California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) 

Biomass and Conversion Technologies

Federal Funding Opportunities

CalRecycle has targeted specific external sources of grant monies in order to focus on projects that will further common organic materials management objectives, particularly in the areas of waste prevention and market development. This page includes information on federal funding sources from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Western Regional Biomass Energy Program (WRBEP)

The Western Regional Biomass Energy Program (WRBEP) is one of five Regional Biomass Energy Programs established and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Thirteen states participate in WRBEP, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. This program funds research projects of direct interest to California’s conversion technology program.

The goal of the Western Regional Biomass Energy Program is to increase the production and use of biomass energy resources for economic development and environmental sustainability. The Western Regional Biomass Energy Program has close affiliations with the U.S. Department of Energy's Offices of Utility and Transportation Technologies. This affiliation places special emphasis on the primary goals of each of these offices which are, respectively, to establish "biomass power as an economically credible and attractive option" for the electric power industry and to decrease the "reliance on imported fuels by the transportation sector." Biomass is defined as renewable organic materials, such as forestry and agricultural crops and residues; wood and food processing wastes; and municipal solid waste.

Program objectives emphasized in their most recent funding cycle include encouraging and developing biomass energy activities, projects, and technologies as listed below. CalRecycle areas of research interest are marked with an asterisk (*).

  • Confined animals—dairies, poultry, and feedlots.
  • Food wastes—cheese and other food processing waste.
  • Conversion of cellulose to ethanol; cellulase; and increasing the value of ethanol by-products and co-products.*
  • Environmental externalities, carbon sequestration, and/or nonenergy benefit.
  • Agricultural waste and forest thinnings-to-energy.*
  • Improvements in economics and/or efficiencies.*
  • Utility deregulation and/or green power.
  • Biodiesel from domestic feedstocks. *
  • Municipal solid waste-to-energy.*
  • Small power, distributed generation, gasification, hybrid, and related technologies.*
  • Assessments of available sugar or starch waste streams from sugar production, sugar products and soft drinks, fruit and fruit products, brewing, and pharmaceuticals.
  • Biomass-derived thermal and industrial processes.
  • Biomass workshops and training targeted to specific sectors.*

Funding for fiscal year 2001 was $300,000. Typical funding was $50,000 per project with $75,000 or more allocated for exceptional projects.

Biomass Research & Development Initiative

The Biomass Research & Development Initiative is the multifederal agency effort to coordinate and accelerate all federal bio-based products and bioenergy research and development. The federal agencies included under this initiative are:

  • U.S. Department of Energy
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • National Science Foundation
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Department of the Interior
  • Office of Science and Technology Policy
  • Department of Commerce
  • Office of the Federal Environmental Executive
  • Office of Management and Budget
  • Department of the Treasury
  • Tennessee Valley Authority

The web page serves as a clearinghouse for all activities undertaken by these agencies concerning bio-based products and bioenergy, including research. The web page announces the availability of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) funds and solicits applications for financial assistance addressing research, development, and demonstration of biomass based products, bioenergy, biofuels, biopower, and related processes.

Because of the size and diversity of these federal agencies, a very wide range of bio-based product and bioenergy research has been funded. Several of the federal agencies that comprise the Biomass Initiative could provide grant or contract research funding for CalRecycle conversion technology research.

Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

The DOE has established the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). Its mission is to strengthen America's energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality in public-private partnerships that:

  • Enhance energy efficiency and productivity.
  • Bring clean, reliable, and affordable energy technologies to the marketplace.
  • Make a difference in the everyday lives of Americans by enhancing their energy choices and their quality of life.

Much of the funding available to EERE is distributed to private firms, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, state and local governments, Native American organizations, and individuals through competitive solicitations. EERE is strongly committed to partnerships to help ensure the eventual market acceptance of the technologies being developed.

EERE and its national laboratories conduct competitive procurements through a variety of procurement offices. DOE's Seattle Regional Office also publishes a monthly compilation of solicitations relating to energy efficiency, renewable energy, and sustainable development.

Golden Field Office—U.S. Department of Energy

The Golden Field Office works to bring renewable energy resources, such as wind and solar power, to the world. As the primary field agent for the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Golden builds partnerships with the private sector to develop and transfer energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.

The Golden Field Office is an organization within the Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). Golden, in conjunction with EERE's six Regional Offices, works directly with industry, academia, states, and local governments in partnerships to further the development and commercialization of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. This site will assist organizations in conducting business with Golden and the regional offices.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is DOE's premier laboratory for renewable energy research, development, and deployment, and a leading laboratory for energy efficiency. As such, NREL is a world leader in the development of these technologies, benefiting both the environment and the economy.

