NIFA offers $9.6m for new bioeconomy products

Funding for projects to support development of new bio-based products from crops, trees and waste materials from farmland and forests.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food & Agriculture (NIFA) announced $9.6 million in available funding for projects to support the development of new bio-based products and biomaterials from renewable sources such as crops, trees and waste materials from farmland and forests. Funding is made through NIFA’s Agriculture & Food Research Initiative (AFRI), which was authorized by the 2014 farm bill.

“Rural America has the potential to be the economic powerhouse through biofuels and bio-based products,” NIFA director Sonny Ramaswamy said. “NIFA investments in research and development help to create new economic opportunities in rural communities, protect the environment and reduce U.S. dependence on foreign energy.”

AFRI is America’s flagship competitive grants programs for addressing critical societal issues through the food and agricultural sciences. The AFRI Sustainable Bioenergy & Bioproducts Challenge Area supports projects that lead to the commercial production at scale of bio-based products such as biochemicals, biomaterials and products that replace fossil carbon-based products. This challenge area supports three types of projects: research, education or extension projects; integrated projects, and food and agricultural science enhancement grants.

Applications may only be submitted by eligible entities. Eligibility is linked to the project type.

The deadline for applications is June 28, 2017.

See the request for applications for details.

Among previously funded projects, a Cornell University (external link) project is helping teachers introduce students to the bioenergy and bioproducts systems being developed in the northeastern U.S.

In November 2016, Alaska Airlines landed the first commercial flight powered, in part, by a new renewable fuel made of wood waste, a fuel developed through NIFA support to Washington State University and the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA). Launched in 2011, NARA has advanced research into biofuels and biochemicals, fostered the Northwest regional biofuel industry and helped educate tomorrow’s workforce on renewable energy.

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