Five projects will receive $23 million over the next four years from DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), to develop highly efficient fermentative organisms that convert cellulosic biomass into ethanol.
Organisms that can ferment these cellulosic biomass materials into ethanol are crucial to the success of commercial-scale integrated biorefineries and cellulosic ethanol refining. Such organisms must be able to survive a wide range of environmental conditions while resisting mutations that would hinder their effectiveness.
Cargill Incorporated, Celunol Corporation, DuPont, Mascoma Corporation, and Purdue University were selected for the five projects. Combined with the industry cost share, more than $37 million could be invested in these projects.
These contracts are part of EERE's Biofuels Initiative (BFI), which has the goal of reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil by meeting the following targets:
- To make cellulosic ethanol (or ethanol from non-grain biomass resources) cost competitive with gasoline by 2012.
- To replace 30 percent of current levels of gasoline consumption with biofuels by 2030 (or 30x30).