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Small Business Bioenergy Technologies Increasing Community Partnerships


a.      Small Business Bioenergy Technologies Increasing Community Partnerships

This subtopic encourages submission of innovative research proposals from bioenergy small businesses to develop a community-scale preliminary design package of their products and/or processes and engage community stakeholders to assess desirability and feasibility of the small business’ proposed design.


Bioenergy feedstock development and deployment can strengthen economic growth, national energy security, and environmental benefits through optimizing domestic biomass resources to produce biofuels, bioproducts, and biopower. Public perception and knowledge of bioenergy is highly variable [1], so despite the benefits, local communities may be unaware or uncertain about the available opportunities. Bioenergy small businesses are uniquely positioned to develop community-scale technologies and technological processes. Examples include small-scale solutions to recover nutrients and energy from waste, such as urban food waste; use of energy crops on marginal lands to manage fertilizer runoff; or use of algae to abate costs of wastewater treatment.


The preliminary design package should include identification and siting of appropriate feedstock(s), lab-scale testing of potential feedstock(s), relevant products (biofuel, bioproducts, and/or biopower), outreach to potential community stakeholder partner(s), and an education and outreach plan for the community, based on the bioenergy project.


Proposers are strongly encouraged to develop partnerships with local stakeholders in underserved communities such as those within Federally-designated Opportunity Zones [2]. Community stakeholders could include schools, hospitals, local restaurants and other businesses, non-profits, local government, or other local organizations. Applicants that propose partnerships with entities that operate at higher levels, like state or regional, should emphasize how their project will deliver measurable impact at the community level.


Appropriate projects could include, but are not limited to, a preliminary design package proposing:

·         A conversion process treating local sources of biomass.

·         Opportunities for use of the resulting product or products within the community.

·         Cultivating energy crops to reduce fertilizer runoff to improve local water quality.

·         Integration of the small business’ technologies into complementary, existing local infrastructure.

·         Small business’ processes’ ability to meet local regulatory needs (e.g., recycling rates or waste diversion goals).

·         Replicability of the process in other communities.


Applications must:

·         meaningfully include plans/methodology for local stakeholders’ input in the development of their preliminary design package.

·         include an education and outreach plan to demonstrate the planned benefits for the community.


Applications that propose the following will not be considered for award under this subtopic:

·         Use versions of technologies that already exist at the community scale.


The main objective of a Phase I award is developing a preliminary design package of their technology, product, or process deployed at the community scale and derived from stakeholder input. In Phase I the majority of research emphasis is placed on evaluating and testing unknowns of integrating the technology at the community scale with their specific stakeholder group(s) rather than on developing a new technology. Some unknowns include technology performance parameters to better support the local economy and public acceptance of the technology.


Phase II of this topic involves deployment of the proposed technology into the community at a pilot scale.


Questions – Contact: Devinn Lambert,


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