department of Environmental Protection
One Year Down the Road of Biogas Industry Development

Methane is both a powerful energy source and a potent greenhouse gas. When it’s extracted from the earth as natural gas and burned for heating and electricity, it emits carbon dioxide (CO2) but burns more cleanly than some other energy sources such as coal. However, when methane escapes into the atmosphere, it traps 25 times more heat radiation than CO2. That’s why some people are concerned with the environmental consequences of methane leaks during the process of fracking.

November 20, 2015
DuPont’s cellulosic ethanol biorefinery in Nevada, Iowa, opened on October 30, 2015. | Photo courtesy of DuPont
DuPont’s Cellulosic Ethanol Grand Opening Marks a Milestone for the Advanced Biofuels Industry

On a bright, crisp October morning in Iowa, I had the privilege to speak at the grand opening of DuPont’s cellulosic ethanol biorefinery—the fourth biorefinery of its kind in the United States and the largest in the world. This impressive plant is equipped to produce 30 million gallons of ethanol each year from the leftover stalks and leaves of the corn plant, called corn stover.

October 30, 2015
Bioenergy Blog
Night of the Living Trash: Bringing Your Waste Back to Life

This Halloween season, the U.S. Department of Energy’s  Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) is highlighting how waste can be “brought back to life” and turned into something useful. On average, Americans generate over 200 million tons of waste per year, or nearly 4.38 pounds per person per day. Significant opportunity exists to convert this and other waste sources into liquid transportation fuels.

October 28, 2015
The Landscape Environmental Assessment Framework (LEAF), the Water Assessment for Transportation Energy Resources (WATER), and the Greenhouse gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy use in Transportation (GREET) model are three tools that are enabling an environmentally beneficial biofuels industry.
Three Sustainability Tools are Enhancing Environmental Benefits of Biofuels

At the Energy Department’s Bioenergy Technologies Office, we’re actively working to develop the advanced biofuels industry in a way that leads to positive impacts and that demonstrates responsible stewardship of the environment. Biofuel production is closely tied to the environment—for example, energy crops can affect soil and water resources as well as wildlife populations, and water and energy are required to convert energy crops to fuel at a biorefinery.

October 27, 2015
Graphic by <a href="/node/379579">Sarah Gerrity</a>, Energy Department.
Turn Your Halloween Pumpkins Into Power

It might not be long before the 1.3 billion pounds of pumpkins produced annually in the U.S. are as important for our energy security as they are for Halloween.

October 22, 2015
A tanker picks up gasoline from the biorefinery. | Photo courtesy The Gas Technology Institute
Woody Biomass Converted to Gasoline by Five-Company Team

An international consortium of five companies and organizations came together in a joint effort to transform woody biomass, including trees and wood waste, into a gasoline product suitable for use in today’s automobiles. The collaborative project was cost shared between the project participants and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) using funding provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

October 13, 2015
<i>Plastic water bottles are among the products that some companies are now producing with bio-based chemicals instead of fossil fuels. The Energy Department’s Bioenergy Technologies Office is researching ways that bioproducts can improve the economics of new types of biofuels. | Photo courtesy of Quinn Dombrowski, Flickr creative commons license.</i>
Plant Products a Growing Research Area

For every barrel of crude oil used in the United States, 16% goes toward making products ranging from everyday plastics to specialty chemicals in addition to making liquid fuels. From deli containers to industrial lubricants, these chemicals and products are a crucial, yet almost invisible part of our daily lives.

September 24, 2015
A team of high school students designed this infographic about cellulosic ethanol. View the entire infographic from the <a href="http://energy.gov/eere/bioenergy/bioenergizeme-infographic-challenge-cellulosic-ethanol">Bioenergy Technologies Office website</a>.
Students Recognized in Washington, D.C. for their Winning Bioenergy Infographic

A team of five freshmen from Williamsburg High School for Architecture and Design in Brooklyn, New York—designed an infographic on the benefits of cellulosic ethanol and were invited as guests to the eight annual conference, Bioenergy 2015, in Washington, D.C.

