Last Updated January 26, 2010
Biomass Research and Development (BR&DI)
Supporting research, development, and demonstrations on cost-effective ways to produce alternative fuels and chemicals from biomass resources
Authorized under section 9008 of the 2008 Farm Bill, the Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BR&DI) extends the program originally created under the Biomass Research and Development Act of 2000 and amended by the Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 2005.
This program provides competitive grants, contracts, and financial assistance to eligible entities to carry out research, development, and demonstration of biofuels and biobased products, and the methods, practices and technologies for their production.
Selected projects for the 2007 fiscal year were in four technical areas as mandated by EPAct 2005: feedstock production, technological development, product diversification, and technology analysis. (See BR&DI for specific technical area descriptions.)
- Texas Engineering Experimental Station was funded to demonstrate the commercial feasibility of anaerobic fermentation of biomass for the production of carboxylate salts and their conversion to keytones.
- Washington State University was funded to provide product diversification strategies for a new generation of biofuels and bio-products.
- Rutgers University was funded to develop a U.S. native grass breeding consortium to identify regional optimum biomass productivity on marginal lands and switchgrass performance in specific U.S. regions.
- Agrivida, Inc. was funded to study altered plant compositions for improved biofuel production. This will include analysis of rice straw, sorghum, and switchgrass performance in specific U.S. regions.
- The University of Florida was funded to address genetic engineering of sugarcane for increased fermentable sugar yield from hemicellulosic biomass in Florida.
Application and Financial Information
The Department of Agriculture's Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) and the DOE Office of Biomass Programs competitively award Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BR&DI) grants to eligible entities to research, develop, and demonstrate biomass projects. As amended by the 2008 Farm Bill, the three main Technical Areas are: (1) Feedstocks Development, (2) Biofuels & Biobased Products Development, and (3) Biofuels Development Analysis. This is a joint solicitation and DOE is managing the pre-application process.
All eligible applications are evaluated in a joint USDA/DOE technical merit review process, in addition to reviews by each agency based on cost and programmatic priorities. Only those applicants that have submitted a pre-application and received notification from the DOE inviting them to submit a full application will be allowed to submit a full application.
Applicants must clearly demonstrate the value chain element they intend to focus on and specify whether the project is conducting research or a demonstration. The value chain can be characterized as consisting of the following elements: feedstock development and growth; feedstock harvesting and preparation; feedstock logistics and transportation; feedstock storage and handling; biomass pre-processing (as appropriate); biomass conversion; production of biofuels/bioenergy/biobased products; product logistics and handling; and product delivery and distribution.
All projects should be planned and implemented in accordance with a life cycle point of view such that both direct and indirect environmental and economic impacts are considered.
The program expected to award up to $20 million in funds in FY 2009, $28 million in FY 2010, $30 million in FY 2011, and $40 million in FY 2012. An additional funding authorization of $35 million per year from FY 2009 through 2012 may become available for continuation of the program.
Eligibility, Uses, and Restrictions
Eligible applicants include institutions of higher learning, national laboratories, federal research agencies, private sector entities, nonprofit organizations, or consortia of two or more entities. Grants are awarded competitively based on technical merit and program priorities identified in the solicitation package. This solicitation requires a 20 percent minimum non-federal share of the total project cost.
Department of Energy
Phone: (410) 997-7778 ext. 223
USDA - CSREES
Phone: (202) 401-6443