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.