By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.
On September 22, 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) awarded six grants totaling nearly $21.1 million to support the development of new jet fuel, biobased products, and biomaterials from renewable sources. The funding is provided through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Sustainable Bioenergy and Bioproducts (SBEBP) Challenge Area. Grant recipients include:
- University of Arizona, which received $7,026,000 for the cultivation of two desert-dwelling feedstocks, specifically guayule and guar, that can provide biomass year round for biofuel production;
- University of Florida, which received $7,026,000 for the development of a resilient Brassica carinata-based biofuel and bioproduct supply chain in the Southeast;
- University of Missouri, Rolla, which received $32,000 to help develop a viable market for guayule resin through laboratory and field research, and expand the research and educational capacity of the asphalt laboratory at the Missouri University of Science and Technology;
- North Carolina State University, which received $2,750,000 to prepare a diverse group of college students and high school teachers with the knowledge and interdisciplinary tools necessary to advance the future of America's bioenergy, bioproducts, and the bioeconomy;
- The Ohio State University, which received $2,750,000 to create a national network of universities, industry, and government agencies that derive sufficient benefits to be sustainable long-term; and
- Oklahoma State University, which received $1,500,000 to educate the next generation of engineers and scientists in renewable resource utilization.
On May 18, 2016, USDA announced $21 million in funding to support the development of regional systems for bioenergy and biobased products. The funding is provided through AFRI's Sustainable Bioenergy and Bioproducts (SBEBP) Challenge Area, an initiative of the USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), and is available to applicants in the following priority areas.
- Regional Bioenergy Coordinated Agricultural Projects (CAPs) that focus on the production and delivery of regionally-appropriate sustainable biomass feedstocks for bioenergy and bioproducts. While the focus of CAPs will be on feedstocks, competitive proposals must present the feedstock development and production in the context of a comprehensive regional sustainable bioenergy and bioproducts supply chain systems.
- Investing in America's Scientific Corps: Preparing a New Generation of Students, Faculty, and Workforce for Emerging Challenges in Bioenergy, Bioproducts, and the Bioeconomy.
This Request for Applications (RFA) is open to individuals, nonprofits, institutions of higher education, small businesses, and others, with a full list available in Part III A of the current AFRI SBEBP Challenge Area. Proposed budgets under Regional CAP Grants cannot exceed $3 million dollars annually, and project periods should not exceed five years. A letter of intent for the RFA is due by July 14, 2016, by 5:00 p.m. (EDT), with full applications due by September 22, 2016, by 5:00 p.m. (EDT).
On November 16, 2015, The Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) of South Africa called for submissions of Statements of Interest focusing on the demonstration of 2nd and 3rd generation biofuel production technologies. TIA manages the Biofuels Technology Demonstration Programme (BTDP) on behalf of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and is looking to support South African advanced biofuel production technology. To submit a proposal, applicants must be South African citizens, be preexisting legal entities, operate primary technology development activities in South Africa, and have the necessary contractual capacity to work with TIA. Proposals for funding must be submitted online by November 30, 2015, at 4:00 p.m. (UTC+2:00).