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USDA announces grants this week to stimulate bioeconomy

USDA announced this week that it is awarding $5.6 million in grants to 220 producers (see the PDF chart here for the listing of producers receiving more than $500) to support advanced biofuel production. It also is awarding more than $4 million grants intended to advance the country’s bioeconomy.

"Producing advanced biofuel is a major component of the drive to take control of America's energy future by developing domestic, renewable energy sources," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "These resources represent the Obama Administration's commitment to support an 'all-of-the-above' energy strategy that seeks to build a robust bio-based economy. Investments in biofuels will also help create jobs and further diversify the economy in our rural communities.

"The funding for producers is being provided through USDA's Advanced Biofuel Payment Program. Payments are made to eligible producers based on the amount of advanced biofuel produced from renewable biomass, other than corn kernel starch. Since the program’s inception, USDA has made more than $280 million in payments to more than 350 producers which have supported the production of more than 5.8 billion gallons of advanced biofuel and the equivalent of more than 58 billion kilowatt hours of electric energy, the USDA reports.

The USDA also announced this week that the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has awarded grants to three other programs that support bioenergy initiatives.

The National Biodiesel Board and Regents of the University of Idaho received $768,000 and $192,000 respectively, through the Biodiesel Fuel Education Program. This program was established to stimulate biodiesel consumption and development of biodiesel infrastructure. Projects will focus on educational programs supporting advances in infrastructure, technology transfer, fuel quality, fuel safety and increasing feedstock production.

South Dakota State University (SDSU) received $2.3 million through the Sun Grant Program, which encourages bioenergy and biomass research collaboration between government agencies, land-grant colleges and universities, and the private sector. SDSU leads a consortium of five regional grant centers and a subcenter that makes competitive grants to projects that contribute to research, education and outreach for the regional production and sustainability of possible biobased feedstocks.

Through the Critical Agricultural Materials program, Iowa State University of Science and Technology received $1 million for the development of new paint, coating and adhesive products derived from acrylated glycerol, a co-product of biodiesel production. This program supports the development of products made from agricultural materials, many of which replace petroleum-based products.

Read more blogs from Lynn Grooms on the biofuels industry.

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