The U.S. Department of Agriculture will distribute $50 million for two programs aimed at spurring the use of renewable biomass and production of advanced biofuels, the federal agency announced Friday.
An individual biorefinery can receive as much as $10 million of a total of $25 million under the Repowering Assistance Program, according to a statement issued by the department. Biorefineries that have existed on or before June 18, 2008, can use the money for construction and repowering improvements including engineering design, professional fees and equipment installation.
Through the program, the agency aims to encourage biorefineries to use renewable biomass instead of fossil fuels to generate heat or power.
The agency will issue payments to biorefineries based on the cost-effectiveness of the renewable biomass system and the percentage reduction in fossil fuels used by those biorefineries. Biorefineries have until June 1 to apply for the program.
In a separate program, the agency will provide $25 million for producers who develop advanced biofuels from renewable biomass other than corn kernel starch during fiscal 2012. Those fuels include sugar and starch; cellulose; vegetable, animal, food and yard waste; vegetable oil; animal fat and biogas.
Producers must have enrolled in the program by Oct. 31, 2011.
"President Obama has laid out a new era for American energy - an economy fueled by homegrown and alternative energy sources that will be designed and produced by American workers," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. "These programs support that vision by helping biorefineries use renewable biomass as a replacement fuel source for fossil fuels and supporting advanced biofuel producers as they expand production."