Posted June 2, 2010, at 4:21 p.m. CST – The U.S. DOE on June 2 announced $5 million in funding for research focused on sustainable production of large quantities of nonfood biomass for bioenergy. The intent of this Funding Opportunity Announcement is to quantify and understand the environmental impacts of different strategies for producing large quantities of energy crops and other crop residues at the watershed scale. This is part of DOE’s commitment to expanding domestic bioenergy without negatively impacting environmental quality, biodiversity, and the availability of food, feed, fiber and water.

Biomass will play a significant role in a renewable energy future, especially for the production of liquid transportation fuels, as well as biopower and bioproducts. America’s vast agricultural and forest lands have the potential to produce a wide variety of biomass feedstocks, all of which must be grown and harvested sustainably without adverse impacts or long-term cumulative effects. The lack of reliable environmental data at the watershed scale for high-yielding energy crops and other feedstocks removed from the landscape to ascertain the sustainability of these production systems is a critical barrier to achieving a robust biofuel and biopower industry. Furthermore, there is not adequate information and tools for implementing and managing sustainable high-yield energy crops across the landscape.

Through this FOA, DOE seeks projects that will result in a better understanding of how to design and implement sustainable energy crop production systems at the watershed scale. Selected projects are also required to provide a model or set of tools to assist in the sustainable implementation of production systems at the watershed scale within a broadly defined region of the country.

The complete FOA can be viewed at the website. The expected close date of this announcement is July 16.