By Lynn L. Bergeson and Ligia Duarte Botelho, M.A.
On March 31, 2020, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) announced its intention to replace eXCHANGE for a new system for funding opportunity announcements (FOA) and application submissions. Starting in Fiscal Year 2021, parties interested in responding to EERE’s opportunities will use the EERE Program Information Center (EPIC). As DOE EERE transitions into EPIC, it is currently looking for volunteers to test the new system and provide feedback. Pilot testing will be from May through June 2020.
Interested parties will have a chance to register early and experience EPIC and how the submission process is changing. According to EERE, the most prominent change to the registration process is that parties must register before their individual applicant accounts can be created. The pilot is open to any organization. Volunteers will be asked to register in EPIC and submit a test application. Training videos will be available, and volunteers will be asked to provide feedback on the new system. Two roles are needed to register for the pilot: (1) the organization’s Government Business Point of Contact (from www.sam.gov), and (2) Technical Points of Contact, such as Principle Investigators or individuals who prepare, review, or submits applications for FOAs.
By Lynn L. Bergeson
On January 23, 2020, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the availability of more than $96 million in funding for bioenergy research and development (R&D) in support of the U.S. bioeconomy. DOE’s funding efforts also align with its own goal to provide secure, affordable, and reliable domestic energy options for consumers and business. This funding opportunity announcement (FOA) aims to advance DOE’s Bioenergy and Technology Office’s (BETO) objectives of: (1) reducing the price of drop-in biofuels; (2) enabling high-value products from biomass or waste resources; and (3) lowering the cost of biopower. Topic areas within this FOA include:
- Up to $8 million for scalable carbon dioxide (CO2) electrocatalysis technologies for generating chemical building blocks;
- Up to $14 million for algae bioproducts and CO2 direct-air-capture and efficiency;
- Up to $28 million for scale-up of bench applications of biofuel and bioproduct processes;
- Up to $5 million for low-emission, high-efficiency residential wood heaters;
- Up to $18 million for waste to energy strategies for a bioeconomy, including strategies for municipal solid waste, wet wastes, and municipal wastewater treatment;
- Up to $15 million for biopower and products from urban and suburban wastes (North American Multi-University Partnership for Research and Education), with a focus on using plastic waste to make recycled products and to produce low-cost biopower; and
- Up to $8 million for bio-restore -- biomass to restore natural resources -- to quantify the economic and environmental benefits associated with growing energy crops, with a focus on restoring water quality and soil health.
According to DOE’s FOA, the application process will consist of two phases: a concept paper and a full application. Phase one of the process (the concept papers) are due on March 5, 2020, and phase two (full applications) are due on April 30, 2020. Further details are available here.
By Lynn L. Bergeson
On June 27, 2019, the Government of Canada’s Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) opened the application process for a grant to develop next generation biobased foam insulation products. Called the Plastics Challenge, this funding opportunity seeks solutions that result in foam insulation products (either spray foam or rigid foam board) that:
- Are predominantly derived from Canadian forest residue;
- Have similar insulation values (within 20 percent) as currently available petroleum-based versions;
- Would have similar cost (within 20 percent) as currently available versions;
- Are less flammable;
- Are fully recyclable at end of life; and
- Would generate less GHG emissions during manufacturing.
Applications must be submitted prior to 2:00 p.m. (EDT), August 27, 2019.
By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.
On September 26, 2017, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the selection of an additional project for the Bioenergy Technologies Office’s (BETO) Advanced Algal Systems Program funding opportunity announcement (FOA). DOE is awarding up to $3.5 million to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to more than double the productivity of biofuel precursors from algae. Researchers aim to improve productivity by increasing algal cultivation productivity, optimizing biomass composition, and extracting and separating different types of algal lipids to reduce the cost for lipid upgrading to renewable diesel. The project team includes researchers from NREL, as well as Colorado State University, Colorado School of Mines, Arizona State University, Sandia National Laboratories, POS Bio-Sciences, Sapphire Energy, and Utah State University.