NREL maintains a webpage where you can find the latest information on solicitations and requests for proposals.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

The Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is a multi-program science and technology laboratory managed for DOE by UT-Battelle, LLC. Scientists and engineers at ORNL conduct basic and applied research and development to create scientific knowledge and technological solutions in key areas of science; increase the availability of clean, abundant energy; restore and protect the environment; and contribute to national security.

ORNL also performs other work for DOE, including isotope production, information management, technical program management, and research and technical assistance to other organizations.

ONRL has developed the Bioenergy Feedstock Development Programs to research, develop and demonstrate environmentally acceptable crops and cropping systems for producing large quantities of low-cost, high-quality biomass feedstocks.

Government Partnership Programs Office (GPPO)

The Government Partnership Programs Office (GPPO) functions within the technology transfer and economic development organization of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and serves an important program management function for both industry and ORNL research organizations. The GPPO coordinates ORNL's participation with private-sector entities seeking to build collaborative research partnerships with government funding.

Advanced Manufacturing Office

“The Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) supports R&D projects, R&D consortia, and early-stage technical partnerships with national laboratories, companies (for-profit and not-for profit), research institutions, and universities through competitive, merit reviewed funding opportunities designed to investigate novel manufacturing technologies.

AMO's R&D projects explore novel energy-efficient, next-generation materials and innovative process technologies for both specific industry sectors and a wider range of manufacturing industries. AMO's R&D projects also pursue foundational or advanced energy technologies for multiple industry sectors. All of AMO's R&D investments have high impact, use project diversity to spread risk, target nationally important innovations at critical decision points, and contribute to quantifiable energy savings.

Official notices of solicitations. To view all current solicitations for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, see the Solicitations for Business, Industry and Universities page. This list is for information only—it may not be inclusive of all solicitations. Funding amounts and schedule dates are subject to change.”

Office of Power Technologies

The Office of Power Technologies (OPT) is part of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) at DOE. OPT’s mission is to develop clean, competitive, and reliable power technologies for the 21st century, including renewable energy (solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass), energy storage, hydrogen, and superconductors. OPT works to address the technological and institutional constraints that delay the adoption of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies worldwide. OPT’s Fiscal Year 2001 budget is $350 million, with $40 million going to biomass research.

OPT maintains a current solicitations page designed to help states, individuals, and businesses partner with DOE and other agencies of the federal government. The listing does not represent all financial offerings available from all federal agencies. Information is not provided on previous research awarded.

OPT participates in the annual EERE broad-based competitive solicitation for applications for financial assistance in the areas of information dissemination, public outreach, training, and related technical analysis and technical assistance activities relating to renewable energy and energy efficiency. Applications received in response to the solicitation are subjected to an objective merit review process. The Federal Register notice is released in early November. Applications are due on staggered closing dates during January and February.

Biomass Power Program

The Biomass Power Program is part of the Office of Power Technologies (OPT), which is in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). The Biomass Power Program webpage is, by far, DOE’s most comprehensive resource devoted to biopower (renewable power from plant material). In addition to the information on biomass and biopower, the webpage devotes sections to research and development activities conducted at DOE and includes an RFP/solicitations webpage.

The R&D webpage lists biomass/biopower research activities of DOE’s four national labs: National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratory, and the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). NREL and ORNL have been reviewed above and NETL will be discussed below.

The Biomass Power Program RPF/solicitations page principally lists the solicitation page of EERE (which links to most all solicitation sites described above). As such, there is no new information on grant or contract funding at this webpage.

The project page presents very good information on the development and status of innovative electrical generation demonstration systems that are the result of cost-share funding from the Biomass Power Program and private biopower developers. This type of information will help potential researchers/applicants understand the type of research the Biomass Power Program is interested in funding.

Also of note, the benefits page provides a description of NREL’s life cycle assessment (LCA) research. NREL objective is to perform LCA research to provide direction, focus, and support to the development and commercialization of various technologies being developed by DOE. LCA studies have been conducted on a biomass gasification combined-cycle system, three coal-fired power plant systems, a biomass/coal co-firing system, a direct-fired biomass boiler system, a natural gas combined-cycle power plant, and steam methane reforming for hydrogen production. LCA studies of wind electrolysis, distributed and small-scale biomass systems, and anaerobic digestion are planned for the near future.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information

DOE’s Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the digital national library for energy information collected from DOE's decentralized scientific and technical information infrastructure. The Biopower Energy Systems portal describes research covering the entire cycle—growing, harvesting, and converting renewable resources into solid fuel or liquid or gaseous forms for electric power, heat, or cooling. The Biopower Energy Systems portal is updated biweekly.

For More Information

Do you have questions? For more information about the above information or funding opportunities in general, contact Ronald Lew at (916) 341-6592 or email

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Last updated: January 28, 2004
Conversion Technologies