After more than a decade of work, the United States is about to embark on a new era of urban revitalization.
The National Urban Bioengineering Challenge (NBUCD) is poised to help bring the world’s urban populations back to a more productive state of being.
The program, which aims to generate urban biomass through the development of biomass-rich, biochar-based fuels, is a $4 billion effort by the federal government, state and local governments and private companies.
NBUCT will focus on developing biomass-based biofuels in areas with the highest demand for electricity generation and transportation, as well as on enhancing water, energy and waste management in urban areas.
A portion of the $4 million will go towards a national pilot project to develop and test fuel-producing biomass from biochar.
The goal is to generate 100 percent biomass from biomass-bearing soil and water sources, according to the National Environmental Policy Act.
The project, which is funded by the US Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation, will include a range of research efforts aimed at understanding how biomass could help cities improve their energy and water resources.
In addition to its biochar pilot project, NBUCT is also looking at the feasibility of producing biomass from water-reusing materials, such as sand or gravel, that can be reused in the process of making biochar, said Tom Riddle, chief executive officer of the NBUCD.
While there is no concrete timeline for when the biomass pilot project will be complete, Riddle said the pilot is expected to take place in the 2020s and 2021.
The NBUCCD will be the first phase of the U.S. National Urban Renewable Energy Laboratory (NUREL), a $1.8 billion, government-wide program to accelerate the growth of renewable energy sources in the U, according a NBUDC statement.
“NBUBCD is an ambitious effort, and one that is taking place at a time when the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is making it harder for countries to meet climate goals and we have an economic slowdown,” said Robert A. Fenton, executive director of the American Renewable Fuels Association, in a statement.
“We need to move quickly to capitalize on the rapidly increasing potential for sustainable energy sources, but NBUBCDs success depends on us taking advantage of our abundant natural resources to make our country and our world greener.”
The NBUCHD is the brainchild of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which has also received funding from the federal Department of Agriculture.
The federal agency is responsible for overseeing energy efficiency standards for all U. S. energy sources and is tasked with setting national energy policies.