Funding to Develop Advanced Biofuels and Plant-Based Products

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Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is seeking applications for funding to help support the development of advanced biofuels, renewable chemicals and biobased products.

"The bioeconomy is a catalyst for economic development in rural America, creating new jobs and providing new markets for farmers and ranchers," Vilsack said. "Investing in the busi­nesses and technologies that support the produc­tion of biofuels and bio­based products is not only good for farm incomes. The whole economy ben­efits from a more bal­anced, diversified and consumer-friendly energy portfolio, less dependence on foreign oil and reduced carbon emissions."

The program now pro­vides loan guarantees of up to $250 million to develop, construct and retrofit commercial-scale biorefineries and to devel­op renewable chemicals and biobased product manufacturing facilities.

For this announce­ment, USDA will seek applications in two cycles. Applications for the first funding cycle are due October 3, 2016. Applications for the sec­ond cycle are due April 3, 2017. For more informa­tion, see page 48377 of the July 25, 2016, Federal Register (https://www.federalregister.gov/arti­cles/2016/07/25/2016-17486/notice-of-solicita­tion-of-applications-for-the-biorefinery-renew­able-chemical-and-bio­based-product). Application materials can be found on USDA's Rural Development web­site (http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/biorefinery-renewable-chemical-and-biobased-product-manufacturing-assistance).

In October 2015, Rural Development imple­mented a redesigned two-phase application process. This new pro­cess helps the Agency identify the projects that have made the most progress in the develop­ment stage and have the greatest capacity for implementation and loan closing. The first two application cycles under the new process yielded complete applications from projects producing biogas, biodiesel, cellu­losic ethanol, biobased lubricants and oils, lig­nin cake and syrup, and fertilizers.

Eligible borrowers include individuals, cor­porations, federally-rec­ognized tribes, units of state or local govern­ment, farm cooperatives and co-op organizations, associations of agricul­tural producers, national laboratories, institutions of higher education, rural electric coopera­tives, public power enti­ties – or a consortium of any of these borrower types. Entities that receive program financ­ing must provide at least 20 percent of the funding for eligible project costs.

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