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Vilsack announces grants and loan guarantees for biofuels

On Thursday Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced
grants and loan guarantees to all regions of the country to foster renewable
fuel development through programs authorized by the Energy Title of the 2008
Farm Bill.

Vilsack said that progams are meant to encourage biofuel
production from sources other than corn, which he said will benefit all areas
of the country and strengthen the rural economy.

“It really has the potential and the opportunity to be in
every part of the country,” he said.

Vilsack pointed out that the nation’s dependence on
imported fuels has doubled from the presidency of Jimmy Carter, when it was

“Despite all the concern that’s been expressed about
this, we need to get serious,” he said, adding that the nation can’t expect to
continue to import 60% of its fuel.

Three companies will get a total of $405 million in loan
guarantees under the Biorefinery Assistance Program. The biggest guarantee, for
$250 million, is for a plant in western Alabama owned by Coskata, Inc, that
will make 55 million gallons of ethanol annually from woody biomass. With an
$80 million guarantee, Enerkem Corporation plans to make 10 million gallons of
cellulosic ethanol from municipal dried, sorted solid waste. And in Vero Beach,
Florida, a $75 million loan guarantee will help INEOS New Planet BioEnergy, LLC
make 8 million gallons of ethanol a year from citrus and ag wastes, yard wastes
and wood and municipal solid waste.

Vilsack also announced $1.6 million in grants for
feasibility studies under the Rural Energy for America Program. Those 68
projects include a $40,000 study on the feasibility of delivering farm-produced
biogas from 20 farms in Cayuga County, New York through a pipeline to local buinsesses.
A $50,000 study will look at hydrokinetic turbine energy production by Pulse
Tidal, LLC in Manatuska Susitna Borough, Alaska.

USDA also released a long list of grants it had made to
existing biofuel plants through the Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels.
Payments are based on the amount of fuel made from renewable sources other than
corn starch.

One recipient is the Renewable Energy Group, Inc. of
Ames, Iowa, the nation’s largest seller of biodiesel, made partly from soybean
oil and other vegetable oils as well as animal fats. Fuel from vegetable oils
and animal fats qualifies under the program. REG got a grant of $695,014.53

Another recipient is Corn Plus, LP, which makes ethanol
from corn. But it uses solubles from distiller’s grains to power the
distillation process. Corn Plus received $128,658.66.









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