USDA Announces $6 Million for Biomass Research

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced up to $6 million in available funding for research to support the next generation of sustainable biofuels and biomaterials. Funding is made through USDA’s Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI), a joint initiative with the Department of Energy.

“Renewable energy is an important contributor to our nation’s economic prosperity,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “These investments help develop more options for producing energy and biobased industrial products.”

Biomass feedstocks are plant and algal materials that can be used to create biofuels, renewable chemicals, and other biobased products. Perennial grasses, woody plants, and non-food oil seeds are just some of the feedstocks that provide the basis of renewable energy and other materials. The Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI) RFA supports the development of sustainable biofuels and biobased products, helping to create jobs, new market opportunities, and rural prosperity by diversifying the nation’s energy choices. Projects may focus on feedstocks development, biofuels and biobased products development, and biofuels development analysis.

Eligible applicants include higher education institutions, national laboratories, federal research agencies, state research agencies, private sector entities, nonprofit organizations, or consortia of two or more of the entities described above.

The application process will include two phases: a concept paper phase and a full application phase. The concept paper deadline is July 7, 2017. The full application deadline is Sept. 22, 2017.

Previously funded projects include a State University of New York analysis of the economic and environmental impacts of willow and forest biomass for use in heat and power. A University of Florida project investigated the use of sorghum for biofuels and chemicals.

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