August 13, 2015
Molecular biologist Dr. Amanda Barry at Los Alamos National Laboratory's environmental photobioreactor matrix, which simulates microalgal biofuel pond conditions. <a href="/node/1143116">Algal biofuels have big potential</a> for America's clean energy future. | <a href="https://www.lanl.gov/">Los Alamos National Laboratory</a> photo
8 Questions for a Scientist: Molecular Biologist Dr. Amanda Barry

We chatted with one of the Energy Department's leading molecular biologists, Dr. Amanda Barry, who is working to create biofuels from algae at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

July 29, 2015
3 Reasons We’re Closer to an Algae Future than You Think

Algae shows great potential as a homegrown and renewable fuel source. Here's why it will be a big part of our nation’s energy mix sooner than you might expect.

June 26, 2015
Farmer Bruce Nelson and a representative from biofuels company POET-DSM stand between square and round bales of corn stover stock piled outside of POET-DSM’s Project LIBERTY cellulosic ethanol biorefinery. Selling the corn plant residue after their corn harvest has generated a new revenue stream for many farmers, including Bruce. <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GU0Cu45cLT4" target="_blank">Watch a video segment</a> about Bruce’s story at the beginning of the film “Bioenergy: America’s Energy Future.”
EERE Energy Impacts: Biorefineries Give Local Farmers Opportunities for Additional Income

Selling corn stover—the non-edible corn stalks, husks, and leaves of a corn plant—after the corn harvest has generated a new revenue stream for many farmers. Biorefineries buy the corn plant residue from farmers and turn it into cellulosic ethanol, allowing farmers to "add revenue without adding acres."

June 24, 2015
Sustainable Transportation Day Drives Innovation Forward

Energy Department technology Offices showcase how EERE’s strategic investments in sustainable transportation technologies are improving vehicle efficiency and advancing the use of alternative fuel vehicles.

June 3, 2015
Seizing our Bioenergy Opportunities in a Changing Energy Landscape

At the Bioenergy Technologies Office, we’re working with public and private partners to develop an industry of advanced biofuels and bioproducts from non-food biomass sources that is commercially and environmentally sustainable. In the United States, our energy landscape is changing, and biofuels can play an important role since it is the only near-term liquid transportation fuel alternative to petroleum.

May 22, 2015
Bioenergy Blog
Test Your Energy Knowledge with Our Bioenergy Quiz

We are very excited to announce our first ever bioenergy quiz—an online, interactive tool that’s both enlightening and entertaining! Interested in participating? Just click the link in the photo above and let the game begin.

April 23, 2015
Surfing into the Future
World’s First Algae Surfboard Makes Waves in San Diego

Energy Department-funded scientists at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) California Center for Algae Biotechnology have successfully demonstrated a uniquely Californian solution to replacing fossil fuels—surfboards made from algae.

April 13, 2015
The Energy Department’s Bioenergy Technologies Office engages with the U.S. Department of Agriculture on many projects, including guidance on the proper removal of corn stover (non-edible corn husks, stalks, and leaves) from the field when it is used for cellulosic ethanol and other advanced biofuel production. A corn stover bale is pictured here.
Smart Federal Partnerships Build Our Biofuels Future

I was honored to speak at the Agricultural Outlook Forum this spring, hosted by our friends at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This year’s theme was “Smart Agriculture in the 21st Century.” The smart solution when it comes to establishing a bioeconomy—renewable, biomass resources as a solid part of our nation’s energy mix—is working together.

March 31, 2015
Preparing the Next Generation of Bioenergy Leaders

Engaging and supporting the next generation of renewable energy researchers and innovators is one of the important roles the Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) plays in advancing bioenergy and biofuels. BETO provides numerous resources from biomass basics to information about lesson plans and tools for educators. Our materials are suitable for K–12 students, undergraduates and graduates, scientists and engineers, high school teachers and college professors, and anyone interested in learning about the future of energy.

March 17, 2015
AGCO Project: AGCO Corporation’s Single-Pass Combination Harvester
Five Harvesting Technologies are Making Biofuels More Competitive in the Marketplace

It may look like ordinary farm equipment, but take a second look. This innovative machinery was developed with Energy Department funding to help biofuels become more affordable. Looking more closely at this image and accompanying infographic, you can see that this combination harvester both harvests and bales corn cobs, husks, stalks, and residue all in one step. Its purpose is to save the time and money required to harvest corn stover feedstock for biofuel production, ultimately helping make biofuel from non-food sources cost-competitive with petroleum gasoline.