Subject to annual appropriations, USDA and DOE plan to contribute up to $35 million over three years for this year's BRDI solicitation. This funding is expected to support five to seven projects over three to four years. A description of the solicitation, eligibility requirements, and application instructions is available at https://www.fedconnect.net/ and http://www.grants.gov/under Reference Number DE-FOA-0000657. Applications are due April 23, 2012, and must be submitted electronically. It is anticipated that applicants who submit completed applications will be notified of the results by June 15, 2012.

In addition to the funding announced today by USDA and DOE, the Obama Administration is taking a number of aggressive steps to support the growth of robust renewable energy and biobased markets in the U.S.

For example, in August 2011, the President announced that USDA, DOE and the Navy are investing up to $510 million during the next three years in partnership with the private sector to produce advanced drop-in aviation and marine biofuels to power military and commercial transportation. The initiative supports the President's Blueprint for A Secure Energy Future, the Administration's framework for reducing America's dependence on foreign oil.

On Feb. 21, President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum directing the federal government to take decisive steps to dramatically increase the purchase of biobased products over the next two years. Biobased products include items like paints, soaps and detergents and are developed from farm-grown plants, rather than chemicals or petroleum bases. The biobased products sector marries the two most important economic engines for rural America: agriculture and manufacturing. To support these efforts, USDA created the BioPreferred program to promote the increased purchase and use of biobased products. Last year, USDA released the USDA Certified Biobased Product label to assure consumers that a product or package contains a verified amount of renewable biological ingredients.

Grants awards and national program leadership for the BRDI program will be administered by USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

Through federal funding and leadership for research, education and extension programs, NIFA focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people's daily lives and the nation's future. More information is available at: www.nifa.usda.gov.

The Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) accelerates development and facilitates deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality. Learn more about EERE's work with industry, academia and national laboratory partners on a balanced portfolio of research in biomass feedstocks and conversion technologies.