USDA has awarded $8.8 million to help promote advanced biofuels, it announced Friday in a news release.
The funding comes a week after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released proposed Renewable Fuel Standard volumes for 2017.
The biggest winner appears to be biodiesel, as 56 of the 108 awards given out by USDA in 39 states were to companies producing biodiesel.
The proposed RFS numbers including only small gains for biodiesel from about 1.9 billion gallons in 2016 to 2.1 billion gallons in 2018. The industry was not pleased with the proposal. Currently, biomass-based biodiesel is the only commercially produced advanced biofuel in the U.S.
Renewable Biofuels in Houston was awarded the biggest chunk at $3.9 million, or nearly half of the total of all the funds. California-based Crimson Renewable Energy was a distant second and received about $1.1 million.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a news release Friday the funding provided through USDA's Advanced Biofuel Payment Program will help expand the bio-economy in rural America. Vilsack has supported rural bio-economy programs throughout his term.
"Advanced biofuels expand America's energy options and increase our sources of homegrown, renewable energy," he said. "These payments not only help to spur biofuel production, but also protect the environment and help create jobs by building a renewable energy economy in rural areas."
The USDA program was established in the 2008 farm bill. Payments are made to biofuels producers based on the amount of advanced biofuels produced from renewable biomass, other than corn kernel starch. That includes crop residue, food and yard waste, vegetable oil and animal fat.
The program has made $308 million in payments to 382 biofuel producers in 47 states and territories, according to USDA.
In the past seven years, USDA also has invested $332 million to accelerate research on renewable energy ranging from genomic research on bioenergy feedstock crops, to development of biofuel conversion processes and costs/benefit estimates of renewable energy production.
USDA has developed new markets for rural-made products, including more than 2,500 bio-based products through USDA's Bio Preferred program since 2009; it has invested $64 billion in infrastructure, housing and community facilities.
Read the USDA awards list here, http://www.rd.usda.gov/…
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