The US Department of Energy is ready to give out grants to nine small-scale cellulosic ethanol refineries, totaling $240 million in funding. BlueFire and PlascoEnergy Group’s projects, as well as many others, show the popularity cellulosic biofuel is gaining, so it is not surprising that biorefineries are getting a little green from the government. When factoring in this federal funding along with what is gained thorough industry cost share, over $735 million will go into nine projects over the next 5 years. The DOE has set money aside for CCS ventures and solar thermal projects, so I’m glad to see renewable and sustainable energy production is on the brain. Even so, the projects are definitely more research than mass-production - they're smaller scale, processing and producing about a tenth of what a commercial sized biorefinery handles. They'll be using wood, energy crops, and ag waste products...none of the cool (or gross) trash-to-tank stuff that others are working on. Nevertheless, it's progress that's paid for.
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