USDA recently announced that it will deploy up to $20 million to encourage the use of renewable biomass as a replacement fuel source for fossil fuels as well as to provide process heat or power in the operation of eligible biorefineries. Eligible biorefineries are biorefineries that meet all of the following criteria:

  1. Convert renewable biomass into biofuels and biobased products and may produce electricity
  2. Located in rural areas
  3. In existence on or before June 18, 2009
  4. Primary production is liquid transportation biofuels

USDA may make payments under this program to any biorefinery that meets the program requirements for up to three years.  USDA will determine the amount of payments to be made to a biorefinery based on the following factors:

  1. Quantity of fossil fuel a renewable biomass system is replacing
  2. Percentage reduction in fossil fuel used by the biorefinery
  3. Cost effectiveness of the renewable biomass system
  4. Economic benefit to the community
  5. Potential to improve the quality of life in rural America

The number of payments will vary and be based on the number of applicants and availability of funds but will not exceed $5 million or 50% of total eligible product costs.  Applications are due by November 1, 2009.