In an earlier blog post, Debra Frimerman reported that the U.S. Department of Energy was seeking applications for grants to help promote the construction and operation of pilot, demonstration, and commercial scale integrated biorefinery projects. Today, DOE announced the selection of 19 projects to receive up to $564 million in grant money authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Notable awards include the following:
· $81 million to Bluefire LLC for a Mississippi project to produce up to 19 million gallons of ethanol fuel annually from woody biomass, mill residue, and municipal solid waste.
· $50 million to Sapphire Energy, Inc. for a New Mexico project to produce algal fuels using the Dynamic Fuels refining process.
· $23 million to Clearfuels Technology Inc. for a Colorado scale project to produce renewable diesel and jet fuel from woody biomass.
A complete list of awards is available here.
On July 29, 2009, USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Jonathan Coppess announced that biomass conversion facilities can begin signing up to participate in the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP), which will help increase production of renewable energy. The program, authorized in the 2008 farm bill, provides financial assistance to producers who deliver eligible material to biomass conversion facilities and the FSA will provide financial assistance to collect, harvest, store and transport eligible materials.
Biomass conversion facilities and material owners or producers should contact their FSA state offices or visit the FSA website for more information. FSA will begin accepting applications from biomass facilities interested in participating in the BCAP.
The purpose of the matching payments is to assist biomass producers with the CHST cost of delivering biomass to a qualified biomass conversion facility. Biomass conversion facilities may become "qualified" by submitting a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to the FSA state offices. Once a facility becomes qualified, eligible material owners or producers who deliver biomass to that facility may be eligible to receive CHST payments. Eligible material owners or producers who market eligible material to a qualified biomass conversion facility may apply for the matching CHST payment at their FSA county office. An application must be submitted before the eligible material is sold and delivered to a qualified biomass conversion facility, where it will be reviewed by the FSA and county offices before CHST payments are authorized.
The USDA has released a proposed Notification for Funds Availability (NOFA) for the Collection, Harvest, Storage and Transportation (CHST) of eligible biomass material. CHST is one of the programs under the Biomass Crop Assistance Program, which was created by the 2008 Farm Bill.
The purpose of CHST is to provide matching funds to eligible persons or entities for the collection, harvest, storage and transportation of eligible material delivered to qualified biomass conversion facilities. Through this program, the Commodity Credit Corporation will provide matching payments on a dollar for dollar basis for each dry ton of eligible biomass delivered to a qualified biomass conversion facility, up to a maximum of $45 per ton. The matching payments are available to eligible persons or entities delivering the biomass to the facility who have the right to collect or harvest the biomass and are considered the owners of it.
The NOFA, once finalized, will be used to administer payments for CHST in advance of the rule on the Biomass Crop Assistance Program. Comments on the NOFA are being requested through August 10, 2009.
For more information on USDA funding opportunities, please see our recent alert.