In addition to the $3.5 million being provided, DOE provided $15 million in Fiscal Year 2016 for three projects under the Algal Biomass Yield, Phase 2 (ABY2) FOA. BETO expects that projects selected under this FOA will help demonstrate a reasonable and realistic plan to produce 3,700 gallons/acre/year by 2020.
On January 19, 2017, the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory issued a $55 million funding opportunity announcement (FOA) to establish additional Integrated Biofuel Production Enterprise (IBPE) capabilities to increase the domestic production capacity of advanced biofuels. The U.S. Air Force anticipates granting one award of up to $55 million in funding with the recipients required to share at least 50 percent of the total project cost. The project will include the design, construction and/or retrofit, operation, and qualification of a domestic IBPE with a capacity to produce at least ten million gallons of neat biofuel per year. The FOA states that proposals can involve Brown Field expansion and/or modification of existing Pilot-scale facilities, commercial-scale facilities, or new Green Field construction. Notice of intent to submit a proposal is due by April 25, 2017, with full proposals due by May 25, 2017.
On December 15, 2016, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) of up to $8 million dollars, subject to appropriations, for innovative technologies that assist in the advancement of algae bioenergy and bioproducts. The FOA consists of two topic areas, including strain improvement for the development of enhanced algal strains, and algae cultivation biology improvement for the development of increased areal productivity and biofuel yield. The objective of the FOA titled “Productivity Enhanced Algae and Tool-Kits” is to double the current state of seasonal algal biomass productivities by overcoming species-specific, ecological, and practical challenges and to improve algal productivity and biomass composition using breakthroughs in advanced biology and biology-based tools. Selected projects will include techno-economic and life-cycle analyses of their proposed approaches to aid commercialization, and data sharing with the research and development community to accelerate future innovations. Concept papers are due by January 13, 2017, at 5:00 p.m. (EST) and full applications are due by February 22, 2017, at 5:00 p.m. (EST).
On August 1, 2016, DOE released a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for $7 million to research fuel and engine co-optimization technologies. Funding will be provided through the Co-Optimization of Fuels and Engines (Co-Optima) initiative, a collaboration between DOE's Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) and Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO), bringing together national laboratories and industry to conduct tandem fuel and engine research, development, and deployment assessments. This initiative works to improve near-term conventional spark-ignition engine efficiency and enable full operability of advanced compression ignition engines. Research cycles include identifying fuel candidates, understanding their characteristics, and determining market transformation requirements. This FOA is restricted to U.S. Institutions of Higher Education and nonprofit research institutions operating under U.S. Institutions of Higher Education. Proposals should address one or more of the following sub-topics:
- Fuel characterization and fuel property prediction;
- Kinetic measurement and mechanism development;
- Emissions and environmental impact analysis;
- Impact of fuel chemistry and fuel properties on particulate emissions;
- Small-volume, high-throughput fuel testing; and
- Additional barriers.
Concept papers are due by August 15, 2016, at 5:00 p.m. (EDT), with full applications due on September 18, 2016, at 5:00 p.m. (EDT).
On June 23, 2016, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) requested proposals for "Reducing EMbodied energy And Decreasing Emissions (REMADE) in Materials Manufacturing." This funding opportunity is for the development of technologies that reduce life-cycle energy consumption and carbon emissions associated with the production and processing of industrial-scale materials. Up to $70 million is available through REMADE through 2020 with key focus areas including, but not limited to:
- Information collection, standardization, and design tools for tracking materials, reducing waste, and predicting how a process will work with secondary feedstocks or reused materials;
- Rapid gathering, identification, and sorting of end-of-life and waste materials;
- Separating mixed materials;
- Removal of trace contaminants; and
- Robust and cost-effective reprocessing and disposal methods.
More information is available through the funding opportunity announcement (FOA). Concept papers are due by July 28, 2016, at 5:00 pm (ET) and full applications are due by September 28, 2016, at 5:00 pm (ET).