USDA announces advanced biofuel payments, bioenergy grants

By Erin Voegele | December 03, 2014

On Dec. 2, the USDA announced it is making more than $5.6 million grant payments to 220 producers under the Advanced Biofuel Payment Program. An additional $4 million in grants are being awarded though three programs supporting bioenergy initiatives under the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

"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 NIFA funding includes $2.3 million awarded to South Dakota State University through the Sun Grant Program, which encourages bioenergy and biomass research collaboration between government agencies and land-grant colleges and universities, and the private sector. According to the USDA, SDSU will lead a consortium of five regional grant centers and one subcenter that makes competitive grants to projects that contribute to research, education and outreach for the regional production and sustainability of possible biobased feedstock. The project period is for up to five years. The NIFA funding also includes a $1 million grant to Iowa State University of Science and Technology under the Critical Agricultural Materials program. The funds will support the development of new paint, coating and adhesive products derived from acrylated glycerol, a coproduct of biodiesel. NIFA awards were also made to the National Biodiesel Board and University of Ohio through the Biodiesel Fuel Education Program. The NBB received $768,000 while the University of Idaho was awarded $192,000.

The $5.6 million awarded under the Advanced Biofuel Payment Program includes grants to producers of ethanol, biodiesel, biogas and pellets. The program was established under the 208 Farm Bill and provides payments to eligible producers based on the amount of advanced biofuel produced from renewable biomass, other thank corn kernel starch. Since the program began, the USDA has made more than $280 million in payments to more than 350 producers through more than 3,100 payments. The payments have supported the production of more than 5.8 billion gallons of advanced biofuel and the equivalent of more than 58 billion kWh of electricity.

Ethanol producers receiving payments under this round of funding include:

- Pinal Energy LLC, $957
- Pacific Ethanol Holding Co. LLC, $30,918
- USL Parallel Products of California, $1,643
- Aventine Renewable Energy Inc., $18,175
- Central Indiana Ethanol LLC, $19,076
- Arkalon Ethanol LLC, $79,258
- Bonanza Bioenergy LLC, $49,065
- Diamond Ethanol LLC, $84,517
- Kansas Ethanol LLC, $35,004
- Nesika Energy LLC, $4,250
- Prairie Horizon Agri-Energy LLC, $18,128
- Pratt Energy LLC, $34,280
- Reeve Agri Energy Inc., $4,687
- Trenton Agri Products LLC, $3,235
- Western Plains Energy LLC, $28,877
- Parallel Products of Kentucky Inc., $4,500
- Cornhusker Energy Lexington LLC, $924
- Nugen Energy LLC, $1,174
- White Energy Inc., $181,555

A full list of payments made under the Advanced Biofuel Payment Program is available on the USDA website.