01 Oct Virent awarded $2 million federal technology grant for biofuel development
Madison, Wis. – Virent Energy Systems, a Madison company that is developing technologies to convert biomass into renewable fuels, has been awarded a $2 million Advanced Technology Program grant from the National Institute for Standards and Technology.
The funding will support Virent’s efforts to develop cellulosic pretreatment technology that could dramatically expand the volume of feedstocks available for conversion to energy.
The United States Department of Agriculture has estimated that one billion dry tons of biomass, including fuel wood, perennial crops, grains, and wood and crop residues, could be available annually for biofuel and bioproduct production without impacting food, feed, or export demands.
A key hurdle to using cellulosic feedstocks is that they are difficult to break down to usable sugars at a reasonable cost, and the grant will fund the development of a catalytic-based process to break down cellulosic biomass into sugars and other chemical intermediates.
The competitive grant is the second ATP grant received by Virent. Since its founding, the company has been awarded over $11 million in federal and state grants.
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