The US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), announced that up to $9 million in funding will be made available through the Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI) to support the development of bioenergy feedstocks, biofuels, and bio-based products (DE-FOA-0001637).
The projects funded through BRDI—a joint NIFA and DOE program—will help develop economically and environmentally sustainable sources of renewable biomass, increase the availability of renewable fuels and biobased products, and diversify the US energy portfolio. Both DOE and NIFA have been given statutory authorities to support the development of a biomass-based industry in the United States, under the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (FCEA) and the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
NIFA and DOE will make up to $9 million available through BRDI in Fiscal Year (FY) 2017. Applicants will be permitted to address any or all of the following three legislatively mandated technical areas:
Feedstocks Development. Research, development, and demonstration activities regarding feedstocks and feedstock logistics (including harvest, handling, transport, preprocessing, and storage) relevant to production of raw materials for conversion to biofuels and biobased products. The BRDI program is designed to support near-term commercial systems. Projects should emphasize development and optimization of existing feedstocks that will be available for testing and demonstration during the life of the project. Proposals that include breeding or genetic improvement of feedstocks should reconcile this work with the Program’s emphasis on near-term impacts.
Biofuels and Biobased Products Development. Research,development,and demonstration (RD&D) activities to support: (i) Development of diverse cost-effective technologies for the use of cellulosic biomass in the production of biofuels, bioenergy, and biobased products; and (ii) Product diversification through technologies relevant to the production of a range of biobased products (including chemicals, animal feeds, and cogeneration power) that potentially can increase the feasibility of fuel production in a biorefinery.
Biofuels and Biobased Products Development Analysis. The intent of this section is to apply systems evaluation methods that can be used to optimize system performance and market potential and to quantify the project’s impact on sustainability; therefore, successful applications will consider the life-cycle (cradle-to-grave) impacts including environmental, social, and economic implications that are attributable to the project. Successful projects should include these sustainability data in engineering process models and be used over the life of the project to improve the system and quantify sustainability impacts
NIFA and DOE are soliciting applications from all interested parties, including for-profit entities, universities, nonprofits, and national laboratories.
For FY 2017, DOE anticipates funding 1 to 6 awards, and NIFA anticipates funding 3 to 14 awards. Awards are anticipated to range from $500,000 to $2 million per award. All DOE funding is subject to the availability of annual congressional appropriations.