On November 16, 2016, the White House filed the Mid-Century Strategy for Deep Decarbonization with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change under the Paris climate deal. The strategy highlights the role that U.S. government-funded research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) had on the technological advances of the last century, and the potential to increase the pace and reduce the costs of decarbonization using the full power of U.S. RD&D efforts focused on clean energy technologies.
The strategy states that potentially high impact technologies in early stages of development or commercial deployment, such as carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS), advanced nuclear, and second generation biofuels, can benefit from support programs that drive cost reductions through learning and economies-of-scale. The strategy also states that the cost of decarbonization can likely be lowered by public and private RD&D that covers a wide range of technologies as it is unclear how the technologies will progress over time.
Regarding biofuels, the strategy identified opportunities for RD&D investments to:
■ Reduce biofuel production costs;
■ Improve production efficiency;
■ Develop “drop-in” fuels that require no changes to existing fuel infrastructure;
■ Co-optimize engines with low-carbon fuel to maximize performance and greenhouse gas reductions; and
■ Ensure biomass production and use methods are carbon beneficial.