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DOE Doubles Biorefinery Grants

March 5, 2007 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 85, Issue 10

Six proposed biofineries to produce cellulose-based ethanol will be eligible for federal four-year start-up grants totaling $385 million, the Department of Energy announced last week. When first seeking biofinery proposals last year, DOE said it intended to fund three projects to the tune of $160 million. But to speed the introduction of ethanol made from biomass wastes, DOE has doubled the grant amount and number, Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman says. The proposed plants will make ethanol from many cellulosic sources, among them corn stover and cobs, wood and yard waste, switch grass, and wheat straw. The projects will be located in Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, and Southern California, and participants include a host of companies, some with biofuels experience and some without. They include Iogen Energy, Broin Co., DuPont, Waste Management, Washington Group International, Abengoa Bioenergy R&D, Novozymes North America, Goldman Sachs, Khosla Ventures, Royal Dutch/Shell Group, and DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, among many others. Altogether, the demonstration plants would produce 132 million gal of ethanol per year. The companies are expected to provide funding that is double DOE's grant amount. The U.S. has no cellulosic ethanol biofinery in operation today. More information is available online at


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