The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded more than $10 million to two Iowa-based advanced biofuels companies to develop pilot-scale biorefineries that will test renewable fuels technologies for both commercial and military use.


Frontline Bioenergy LLC of Ames has been awarded $4.2 million and BioProcess Algae in Shenandoah has received $6.4 million for projects that will test renewable biofuels as a domestic alternative for fueling automobiles, trucks and ships, as well as for powering military jets.


The Iowa-based projects are part of an $18 million investment by the Energy Department for four projects across the country that will demonstrate technologies to cost-effectively convert biomass into advanced drop-in biofuels and assist these organizations to scale up the processes to commercial levels.


"Advanced biofuels are an important part of President Obama's all-of-the-above strategy to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil, improve our energy security and protect our air and water," Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in a release. "The innovative biorefinery projects announced today mark an important step toward producing fuels for our American military and the civil aviation industry from renewable resources found right here in the United States."


Both of the Iowa projects had received state research funding from the Iowa Power Fund during Gov. Chet Culver's administration. Click here to read Friday's Business Record article that examined the impact of the Iowa Power Fund.


The pilot-scale biorefinery projects will use a variety of non-food biomass feedstocks, waste-based materials, and algae in innovative conversion processes to produce biofuels that meet military specifications for jet fuel and diesel. Recipients are required to contribute a minimum of 50 percent matching funds for these projects.