The ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy), a faction of the U.S Department of Energy has recently announced funding up to $20 million for the development of technologies to measure field level feedstock-related emissions.
The SMARTFARM program (Systems for Monitoring and Analytics for Renewable Transportation Fuels from Agricultural Resources and Management) is designed to create efficient feedstock emission measurement technologies. The program will also allow for new industry incentives to enhance feedstock production and carbon management efficiency.
Dan Brouillette, U.S Secretary of Energy has apparently claimed biofuel to be a key energy asset for the U.S. He stated that the DOE’s efforts to strengthen the nation’s agricultural monitoring proficiency is a major contributing factor towards their leading position in the industry.
He further commented that the SMARTFARM program would improve monitoring technologies that feedstock manufacturers are likely to implement in future programs for carbon management. This will pave the way for more efficient and cleaner production of biofuels.
The aim to achieve higher levels of carbon reductions in the biofuel supply chain necessitates the adoption of efficient technologies by feedstock producers to cut down production related emissions, improve yields and enhance soil carbon sequestration.
Crop based biofuels can potentially fulfil nearly 5% of the energy demand in the U.S. The advancement of technologies improving carbon negativity in biofuel supply chains will further increase the benefits biofuels offer to the environment and the economy.
Projects of SMARTFARM are designed to bridge biofuel supply chain data gaps by investing in technologies that will replace feedstock related emission factors and national averages with field level projections. These projects will offer efficient, accurate and cost-effective field level measurement of feedstock-related emission levels. In they prove successful, these projects may give rise to new market incentives for a substantial reduction in annual U.S emissions, by making feedstock manufacturing and carbon management processes more efficient.
Applicants under ARPA-E’s SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) program will be eligible for a portion of the $20 million funding available via the SMARTFARM program, designated for this specific purpose.