Funding | USDA Expands Investments in Next-Generation Bioenergy Development

Feb. 26, 2015 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the availability of up to $8.7 million in funding for bioenergy research and education efforts as well as publishing the final rule for a program that provides incentives for farmers and forest landowners interested in growing and harvesting biomass for renewable energy. Both programs are made available through the 2014 Farm Bill. The Secretary made the announcements during remarks to the Growth Energy Executive Leadership Conference in Phoenix, Ariz.

“USDA’s support for innovative bioenergy research and education supports rural economic development, reduces carbon pollution and helps decrease our dependence on foreign energy,” said Vilsack. “These investments will keep America moving toward a clean energy economy and offer new jobs and opportunities in rural communities.”

USDA will publish the final rule on the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) in tomorrow’s Federal Register. BCAP provides up to $25 million each year in financial assistance to owners and operators of agricultural and non-industrial private forest land who wish to establish, produce, and deliver biomass feedstocks to a qualifying energy facility. The rule includes modifications to cost sharing, eligible types of biomass and other definitions. Stakeholders are encouraged to visit www.regulations.gov to review program details and provide comments during a 60-day public comment period. Comments are due by April 28, 2015. The full program will resume in 90 days on May 28, 2015. Additional information on application dates will be announced this spring. For more information on the program, visit the web at www.fsa.usda.gov/bcap and to learn more about the Farm Service Agency, visit www.fsa.usda.gov.

USDA is also taking applications for research and education grants through the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI). BRDI is a joint program through NIFA and the U.S. Energy Department (DOE) to develop economically and environmentally sustainable sources of renewable biomass, increase the availability of renewable fuels and biobased products to help replace the need for gasoline and diesel in vehicles, and diversify our energy portfolio.

Applicants seeking BRDI funding must propose projects that integrate science and engineering research in the following three areas: feedstock development; biofuels and biobased products development; and biofuels development analysis. Past projects include a grant to the Quad County Corn Cooperative in Galva, Iowa that is retrofitting an existing corn starch ethanol plant to add value to its byproducts, which will be marketed to the feed markets and to the biodiesel industry. Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. in Findlay, Ohio, is seeking to use remaining plant residue from the guayule shrub, which is used for rubber production, for use in biopower and for conversion to jet fuel precursors. The University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin, is developing closed-loop energy systems using dairy manure as source of fiber and fertilizer.

A description of the solicitation, eligibility requirements, and application instructions for the BRDI program can be found at http://www.grants.gov/ under Reference Number USDA-NIFA-9008-004957. Concept papers are due by March 27, 2015 and full applications are by July 27, 2015.

Both BCAP and BRDI were made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill, which builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past six years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for the taxpayer. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.

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: www.nifa.usda.gov.
DOE’s Biomass Program works with industry, academia, and national laboratory partners on a balanced portfolio of research in biomass feedstock and conversion technologies. For more information on DOE’s Biomass Program, please visit www.energy.gov/biomass.

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Funding | USDA AFRI, FY 2015 Agriculture and Natural Resources Science for Climate Variability and Change Challenge Area

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Competitive Grant Program

Agriculture and Natural Resources Science for Climate Variability and Change Challenge Area

AFRI is a competitive grant program to provide funding for fundamental and applied research, education, and extension projects in food and agricultural sciences. In this RFA, NIFA requests applications for AFRI Agriculture and Natural Resources Science for Climate Variability and Change (AFRI ANRCVC) Challenge Area Program for FY 2015. The goal of this program is to support research to facilitate the adaptation of 3 agroecosystems and natural resource systems to climate variability and the implementation of mitigation strategies in those systems. In FY 2015, applications are sought in the following priority areas:

  1. Climate and Microbial Processes in Agroecosystems;
  2. Climate Resilient Land Use for Agriculture and Forestry; or
  3. Synthesis and Assessment of USDA NIFA’s Climate Investments.

The amount available for support of this program in FY 2015 is approximately $5 million.

