There are many types of bioeconomy projects seeking federal and state funding. Funding requests also come at different stages – during research and development, in the demonstration/pre-commercial phase, and in commercial scale projects. These state and federal funding opportunities normally fall within one of the following three categories:
- A government grant is a financial award given by the federal, state, or local government to fund some type of beneficial project. There are federal grant programs that support research and development and demonstration (RDD); demonstration/pre-commercial; and commercial scale bioeconomy projects. Some of the most popular federal grants programs for RDD include numerous federal agency Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STRR) programs. For commercial scale projects, the USDA Rural Energy for America (REAP) provides grants for certain types of bioeconomy projects. Additionally, many states have their own grant programs that can stand alone or complement federal grants.
- Loan Guarantees. A loan guarantee is a contractual obligation between the government, the borrower, and private creditors like banks and other commercial loan institutions. The obligation is that in the event of a borrow default, the federal government will cover a certain percent of the borrower’s debt obligation. Federal Loan Guarantee Programs include those under the Department of Energy’s Title XVII Innovative Energy Program, USDA Business and Industry loan guarantees, REAP loans, and Section 9003 Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical, and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Programs.
- Direct Government Loans. A direct Government loan is a loan provided from the government as the lender. Normally these direct loans are at reduced interest rates and longer terms to accommodate projects that cannot afford to pay the commercial lender rates and terms. Some, like the USDA’s Community Facilities direct loan program, can be used to support community based/ owned bioeconomy projects.
The maze of federal funding is often hard to navigate. It is sometimes difficult to find the best funding vehicle and to decides when and if to apply. Bioeconomy project developers applying for grants, loan guarantees, or direct government loans, must be prepared. They must not only have the necessary required materials, but also must present them in the proper order. Additionally, it is usually a safe assumption that, as part of the loan application, an applicant will need to provide a business plan, feasibility study, appraisal, and in many cases, a technical engineering report/assessment. To ensure objectivity, it is often required that these be performed by outside third parties who will not be the beneficiary of any loan proceeds.
Federal and state funds are often the initial funding for projects, and in many cases, determine whether a project will move forward. Sometimes, these federal grant and direct/loan guarantee programs can even be combined for funding assistance. Given the importance of these types of funding, it is always a good idea to retain experienced assistance in preparation and submission of applications for these federal and state funds.
Lee Enterprises Consulting (LEC) offers a wide range of services in biofuels, biochemicals, biotechnologies, biomaterials, synthetic biology commercialization, feedstocks, and hemp/cannabis. The company has business and financial services like due diligence, feedstock availability, grants and loans and bio market research. The company also offers technical and engineering related services like techno economic analysis, environmental evaluations, feasibility studies, risk analysis and expert witness engagements. The company also has strategic partnerships in place to assist clients with insurance, legal, accounting, plant fabrication, feedstock procurement. With over 150 experts worldwide, Lee Enterprises Consulting also has experts in anaerobic digestion, fermentation, biomass, conversion technologies for things like tires and railroad ties, organic synthesis, fuel additives, ethanol gas, biodiesel fuel including algae biofuels, solid state and industrial fermentation, green energy grants, ag biotech, agricultural waste, alcohol fuels, alternative proteins and animal-free products, sustainable foods, beverage fermentation, biocatalysis, biodiesel conversion, biogas production, biomass power, carbon intensity, co2 utilization, combined heat & power, Fischer-Tropsch technology, food waste, hydrothermal carbonization, industrial enzymes, landfill management, microbial fermentation, organic synthesis, plastic pyrolysis, plastic recycling, plastic waste, pyrolysis oil, reactor design, renewable identification number, the Renewable Fuel Standard (rfs2), solid recovered fuels, torrefaction and torrefied biomass, waste to energy, and waste-to-hydrogen. This is a multidisciplinary group of green energy consultants that is a virtual “one stop shop” for any client need and handles projects of all types and sizes.
Look at our experts and the services we provide. Most of our experts are also available to advise and serve as expert witnesses in bioeconomy litigation matters. For the larger projects, we specialize in putting together full service, interdisciplinary teams with one point of contact. See video about LEC here. Call us at 1+ (501) 833-8511 or email us for more information.