USDA announces $18.4 million in HBIIP awards

By Erin Voegele | April 22, 2021

In honor of Earth Day, the USDA on April 22 announced $18.4 million in awards through the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program to help expand the availability of higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel.

The awards span recipients in 20 states and are expected to help boost demand for renewable fuels by approximately 218 million gallons per year, according to the USDA.

Information released by the USDA shows 23 recipients have received grants through the latest round of HBIIP awards, including PCH Truck Stop Center Inc., Sprague Operating Resources LLC, RC Bells Inc., Par Hawaii Refining LLC, Pacific Biodiesel Technologies LLC, Kwik Trip Inc., Village of Arlington Heights, Graham Enterprises Inc., Family Express Corp., Triplett Inc., Owensboro Grain Co., K&W Stores of MN Inc., MFA Oil Co., Simran Inc. dba First Stop, Bosselman Pump & Pantry Inc., Townsend Oil Co. Inc., Westmore Fuel Co Inc., Northville Industries Corp., Global Companies LLC, Mines Retail LLC, Trigoals LLC, Segoviakreek Properties, and Bulk Petroleum Corp. Those grants will support the development of biofuels distribution infrastructure at locations in California, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Georgia, Hawaii, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Rhode Island, Texas, and Michigan.

The American Coalition for Ethanol has spoken out to applaud the latest round of HBIIP awards. “ACE is pleased that under Secretary Vilsack’s leadership, USDA is continuing to distribute HBIIP funding to help more fuel marketers make infrastructure upgrades that may be necessary to offer higher ethanol blends at fuel stations and blending facilities,” said Ron Lamberty, senior vice president at ACE. “This program helps expand the availability of cleaner, higher octane fuel blends at the pump to help contribute to our greenhouse gas reduction goals. ACE was happy to help promote USDA’s biofuel infrastructure program with paid advertising throughout last year and help several fuel retailers across the country submit applications and ultimately receive funding to expand their biofuel offerings.

“Meanwhile, we’ll continue to make sure station owners know what their equipment can do right now and help more of them start to sell higher ethanol blends via our E15 equipment compatibility tool, Flex Check, which EPA has adopted on its website as a resource for determining equipment compatibility and meeting federal requirements for storing biofuels,” Lamberty added. “If we are going to move significant new volumes of low carbon ethanol in E15, it's going to be because massive numbers of retail units are converted at little or no cost, on top of what stations are able to add in new fueling infrastructure with HBIIP dollars.”

The National Biodiesel Board issued a statement thanking the USDA for its support of biofuels infrastructure. "Earth Day is the perfect time for Secretary Vilsack and USDA to announce infrastructure investments that will increase consumer access to clean, low-carbon biodiesel and Bioheat fuel,” said Kurt Kovarik, vice president of federal affairs at the NBB. “Biodiesel reduces carbon on average by 74 percent, and it cuts particulate matter and other criteria pollutants in transportation and home heating.

"On behalf of NBB's members, I want to thank USDA and Secretary Vilsack for including biodiesel in this program,” Kovarik added. “We also thank Senators Amy Klobuchar and Joni Ernst and Representatives Cindy Axne, Rodney Davis, and Dusty Johnson for introducing bipartisan legislation that would enable USDA to continue making these investments to decarbonize America's fuel infrastructure while rebuilding economic opportunity and creating jobs."

Additional details on the HBIIP awards are available on the USDA website