This notice identifies the objectives for ANRCVC projects, the eligibility criteria for projects and applicants, and the application forms and associated instructions needed to apply for an AFRI ANRCVC Challenge Area grant.

Letter of Intent Deadline: April 2, 2015
Application Deadline: June 4, 2015

 

View FY 2015 Request for Applications (PDF)

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Request for Applications (RFA)

Funding | USDA AFRI, FY 2015 Foundational Program

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Competitive Grant Program

Foundational Program

AFRI is a competitive grant program to provide funding for fundamental and applied research, education, and extension projects in food and agricultural sciences. In this RFA, NIFA requests applications for six AFRI priority areas through the Foundational Program for FY 2015. Because the global agricultural output needs to expand by at least 70 percent to meet the food needs of the population expected in 2050, it is imperative to 3 develop innovative, safe and sustainable management strategies for livestock, crops, and critical underlying resources. The goal of this program is to invest in agricultural production research, education, and extension projects for more sustainable, productive and economically viable plant and animal production systems.

In FY 2015, applications are sought in the following US agriculture priority areas:

  1. Plant health and production and plant products;
  2. Animal health and production and animal products;
  3. Food safety, nutrition, and health;
  4. Renewable energy, natural resources, and environment;
  5. Agriculture systems and technology;
  6. Agriculture economics and rural communities.

The amount available for support of this program in FY 2015 is approximately $116 million.

This notice identifies the objectives for AFRI Foundational Area projects, the eligibility criteria for projects and applicants, and the application forms and associated instructions needed to apply for an AFRI Foundational Area grant.

Deadlines: Varies, around mid-April, 2015

View FY 2015 Request for Applications (PDF)

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Request for Applications (RFA)

Ames Tribune | On 99-county tour, Ernst visits ISU Biorenewables Research Lab

Staff writer Gavin Aronsen reports that U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, toured Iowa State University’s Biorenewables Research Laboratory, complimenting the facility’s water quality and biofuels efforts but revealing little about her commitment to the lab’s climate change-related research. Read the article on the Ames Tribune Website (limited access)

Seminar | The Challenge of Creating a Low-Carbon Economy in the Age of Natural Gas

[PHOTO]Dr. Roger AinesDr. Roger Aines
Fuel Cycle Innovations Program Leader
E Programs, Global Security
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Feb. 19, 2015, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
Alliant Energy-Lee Liu Auditorium, Howe Hall

12:00 – 12:30 p.m, Lunch, Howe Hall ground-floor atrium
You must be preregistered to attend lunch

The US has entered an age of hydrocarbon abundance with oil production at 1970 levels and natural gas use expanding rapidly, replacing coal in power production. While this is providing an enormous economic stimulus to the US, it presents a challenge to in terms of motivating the adoption of technology that is more carbon-neutral than gas. Impacts are currently seen across the board in carbon capture and storage, and will be seen in renewable energy as well. In this talk, Aines will discuss the current US progress in carbon capture and storage (CCS), focusing on the Department of Energy programs in this area. Aines will incorporate the impacts of gas production, and his projections of the future of gas in this country and overseas, into a discussion of the most likely targets for developing new low-carbon technologies in this country. Finally, Aines will discuss the potential for truly zero- or negative-carbon technology, which will be needed in the 2030 to 2050 time frame given our current global carbon emission trends.

Roger Aines leads the development of carbon management technologies at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, working since 1984 in US national laboratory system. Aines’ work has spanned nuclear waste disposal, environmental remediation, applying stochastic methods to inversion and data fusion, managing carbon emissions and sequestration monitoring and verification methods. Aines takes an integrated view of the energy, climate, and environmental aspects of carbon-based fuel production and use. His current focus is on efficient ways to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and safer methods for producing environmentally clean fuel. He holds 13 patents and has authored more than 100 publications. Aines holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry from Carleton College, and Doctor of Philosophy in geochemistry from the California Institute of Technology. Aines can be contacted at (925) 423-7184 or aines1@llnl.gov.

Download a PDF flyer for the seminar.