Iowa redirects federal funds for E30, biodiesel initiative

By Erin Voegele | October 16, 2013

Government officials in Iowa have announced a new biofuels pilot program called “Fueling Our Future.” The public-private partnership aims to help expand the market for mid-level biofuel blends, including ethanol and biodiesel. The program was launched Oct. 14 by Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey and Iowa Department of Transportation Director Paul Trombino.

According to information released by Branstad’s office, the program will redirect federal funds to further leverage state dollars in the existing renewable fuel infrastructure program to establish more blender pumps that supply E30 and biodiesel. Iowa State University will work closely on the initiative to evaluate consumer perceptions and the impact of increased access to midlevel blends, including the impact on air quality.

“Iowa’s success in biofuels is due to our abundant natural resources, the hard work that goes into its production, and the choice that consumers make in supporting locally-produced and renewable biofuels,” said Reynolds. “I look forward to the installation of these new mid-level blender pumps at locations around Iowa next spring and am hopeful that neighboring states will take a similar approach.”

According to information published by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, the Fueling Our Future awards program will use grant incentives to encourage interest and participation in infrastructure upgrades data sharing. The pilot project utilities Federal Highway Administration funds from the U.S. DOT.

The program can provide reimbursement for up to 50 percent of the costs for specific components of a project, with a cap of $250,000. Eligible applicants must commit to sell specific renewable fuels for five years. In addition, a commitment to support research efforts is required.

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association has spoken out to thank Branstad for launching the program. “Iowa leads the nation in renewable fuels production, and has led in developing markets for E10, E15, E85 and biodiesel over the last 30 years,” said IRFA Executive Director Monte Shaw. “But never one to sit still, Governor Branstad is already looking down the road to the next five to ten years.  I want to thank Governor Branstad and his team for the new ‘Fueling Our Future’ program that will continue to build on the successes this state has had in renewable fuels, and will position Iowa to lead the way in E30 and biodiesel availability.”

Additional information on the program is available Iowa Department of Agriculture website. A funding application, which includes deadline information, can be downloaded here.