The Department of Energy is looking for new fuel.

Specifically, the DOE is looking to fund projects that support the development of advanced biofuels, U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced today.

The DOE is now accepting applications for up to $30 million in total funding for small-scale process integration projects aimed at developing biofuels that will be able to replace gasoline or diesel without requiring special upgrades or changes to the vehicle or fueling infrastructure.

Developing the next generation of American biofuels will enhance our national energy security, expand the domestic biofuels industry, and produce new clean energy jobs, Chu said. It will help America's farmers and create vast new opportunities for wealth creation in rural communities.

This grant offer is part of the Obama Administration's commitment to accelerating R&D towards a more sustainable transportation system, a lowered dependence on foreign oil, and a fuller clean energy economy.

The $30 million is available over the next three to four years to support as many as five projects, Chu said.

The projects will focus on optimizing and integrating process steps that convert biomass into biofuels and bioproducts that will eventually be used to support hydrocarbon fuels and chemicals.

 These process improvements could include: pretreatment methods that alter the biomass to improve the yield of sugars in subsequent process steps; less costly and more efficient enzymes that produce sugars; and fermentation organisms and catalysts that convert the sugars into fuel and chemical intermediates.

Successful applicants will demonstrate the research potential to improve the economics and efficiency of their proposed process.

A description of the solicitation, eligibility requirements, and application instructions can be found on the FedConnect Website under Reference Number DE-FOA-0000337.  Applications must be submitted through Grants.gov by no later than 11:59 pm EST on February 7, 2011.