Advanced Biofuel Pays Off

USDA announces producer payments
By Erin Voegele | March 18, 2011

A program established under Section 9005 of the 2008 Farm Bill recently paid off for producers of advanced biofuels. The program, titled the Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels, authorizes the USDA to make payments to entities producing advanced biofuels using certain forms of biomass.

Under the program, renewable biomass is defined as almost any biobased feedstock, with the exception of corn starch. Eligible feedstocks include cellulose, crop residues, animal, food and yard waste, biogas, vegetable oils and animal fats. Funds assigned to the program are “equitably” distributed to applicants, based upon the amount of qualifying biofuel that is produced. The program is specifically designed to benefit smaller producers, as 95 percent of available funds are assigned to be paid out to facilities with a production capacity of less than 150 MMgy. 

In late January, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that more than 120 advanced biofuel producers in 33 states have been awarded payments under the program. Biodiesel facilities account for the vast majority of companies that are receiving payments under this round of funding. At least one company received funding for advanced ethanol production, however. Abengoa BioEnergy Corp. was awarded $213,891 under the program.

“The Obama Administration is working aggressively to bring greater energy independence to all of America by promoting the production of renewable energy in rural communities,” Vilsack says. “This funding will help the nation's advanced biofuel industry produce more fuel from sustainable rural resources, and in doing so create jobs, a new revenue stream for agriculture producers and stimulate rural economies across the nation.” 

—Erin Voegele