USDA offers loan guarantees worth $181M for advanced biorefineries

Source: Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Department of Agriculture announced the availability today of $181 million in loan guarantees for advanced-biofuel refineries.

Producers can use that funding to build new biorefineries or retrofit existing ethanol facilities for next-generation fuels that don’t rely on corn starch as an input, USDA said. Applications will be due in January.

“This financing will expand the number of commercial biorefineries in operation in the U.S. that are producing advanced biofuels from non-food sources,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement.

The funding will be administered through USDA’s Biorefinery Assistance Program, whose cash is running low because of Congress’ inability to pass a new farm bill (E&E Daily, Oct. 1). The program has provided about $684 million since 2008 toward advanced biofuel projects in eight states.

Previous awards have gone to Sapphire Energy Inc., a company with an algae farm in New Mexico that is producing “green crude” made from algal oils, and INEOS Bio, which recently opened a Florida facility to produce fuel from municipal solid waste.