NIFA’s Bioproduct Pilot Program seeks to study the benefits of using materials derived from covered agricultural commodities for manufacture of construction and consumer products.
This new program, which is authorized under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, directs the USDA to partner with no less than one qualified institution to support the scale-up of sustainable bioproduct manufacturing, with the goal of providing a low-cost alternative to conventional products. A total of $5 million is available for each of FY2022 and FY2023.
In collaboration with USDA Rural Development’s BioPreferred program, NIFA will be seeking research proposals that explore the benefits of bioproducts in relation to their:
- Cost savings relative to other commonly used alternative materials;
- Greenhouse gas emission reductions and other environmental benefits relative to their commonly used alternative materials;
- Lifecycle and longevity-extending characteristics relative to other commonly used alternative materials;
- Lifecycle and longevity-reducing characteristics relative to other commonly used alternative materials;
- Landfill quantity and waste management cost reductions;
- Product development and production scale-up; and
- Any other benefits that the Secretary determines to be appropriate.
NIFA’s Bioproduct Pilot Program presents a unique opportunity to spur economic activity in the nation’s rural areas while lowering commercialization risks associated with bringing biobased products to market.
The pilot program’s exploration into the viability of bioproducts also helps to further USDA’s departmentwide effort to develop a more circular economy, where finite resources are not just extracted and consumed but also regenerated in a sustainable manner. Adopting a more circular economy ensures that wealth and other economic benefits in the form of jobs and other opportunities are created — and stay in — rural communities.
Definitions and Other Details
Construction product: any article, or component part thereof, produced or distributed for use during the construction, maintenance, or preservation of a highway, road, street, bridge, building, dam, port, or airport construction project.
Consumer product: any article, or component part thereof, produced or distributed:
- for sale to a consumer for use in or around a permanent or temporary household or residence, a school, in recreation, or otherwise; or
- for the personal use, consumption, or enjoyment of a consumer in or around a permanent or temporary household or residence, a school, in recreation, or otherwise; and
A consumer product is also defined as any product or product category described in subparagraphs (A) through (I) of section 3(a)(5) of the Consumer Product Safety Act (15 U.S.C. 2052(a)(5)).
Covered agricultural commodity: any agricultural commodity, food, feed, fiber, livestock, oil, or a derivative thereof, that the Secretary determines to have been used in the production of materials that have demonstrated market viability and benefits (as described in paragraphs (1) through (7) of subsection (b)) as of the date of enactment of this Act.
Qualified institution: a bioproducts research facility that:
- is funded, in part, by a state;
- is located within a reasonable distance, not to exceed three miles, of the primary residence hall of an institution of higher education (as defined in section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001(a)));
- provides students opportunities to engage in research activities; and
- provides opportunities for an institution of higher education (as defined in section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001(a))) to collaborate with private enterprise.
Your Opinion Matters
NIFA sought public input on the pilot program during a public comment period that ended on May 5. This feedback was accepted via email to REE-NIFA-BioproductPilotProgram@usda.gov and also through a listening session that took place on April 28. The input is being used to help shape the program’s Request for Applications.
Visit the Listening Session event page to watch the webinar and access the slide presentation.
The Bioproduct Pilot Program is being led by the Bioenergy division of NIFA’s Institute of Bioenergy, Climate and Environment.