On Tuesday, Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle launched the state's first-ever grant program to help develop Wisconsin's bio-based economy. $1 million in grant money is now available to help businesses and individuals develop ways to use plant and animal resources for renewable energy, fuels, or products.

"Ingenuity is Wisconsin's greatest resource," Governor Doyle said. "We are looking for ideas to help Wisconsin realize an economic future where we rely more on the Midwest for our energy, and less on the Mid East. These highly competitive grants are an investment in the future."

The grant program seeks to use the state's abundant biomass from agricultural and forestry industries and turn them into renewable energy, fuels, and products.

"I want Wisconsin to be a leader in the emerging bio-economy. We're going to continue promoting economic growth and energy security in both rural and urban areas of Wisconsin by using biobased products and bioenergy in environmentally sound ways," Governor Doyle said. "Anything that can be made from petroleum can be made from plant and animal resources."

Governor Doyle invited individuals, groups, businesses and organizations working on the development of bio-based industries in Wisconsin to submit proposals for the Biobased Industry Opportunity (BIO) grant program. In 2005 the BIO grant program has $700,000 to award to projects with the maximum grant award not to exceed $150,000. Grant applicants must provide at least 50 percent of eligible project expenses.

Examples of projects include the development of:

·    New ways to generate usable forms of energy or fuels;

·    New biobased products, including new fibers and other biobased materials;

·    New technologies that enhance commercial viability of biobased business; or

·  New systems that transform waste streams into energy or biobased products

The 2005 proposal guidelines are available at the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Web site, BIO grants. Proposals must be received in the Division of Agricultural Development by 5:00 p.m. on March 1, 2006.

DATCP