As part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), entitled, “Inflation Reduction Act Funding for Advanced Biofuels,” for up to $9.4 million for the development of advanced biofuels.  This investment through a new agreement between EPA and DOE is funded by President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act and will support high-impact biofuel technology projects to improve the performance and reduce the cost of biofuel production technologies, scale up production systems in partnership with industry, and accelerate the nation’s bioeconomy. Advancing renewable and sustainable energy sources is essential to achieving the Biden-Harris Administration’s ambitious clean energy and climate goals. 

“Investing in bioenergy technologies provides a path forward to meet the growing demand for sustainable aviation fuel and other low-carbon biofuels,” said Jeff Marootian, U.S. Department of Energy Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. “This joint DOE and EPA investment in a clean energy future is a great example of interagency partnership to further President Biden’s whole-of-government approach to tackling the climate crisis.”

“EPA is proud to partner with DOE in setting up this funding to advance President Biden’s Investing in America agenda” said Joseph Goffman, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “This investment through the Inflation Reduction Act will spur innovation in the production of advanced biofuels, advancing this Administration’s goal to build a stronger clean energy economy.”

Biofuels are liquid fuels produced from renewable biological sources, including plants and algae. When responsibly sourced, biofuel production in the U.S. can help strengthen the rural economy, reduce our reliance on foreign sources of oil, and support domestic production of cleaner fuels that can reduce some undesirable environmental impacts of fossil fuel production and use.

The FOA includes up to $9.4 million in federal funding to achieve the above outcomes by supporting two Topic Areas focusing on research and development (R&D) to advance technologies from the bench scale to pilot scale:

  • Topic Area 1: Pre-Pilot Scale Up of Integrated Biorefinery Technologies
    Topic Area 1 will support the development of scaling up key process step(s) already developed at the bench-top scale. The funding opportunity would require the verification of the work at the bench-top scale, and then support the development of the process step(s) at the pilot-scale. Work would entail designing and building the pilot-scale process step(s) and then performing an operational test. The proposed key step(s) are not required to comprise a fully integrated pilot scale unit by the end of the project, but rather can be utilized to support future integration of the entire process at pilot or demonstration scale.
     
  • Topic Area 2: Biointermediate Processing Toolbox 
    Topic Area 2 will support the development and pilot-scale testing of key technology innovations for processing biointermediates, which are feedstocks that have been partially converted at one facility but are then sent to a separate facility for their final processing into a renewable fuel; for example, co-processing biocrudes in legacy petroleum refinery infrastructure. Work would entail employing a technology feature to improve biointermediate processing, and then performing a pilot-scale operational test, along with employing a method to measure the biogenic carbon in the co-processed fuel if the biointermediate is co-processed with petroleum. 

    DOE's Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) has supported enabling work at DOE national laboratories on biocarbon incorporation into transportation fuels via co-processing in refineries and recently provided a public Two-Day Webinar Series on the work.

Domestic businesses, educational institutions, and nonprofits are eligible to apply for the funding, which will be administered by BETO. FOA applicants will be required to explain how their proposed project meets EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) definition of an advanced biofuel. DOE envisions awarding one or more financial assistance awards in the form of cooperative agreements lasting approximately 36 months. The FOA concept paper deadline is 5:00 p.m. (ET) on March 22, 2024, and full applications are due at 5:00 p.m. (ET) on May 24, 2024. Learn more about and view the full FOA on DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) exchange to register and apply. The solicitation with additional information on applicant eligibility is also available on Grants.gov. Go to BETO’s funding announcement page for other upcoming funding opportunities.

Informational Webinar

An informational webinar for potential applicants will be held on Monday, March 4, 2024, at 3:00 p.m. ET, where participants can hear about the objectives and requirements of the funding opportunity. Panelists will give a presentation on the topic areas and application process. The webinar will be recorded, and the recording will be available shortly afterwards on the FOA landing page. The webinar is optional, and attendance is not a requirement to submit a concept paper. Register today!

Teaming Partner List

BETO has compiled a Teaming Partner List to encourage collaboration and facilitate the formation of project teams. The list allows organizations wishing to apply for funding to explore partnering with other prospective applicants. Partnerships can provide additional expertise and resources to successfully meet FOA goals. 

Please include the following information in your partner list submission:

  • Topic Field - Please select ONE of the following topics from the above topic fields. If you would like to be included in partner lists for both topics, please complete two separate submissions.
  • Background, Interests, Capabilities Field - Please include information about your organization type/characteristics in the “Background, Interest, Capabilities” field to help other participants identify your expertise and resources. BETO also seeks applications from diverse teams of minority-serving institutions (MSIs), including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Minority Business Enterprises, Minority-Owned Businesses, Woman-Owned Businesses, Veteran-Owned Businesses, and tribal entities); workforce education and training providers; and labor organizations.

Any organization that would like to be included on this list should submit information via the Teaming Partner List on EERE Exchange. 

Disclaimer: By submitting a request to be included on the Teaming Partner List, the requesting organization consents to the publication of the above-referenced information. By enabling and publishing the Teaming Partner List, EERE is not endorsing, sponsoring, or otherwise evaluating the qualifications of the individuals and organizations that are self-identifying themselves for placement on this Teaming Partner List. EERE will not pay for the provision of any information, nor will it compensate any applicants or requesting organizations for the development of such information.

Technology Verification

All applications selected for award negotiations under this FOA are required to participate in a verification process led by DOE’s identified external third-party non-conflicted verification team. This verification process provides technical assistance both the DOE BETO and the project by providing an in-depth analysis of key technical and economic metrics to ensure transparency and increase the likelihood of project success.

About the EPA Renewable Fuel Standard Program

Implemented by EPA, the RFS program is a national regulatory program created by Congress with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions along with expanding the nation’s renewable fuels sector while reducing reliance on imported oil. The program requires a certain volume of renewable fuel to replace or reduce the quantity of petroleum-based transportation fuel, heating oil, or jet fuel. The four categories of commonly used renewable fuels are: biomass-based diesel, cellulosic biofuel, advanced biofuel and total renewable fuel. Learn more about EPA’s RFS Program

R&D Community Benefits Plan

To support the goal of building a clean and equitable energy economy, IRA-funded projects are expected to (1) invest in America’s workforce; (2) advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility; and (3) contribute to the President’s goal that 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities. To ensure these goals are met, applications must include an R&D Community Benefits Plan that describes how the proposed project would incorporate the three objectives stated above. BETO has recently supported enabling work at the DOE national laboratories to develop tools and processes for considering energy equity and environmental justice in biorefinery siting. The projects include “Energy Equity in the Transition to Renewables: The Bioenergy Case,” “Bio-C2G Model for Rapid, Agile Assessment of Biofuel and Co-product Routes,” and “Strategic Analysis Support.”