posted by Wendy Stott
Published: April 22, 2011
To support President Obama's goal of reducing America's oil imports by one-third by 2025, the U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Energy (DOE) recently jointly announced up to $30 million over three to four years that will support research and development in advanced biofuels, bioenergy, and high-value biobased products. The projects funded through the Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI) will help create a diverse group of economically and environmentally sustainable sources of renewable biomass and increase the availability of alternative renewable fuels and biobased products. Advanced biofuels produced from these projects are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a minimum of 50% compared to fossil fuels and will play an important role in diversifying America's energy portfolio.
"Since taking office, the President has clearly articulated the goal to ensure a cleaner, safer, and more secure energy future," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "These projects will contribute knowledge and technologies that will ultimately help us break our dependence on foreign oil and move our nation toward a clean energy economy that creates jobs and keeps America competitive."
"These projects will help to reduce America's dependence on imported oil by accelerating the development and commercialization of cleaner, alternative fuels that can power our vehicles and our industry," said U.S Energy Secretary Steven Chu. "Producing renewable fuels from biomass right here in the United States will improve our nation's energy security and give us an innovative edge in the global market for clean energy technologies."
For fiscal year 2011, applicants seeking BRDI funding must propose projects that integrate science and engineering research in the following three technical areas that are critical to the broader success of alternative biofuels production:
Integrating multiple technical areas in each project will encourage collaborative problem-solving approaches, enable grantees to identify and address knowledge gaps, and facilitate the formation of research consortia. The agencies are also seeking projects that demonstrate the use of biodiesel in farming equipment and processing facility operations that are used to produce grain and/or cellulosic ethanol.
Subject to annual appropriations, USDA plans to invest up to $25 million with DOE contributing up to $5 million for this year's Biomass Research and Development Initiative. This funding is expected to support five to ten projects over three to four years. A description of the solicitation, eligibility requirements, and application instructions can be found on the FedConnect website and the Grants.gov website under Reference Number DE-FOA-0000510. Pre-applications are due on May 31, 2011 and must be submitted electronically. It is anticipated that applicants who are encouraged to submit full applications will be notified by August 3, 2011.
Through federal funding and leadership for research, education, and extension programs, USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people's daily lives and the nation's future. More information is available at the NIFA website.
DOE's Biomass Program works with industry, academia, and national laboratory partners on a balanced portfolio of research in biomass feedstocks and conversion technologies. For more information on DOE's Biomass Program, please visit the Biomass Program website.