The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced Thursday its selection of seven research projects to receive funding for the development and acceleration of the adoption of performance-advantaged biofuel blendstocks. 

The projects, totaling $1.94 million in research expenses, will expand research on fuels derived from renewable feedstocks, which could deliver efficient energy without high emissions. The projects are part of the National Laboratory’s Co-Optimization of Fuels & Engines (Co-Optima) initiative. 

The awardees, who will each receive up to $300,000, are:

  • CFR Engines Inc., based in Pewaukee, WI, which will study and develop a fuel reactivity metric and test method for advanced compression ignition combustion engines alongside Argonne National Laboratory (ANL);
  • Annandale, NJ-based ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Co., which will also work with ANL to develop a life-cycle analysis modeling framework to estimate any greenhouse gases emitted by refinery co-processing of renewable fuels;
  • Detroit-based General Motors Co., which will accompany Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the National renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to determine fuel property effects on abnormal combustion for biofuel-petroleum fuel blends;
  • Skokie, IL-based LanzaTech, which will work with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to illustrate the production of a gasoline-boiling-range fuel with advanced fuel properties;
  • Shell Technology Center Houston, which will work alongside NREL to administer metabolic engineering and process optimization to the biological production of the high-performance blendstock isopropanol;
  • Sylvatex Inc., based in Sunnyvale, CA, which will accompany ANL to evaluate the injector performance of Sylvatex’s own alternative diesel fuel, as well as optimize its formulation; and
  • Visolis Inc., headquartered in Hayward, CA, which will convert its own bio-derived intermediate into a high-energy-density blendstock for use in gasoline engines through working with PNNL. 

The Co-Optima awardees would receive their grants through National Laboratory assistance for experimental or computational projects which support capabilities in the area of bio-blendstock fuel property and production research, combustion performance modeling, bio-blendstock target identification, as well as impact analysis. Each of the awardees has committed to a 20% cost share contribution. 

“When you consider how much U.S. households spend on transportation—second only to housing expenses—even a small boost in fuel economy can have an important impact on families’ expenses,” said DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE) Assistant Secretary Daniel Simmons. “These projects are designed to help improve energy efficiency for passenger vehicles through the use of biofuels, translating into savings at the pump.”

Additional sponsors of the Co-Optima initiative include the EERE’s Vehicle Technologies and Bioenergy Technologies Offices. Co-Optima partners additionally include ANL, PNNL, NREL, Idaho National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratory, and more than 20 university and industry partners.