Released by Sam Brake, agricultural programs specialist, NCDA&CS – NC Bioenergy Research Initiative
The NC Bioenergy Research Initiative is seeking grant proposals focused on research and development of agricultural and forestry-based feedstocks for bioenergy production, Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler announced.
The NC General Assembly approved $1 million in funding for the 2016-2017 budget cycle. Nearly $74,000 has been committed to multi-year projects that were started with the 2015-2016 grant cycle, leaving over $926,000 for new and existing projects.
The grants are designed to focus on projects that boost energy production from North Carolina agricultural and forestry products, offer new opportunities for agribusiness development and support cooperative research for bioenergy production.
“Agriculture and agribusiness remains our leading industry in part because it has diversified, adapted and expanded to meet growing consumer needs,” Troxler said. “Research has created new opportunities along the way, and we will continue to look to research as we work to grow our state’s agriculture and forestry industries.”
Projects can focus on production and harvesting methods and plant variety work, including genetic improvement and selection; establishment methods; weed management; nutrient uptake, usage and removal; harvest management such as methods, timing, transporting and storage; stand management such as renovation for productivity, planting dates, crop management and eradication when necessary; physiology, growth and development of biomass energy crops; new species with bioenergy potential; multiple crop production practices such as crop rotation, double cropping and intercropping; establishing short-rotation wood crops in a clear-cut environment; and education and demonstration.
Previous year recipients included 12 projects, including these:
- $61,123 to NC State University’s Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering for the second year of its study of fertilization rates and yield response of the giant reed Arundo donax. The project will focus on collecting field data needed to establish realistic yield expectations and nitrogen fertilization rates under various state growing conditions.
- $40,652 to the NCSU Department of Forestry for a “Loblolly Pine Biomass Genetics/Cropping Study, Years Three – Five.” The project will continue genetic evaluation of loblolly pine varieties with high potential as an energy source.
- $34,111 to the NCSU Clean Energy Technology Center for “The North Carolina Bioenergy Council and Bioenergy Roadmap.” Funding will provide the opportunity for further discussion of bioenergy related topics including research, policies, and other issues related to the bioenergy industry in NC.
- $100,000 to the NCSU Department of Soil Science for a project titled, “Nutrient Dynamics and Production of Bioenergy Crops in Swine Effluent Sprayfields, 2015-2016.” Funding will continue research on the nutrient requirements and uptake of proposed biomass crops grown in a sprayfield environment.
- $95,681 to the NCSU Department of Crop Science for the project “Optimizing Bioenergy Yield and Supply.” The purpose of the project is to determine the agronomic effects of harvest frequency and timing on dedicated bioenergy grasses.
- $98,640 to Carolina Land & Lakes RC&D for the development of “Pellets for Pullets.” This expands a previously funded project into areas of the state with a higher concentration of broiler production. Wood-pellet heating systems have been shown to offer cost savings, reduction in moisture and fossil fuel by-products and delivery of a better product to market, while utilizing a renewable domestic fuel.
- $69,793 to the NCSU Department of Soil Science to study the “Suitability of NC Piedmont Soils for Bioenergy Crop Production, 2015-2017.” This project will investigate the potential conversion of land to bioenergy crops with an emphasis on how soil biochemical and physical properties will be impacted.
Individual applications should not exceed $150,000 in direct funding from the grant program. Project coordinators can submit multiple applications if there are enough differences in the proposed projects to warrant separate consideration.
For a grant application or more information, contact Allison Medlin with the NC Bioenergy Research Initiative at 919.693.2483 or go to www.ncagr.gov/bioenergy/2017GrantProgram.htm.
Application deadline is September 30, 2016.