Minnesota offers funding for bioenergy, biochemical pilot plants

By Erin Voegele | April 08, 2019

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is offering funding to help advance bioenergy and biochemical production technologies to the pilot scale through its Agricultural Growth, Research and Innovation Program Bioenergy/Biochemical Pilot Project Grant.

According to a request for proposals (RFP) issued in mid-March, the AGRI program aims to advance the state’s agriculture and renewable energy industries. The state’s Bioincentive Program is part of AGRI and is designed to encourage commercial-scale production of advanced biofuels, renewable chemicals, and biomass thermal energy through production incentive payments. In the RFP, the MDA also said hopes to encourage other technologies that would use Minnesota’s biomass resources as feedstock for renewable energy or chemical production. According to the MDA, Bioenergy/Biochemical Pilot Project Grant aims to advance new products and production methods from proof-of-concept to pilot scale as part of those efforts.

According to the RFP, applicants must be a Minnesota-based company, learning institution, local unit of government, Native American Tribal community, or individual. Eligible projects include innovative bioenergy or biochemical production ideas that have advanced beyond proof of concept and are scaling up to pilot-plant level.

The MDA expects to award a total of $150,000 in fiscal year 2019 under the program. Up to 50 percent of project costs can be covered by the grant program. The maximum award amount is set at $150,000, with the minimum award amount set at $2,500.

Funding must be used for equipment needed to achieve the goals of the project implementation or for wages, software, or other materials necessary for the project. All equipment must be installed in Minnesota.

Applications are due April 26, with winners expected to be selected in May. Additional information and a link to the full RFP are available on the MDA website