$1.38 M Awarded to Minority Serving Institutions for Bioenergy Research

07/06/2023 05:25 AM

Four projects have been selected for funding under a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) partnership with the Minority Serving Institution STEM Research & Development Consortium (MSRDC). DOE has leveraged the partnership to reduce barriers to entry for Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) and increase research partnerships.

MSRDC is a nonprofit member group of over 70 MSIs formed under a cooperative agreement by the U.S. Army in 2014. The consortium facilitates basic, applied, and advanced research awards from federal agencies through a limited competition contracting vehicle. Through its partnership with MSRDC, BETO has broadened its pool of participants and funded non-traditional, emerging, and historically underfunded investigators from MSIs at $1.38 million in Fiscal Year 2022.

Projects under this solicitation focus on  three areas:

    • Advanced Algal Systems: Development of strategies and technologies to produce high quality algae for cost-effective biofuels, intermediary products, and bioproducts.
    • Advanced Terrestrial Waste Feedstock Technologies: Development of strategies and technologies to convert municipal solid waste and other potential waste resources into low-carbon biofuels and bioproducts.
    • Accelerating Catalyst Development for Biofuel Production: Within the Chemical Catalysis for Bioenergy Consortium, this topic focuses on high-impact technology development for catalytic conversion technologies with emphasis on liquid transportation fuels, such as sustainable aviation fuel, diesel, and marine fuels, their co-products, or intermediaries. 

The four projects selected for awards are:

    • North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University: Developing a biofiltration-microalgae symbiotic system that can improve microalgal production in wastewater.
    • Florida A&M University: Producing hydrochar from food that can be used as a stable, consistent feedstock for biofuel production or biomass power.
    • University of New Mexico: Developing a novel catalytic approach for upgrading biomass derived ethanol to sustainable aviation fuel in order to show how novel single atom catalysts can be leveraged to overcome catalyst deactivation challenges.
    • University of Maryland, Baltimore County: Advancing traditional surface chemistry simulations by applying a novel symbolic regression approach that could reduce expensive computational efforts and enable the acceleration of catalyst development efforts for biofuels and chemicals. 

Read more about the projects on the BETO website