For FY 2022, the Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE) requested $340 million for the Bioenergy Technologies Program Office.[1]  The following table outlines the amount of funding appropriated to Bioenergy Technologies from FY 2021 through FY 2022, including requested amounts.

Source: U.S. Department of Energy, 2022[2]

The Department of Energy's FY 2022 budget (Volume 3, Part 1) requests $340 million to support R&D of transformative, sustainable, bioenergy technologies that enable a transition to a clean energy economy, create jobs, and spur innovation in renewable energy. BETO is focused on research and development to produce biofuels that are compatible with existing fueling infrastructure and vehicles across all modes of transportation. The Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) Initiative will fund research and development to enable technologies for domestic producers to eventually supply 100 percent of the airline industry’s need for SAF.[3]   

Legislation supporting the use of biomass and/or biofuels include:

The Agricultural Act of 2014 (Farm Bill): This legislation reauthorized and provided $880 million for energy programs that were originally established in the 2008 Farm Bill. This legislation also expanded the Biorefinery Assistance Program “to include bio-based product and renewable chemical manufacturing.”[4]  As a result of this legislation, the Bio preferred Program now includes forestry products.[5]

Presidential Memorandum on Biofuels (2009): This memorandum established a Biofuels Interagency Working Group to consider policy actions to accelerate and increase biofuels production, deployment, and use. This Working Group is co-chaired by the secretaries of the Department of Energy and the US Department of Agriculture, as well as the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.[6]

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA, 2009): ARRA provided grant funding to accelerate the commercialization of advanced biofuel research and development, as well as biorefinery projects at the pilot, demonstration, and commercial scales.[7]

The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Farm Bill): This legislation provided grants, loans, and loan guarantees for developing and building demonstration and commercial biorefineries. It also established a $1.01 per gallon producer tax credit for cellulosic biofuels and it established the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP), which supports the production of biomass crops.[8]

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA): This legislation supported the development and use of biofuels, including an expanded Renewable Fuels Standard—requiring 36 bgy renewable fuels by 2022 with annual requirements for advanced biofuels, cellulosic biofuels, and bio-based diesel.[9]

Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct): This legislation supported federal policies for ethanol production, including incentives for the production and purchase of bio-based products. The incentives included authorization for demonstrations, tax credits, and loan guarantees.[10]

Incentive programs related to biomass, biofuel, and ethanol are included below. Access to the full list of programs can be found here.

Biomass Crop Assistance Program: “The Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP; Section 9010) provides financial assistance to landowners and operators that establish, produce, and deliver biomass feedstock crops for advanced biofuel production facilities. Qualified feedstock producers are eligible for a reimbursement of 50% of the cost of establishing a biomass feedstock crop, as well as annual payments for up to five years for herbaceous feedstocks and up to 15 years for woody feedstocks. In addition, BCAP provides qualified biomass feedstock crop producers matching payments for the collection, harvest, storage, and transportation of their crops to advanced biofuel production facilities for up to two years. The matching payments are $1 for each $1 per dry ton paid by a qualified advanced biofuel production facility, up to $20 per dry ton. This program's funding is subject to congressional appropriations.”[11]

Biorefinery Assistance Program: “The Biorefinery Assistance Program (Section 9003) provides loan guarantees for the development, construction, and retrofitting of commercial-scale biorefineries that produce advanced biofuels. Grants for demonstration scale biorefineries are also available. Advanced biofuel is defined as fuel derived from renewable biomass other than corn kernel starch. Eligible applicants include, but are not limited to, individuals, state or local governments, farm cooperatives, national laboratories, institutions of higher education, and rural electric cooperatives. The maximum loan guarantee is $250 million and the maximum grant funding is 50% of project costs.”[12]

Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels, Advanced Biofuel Payment Program: “Through the Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels (Section 9005), eligible producers of advanced biofuels, or fuels derived from renewable biomass other than corn kernel starch, may receive payments to support expanded production of advanced biofuels. Payment amounts will depend on the quantity and duration of production by the eligible producer; the net nonrenewable energy content of the advanced biofuel, if sufficient data is available; the number of producers participating in the program; and the amount of funds available. No more than 5% of the funds will be made available to eligible producers with an annual refining capacity of more than 150 million gallons of advanced biofuel. This program is funded through fiscal year 2018 (verified December 2017) but is subject to congressional appropriations thereafter.”[13]

Biodiesel and Ethanol Infrastructure Grants: “Competitive cost-share grants are available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP) for the installation, retrofitting, or otherwise upgrading of fueling equipment and infrastructure required to dispense ethanol blends greater than 10% or biodiesel blends greater than 5%. Eligible applicants for the ethanol fueling equipment and infrastructure are vehicle fueling facilities, including fueling stations, convenience stores, hypermarket fueling stations, fleet facilities, and similar entities with capital investments. Eligible applicants for biodiesel fueling equipment and infrastructure are fuel/biodiesel distribution facilities, including terminal operations, depots, midstream partners, and similarly equivalent operations. An applicant may request assistance for more than one location, with one applicant per company. Approximately 40% of funds will be made available to retail owners with 10 or fewer locations for activities related to upgrading or installing equipment to make a transportation fueling facilities fully compatible to dispense or sell higher blends of ethanol and/or biodiesel. Eligible new facilities may receive up to 50% of total eligible project costs, or $3 million, whichever is less. Existing fueling stations that require upgraded, retrofitted, or additional underground storage tanks may request assistance of up to 25% of total eligible project costs or up to $1,250,000, whichever is less.”[14]

Biomass Research and Development Initiative: “The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture, in conjunction with U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Biomass Programs, provides grant funding for projects addressing research, development, and demonstration of biofuels and bio-based products and the methods, practices, and technologies for their production, under the Biomass Research and Development Initiative (Section 9008). The competitive award process focuses on three main technical areas: feedstock development; biofuels and bio-based products development; and biofuels development analysis. Eligible applicants are institutions of higher learning, national laboratories, federal research agencies, private sector entities, and non-profit organizations. The non-federal share of the total project cost must be at least 20% for research and development projects and 50% for demonstration projects. Renewable biomass is defined as materials, pre-commercial thinnings, or invasive species on National Forest System land that qualify as by-products of preventative treatments, are harvested in accordance with applicable laws, and would not otherwise be used for higher-value products, as well as naturally reoccurring organic matter on non-federal or non-tribal lands, including renewable plant material, feed grains, other plants and trees, algae, and vegetable and animal waste material and by-products. This program's funding is subject to congressional appropriations.”[15]

Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Improvement Program: “The CMAQ Program provides funding to state departments of transportation (DOTs), local governments, and transit agencies for projects and programs that help meet the requirements of the Clean Air Act by reducing mobile source emissions and regional congestion on transportation networks. Eligible activities include transit improvements, travel demand management strategies, congestion relief efforts (such as high occupancy vehicle lanes), diesel retrofit projects, alternative fuel vehicles and infrastructure, and medium- or heavy-duty zero emission vehicles and related charging equipment. Projects supported with CMAQ funds must demonstrate emissions reductions, be located in or benefit a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-designated nonattainment or maintenance area, and be a transportation project.”[16]

Updated by Erin Bennett, January 2024