Research projects in EESA’s Bioenergy Program apply synthetic biology, bioengineering, and microbiology to foster renewable fuel production. Key themes of the Bioenergy Program include: (1) developing novel biofuel pathways in bacteria, (2) exploiting microbial metabolic diversity for biofuel production and lignocellulose deconstruction, and (3) mitigating petroleum souring in reservoirs caused by sulfidogenic microbes. Recently and currently funded projects in the EESA Bioenergy program encompass a wide range of scope, scale, and funding sources. Such projects include: two DOE ARPA-E projects aimed at developing microbiological systems for direct conversion of CO2 or CH4 to liquid transportation fuels; a project funded by the Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI) that addresses souring of petroleum reservoirs by sulfidogenic microbes; EESA-led research at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) on designing novel biofuel pathways and exploring microbial diversity for lignocellulosic deconstruction.
Key sponsors of the Bioenergy Program include DOE ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy), DOE Genomic Science Program (JBEI), and the Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI). Industry sponsorship of projects in this program is significant and growing (e.g., from Kiverdi, Inc.), as the emphasis is on establishing biotechnology-to-market plans.