Obama’s 2013 US Budget: what’s in there for the bioeconomy?

February 14, 2012 |

In Washington, the Obama Administration released its 2013 budget request. Highlights for bio-based industry include:

Department of Agriculture

“The Administration proposes over $200 million to continue support for the development of home- grown, advanced biofuels that have the potential to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil and to bolster our rural economies.

R&D

The budgets maintains “the President’s commitment to double the budgets of three key basic research agencies: the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s)Office of Science, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) labs. Basic research has been America’s great strength, creating whole new industries and jobs. Within these agencies, funds will be focused on basic research directed at priority areas, such as clean energy technologies, the bio-economy, advanced manufacturing technologies, “smart” infrastructure, wireless communications, and cybersecurity.

National Infrastructure Bank

“The President has called for the creation of an independent, non-partisan National Infrastructure Bank (NIB), led by infrastructure and financial experts. The NIB would offer broad eligibility and merit-based selection for large-scale ($100 million minimum) transportation, water, and energy infrastructure projects. Projects would have a clear public benefit, meet rigorous economic, technical and environmental standards, and be backed by a dedicated revenue stream. Geographic, sector, and size considerations would also be taken into account. The NIB would issue loans and loan guarantees to eligible projects. Loans issued by the NIB could be ex- tended up to 35 years.”

Department of Energy

The budget “Increases funding for applied research, development, and demonstration in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The Budget also maintains and expands funding for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy. It increases funding for the development of the next generation of advanced vehicles and biofuels.  The Budget includes funding to maintain and expand the deployment of new models of energy research pioneered in the last several years, including $350 million for the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy, a program that seeks to fund transformative energy research.

National Science Foundation

The budget “provides $7.4 billion for the National Science Foundation, which is $340 million above the 2012 enacted level. Investments are made in research priorities and savings of $66 million are realized through terminations and reductions in lower-priority programs. It fosters the development of a clean energy economy by providing $203 million for a cross- agency sustainability research effort focused on renewable energy technologies and complex environmental- and climate-system processes.

Bio-economy

“To encourage interdisciplinary research for a future bio-economy, the Budget provides $30 million for innovative proposals at the interface of biology, mathematics, the physical sciences, and engineering.”

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