The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA”) Methane to Markets Partnership has issued a major request for proposals to fund projects and activities that advance methane recovery and use as a clean energy source in foreign countries. This opportunity is Request for Proposal Number EPA-OAR-CCD-09-03 (“RFP”), titled “Activities that Advance Methane Recovery and Use as a Clean Energy Source.” The RFP notes that EPA has made a $7 million pool available to fund up to 40 projects. Final proposals are due to EPA by March 5, 2009, and EPA has requested that interested applicants submit informal “Intent to Apply” notices by Jan. 15, 2009.  

Eligibility  

EPA will accept proposals from states, local governments, territories, Indian tribes, and possessions of the United States, including the District of Columbia, foreign governments, international organizations, public and private universities and colleges, hospitals, laboratories, and other public or private nonprofit institutions. Although, as noted below, the grants are not available for projects in the United States, U.S. citizens and organizations are nevertheless eligible to receive grants for projects in Methane to Market partner countries. For-profit organizations and U.S. federal agencies are not eligible for this grant.  

In addition, EPA will accept proposals from developing countries or countries with economies in transition that are in the process of applying to join the partnership, so long as EPA receives an acceptable “letter of intent” from these countries, which letter conforms to certain EPA regulations governing the program.  

EPA expects to award up to 40 cooperative agreements through this announcement, at $100,000 to $700,000 per award. The project period for awards resulting from this solicitation will begin in September 2009. Proposed project periods may be up to three years. Guidance regarding the Methane to Markets partnership is available at the website: http://www.epa.gov/methanetomarkets/grants.htm.  

Types of Projects in Which EPA is Interested

According to EPA, “[e]ligible projects will focus on technology transfer or deployment of technology, technical reports, feasibility, and pre-feasibility studies, databases of methane emissions or potential sites for projects, information clearinghouse, training or capacity-building, study tours, conferences, project expositions, workshops, improved methane emissions estimates, country-wide methane reduction programs.” EPA will not award funding to projects that are duplicative of existing cooperative agreements.  

Projects and activities focused on promoting methane projects within the United States are not within the scope of this RFP and will not be considered. However, eligible U.S.-based organizations may apply for grants to perform work in other Methane to Markets partner countries. Successful proposals will support the Partnership’s Action Plans and advance project development in the following Methane to Markets partner countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Ecuador, India, Kazakhstan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Mongolia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Thailand, Ukraine, and Vietnam.  

Significance and Further Steps

The Methane to Market program represents a unique opportunity for environmental technology researchers to obtain financial support. Again, proposals are due March 5, 2009, and EPA has requested that interested applicants file “Intent to Apply” notices by Jan. 15, 2009, though filing an Intent to Apply notice is not a prerequisite for grant eligibility.