On January 6, 2017, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and USDA announced a $22.7 million funding opportunity to support integrated biorefinery (IBR) optimization, with DOE providing up to $19.8 million and USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) providing up to $2.9 million . To date, there are only a limited number of pioneer-scale commercial IBRs in the early stages of start-up and production, due to the technical and non-technical challenges associated with the reliable and continuous operation of IBRs. The funding opportunity will be jointly managed by the DOE's Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) and USDA-NIFA to address the barriers impeding the wider deployment of highly efficient IBR facilities, including increased capital, operational expenses, and scale-up complications. Projects will be selected from the following topic areas:

■    Robust, continuous handling of solid materials (dry and wet feedstocks, biosolids, and/or residual solids remaining in the process) and feeding systems to reactors under various operating conditions;   
■    High value products from waste and/or other under-valued streams in an IBR;    
■    Industrial separations within an IBR; and     
Analytical modeling of solid materials (dry and wet feedstocks, and/or residual solids remaining in the process) and reactor feeding systems. 

The submission deadline for concept papers is February 6, 2017, and the submission deadline for full applications is April 3, 2017.