Department of Energy to Fund Biotech Research to Support Clean Energy


The agency announced $178 million in federal funding toward bioenergy studies, with a heavy emphasis on microbial research.

Bioenergy technology research and development will receive an influx of $178 million in federal funding, with officials at the Department of Energy overseeing studies geared toward finding solutions to pressing national issues like climate change, agricultural production and supply chain resilience.

Announced on Tuesday, Energy officials will oversee and sponsor projects in biotechnology research focusing on industrial microorganisms and microbiomes, following the Biden administration’s recent endeavor to expand the U.S biomanufacturing ecosystem. 

“Producing cheaper energy from organic materials—like plants, food and waste—keeps money in the pockets of energy consumers and prevents carbon pollution from reaching the atmosphere,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm. “These projects will continue to advance the boundaries of biotechnology and support the emergence of a thriving U.S. bioeconomy that creates good-paying jobs and helps us meet our climate goals.” 

Some of the areas the funding will support include renewable bioenergy and biomaterials production, quantum-enabled bioimaging and sensing devices, gene therapy for crops and advanced microbiome research. 

The first area studying microbes and algae was given the most funding, with $99.7 million going toward microbial modeling and research. Quantum-related research will get the least amount of funding per this initiative, with $18 million allocated. The projects will continue over the course of five years. 

The government’s latest series of investments in biotechnology reflect President Biden’s larger campaign goal to bring the U.S. economy to net-zero in carbon emissions by 2050.