Getting Money to Survive and Thrive – Federal Programs and Resources Available to Support the Bioeconomy

April 20, 2020 |

Pre- Commercial/Demonstration Scale Development

This phase includes the construction of demonstration plant/facility to validate an industrial process for commercialization.  Demonstration plants are used to prove a process will work at industrial scale and is financially viable for the intended industry. These plants/facilities produce sufficient quantities of the off-take product for determining the viability of the off-take for commercial scale production.

In the past this phase of development known to some as the “Valley of Death” has resulted in numerous innovative technologies /concepts not being able to progress to the commercial scale phase due to lack of financial resources to support the development of the demonstration plan/facility.

Several federal programs depending on the type of innovative technology /concept can provide financial assistance in the form of grants, seed capital, and other forms of technical assistance including cooperative agreements, partnerships, and utilization of federal owned facilities.  These programs, along with other private sector funding, contribute to the potential success of an innovative technology/concept successfully graduating from this phase of development.

USDA and DOE Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI) Program

This program as described above in the Research and Development section can provide grant funds for demonstration scale projects. See above for eligible purposes funding availability information.

National Science Foundation I-Corp Program (ICAP)

The purpose of the NSF I-Corps program is to identify NSF-funded researchers who will receive additional support – in the form of mentoring and funding – to accelerate the translation of knowledge derived from fundamental research into emerging products and services that can attract subsequent third-party funding.

The purpose of the NSF I-Corps grant is to give the project team access to resources to help determine the readiness to transition technology developed by previously-funded or currently-funded NSF projects.  The outcome of the I-Corps projects will be threefold:

  • a clear go/no go decision regarding viability of products and services
  • should the decision be to move the effort forward, a transition plan to do so
  • a technology demonstration for potential partners.

Numerous funding opportunities are available depending on the nature of the project.

More information here.

DOE Advanced Research Projects Agency- Energy (ARPA-E) Seed Funding

ARPA-E advances high-potential, high-impact energy technologies that are too early for private-sector investment. ARPA-E awardees are unique because they are developing entirely new ways to generate, store, and use energy. ARPA-E empowers America’s energy researchers with funding, technical assistance, and market readiness.

ARPA-E issues periodic Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs), which are focused on overcoming specific technical barriers around a specific energy area. ARPA-E also issues periodic OPEN FOAs to identify high-potential projects that address the full range of energy-related technologies, as well as funding solicitations aimed at supporting America’s small business innovators.

More information here.

USDA Agriculture Research Service (ARS)Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts

Interagency Reimbursement Agreement

ARS research is organized into National Programs. These programs serve to bring coordination, communication, and empowerment to approximately 690 research projects carried out by ARS. The National Programs focus on the relevance, impact, and quality of ARS research.

More information here.

The Bioenergy Research Unit (BER) conducts a broad-based program of microbial, biochemical, genetic, and fermentation engineering research that is international in scope and importance addressing national research needs for new environmentally acceptable agricultural practices and value-added products. The overall mission of the BER research program is to develop bioproducts and bioprocesses for conversion of agricultural commodities into biofuels and chemicals, enzymes, and polymers.

There are a variety of agreements and tools that enable Federal agencies to cooperate with other Federal and non-Federal entities, including industrial for-profit organizations. They also enable the protection, where necessary, of new knowledge and scientific/technical information from public disclosure, including the intellectual property interests of collaborating parties.

Federal agencies may use technology transfer agreements to share, exchange, transfer, obtain and/or use, information, expertise, facilities, and materials with other entities. Such agreements include:

  • Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA)
  • Facility Use/Service Agreement (FUSA)
  • License Agreement (LA)
  • Material Transfer Agreement (MTA)
  • Technical Assistance Agreement (TAA)

DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF)

ESIF provides a unique contained and controlled platform on which partners can identify and resolve the technical, operational, and financial risks of integrating emerging energy technologies into today’s environment. ESIF offers numerous facilities and laboratories interconnected by shared research infrastructure.

More information here.

NREL resources are available through technology partnership agreements.

More information here.

Continue reading on the next page for commercial scale development programs and resources.

3 of 4
Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Thought Leadership

Thank you for visting the Digest.