NDEE offers funding for ethanol blender pumps

By Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy | July 29, 2020

The Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy is taking applications for a new grant program designed to encourage the installation of ethanol blender pumps across Nebraska. Expanding motorists’ access to higher blends of ethanol will increase usage of advance biofuels and offer benefits to the state’s environment. Funding for the grants is made possible through a three-year, $3 million award from the Nebraska Environmental Trust.

The Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program, created by the Nebraska Legislature in 2019 and administered by NDEE, will make grants available to retail gas stations on a 50/50 cost share match for the acquisition of advanced biofuel blender pumps, fuel storage tanks, necessary infrastructure, marketing and education. The pumps will provide various blends of ethanol between E-10 and E-85 to motorists.

Jim Macy, Director of the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy, highlighted the benefits this program provides to Nebraskans.

“We encourage Nebraska retailers to take advantage of this program to not only increase access to ethanol blended fuels for motorists in Nebraska, but also create a positive impact on Nebraska’s environment,” Macy said.

The use of ethanol results in fewer greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline and is biodegradable. According to a 2019 USDA study, using corn-based ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 40 percent compared to gasoline.

Nebraska’s ethanol plants produce around 2 billion gallons of ethanol a year, of which over 95 percent is shipped to other states or countries. In 2019 Nebraska motorists used an estimated 90 million gallons of ethanol, or approximately 10 percent of the 922 million gallons of fuel consumed by Nebraskans.

“Typically, sales of mid-level ethanol blend fuels increased 45-55 percent at Nebraska stations that have installed multi-product ethanol dispenser,” Macy said.

NDEE applied for the Nebraska Environmental Trust funds cooperatively with Green Plains, Inc., a Nebraska-based renewable fuels company, to fund the grant initiative. NDEE received approximately $1.46 million in the first year of a three-year Trust grant award. Since its inception in 1992, the Nebraska Environmental Trust, using revenue from the Nebraska Lottery, has provided over $328 million in grants to over 2,300 projects across the state. The Nebraska Environmental Trust works to preserve, protect and restore our natural resources for future generations.

Information and requirements of the program, the application and a link to an Aug. 4 informational Zoom meeting about the application process are available at:
http://dee.ne.gov/NDEQProg.nsf/OnWeb/RFIP