The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Monday announced additional details on the $100 million in grants available to fuel retailers and distributors under the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP). HBIIP is intended to increase the sale and use of higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel by expanding infrastructure for renewable fuels derived from U.S. agricultural products.
“American ethanol and biofuel producers have been affected by decreased energy demands due to the coronavirus, and these grants to expand their availability will help increase their use during our economic resurgence,” USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said.
Perdue first announced this funding in his address to corn farmers at this year’s Commodity Classic in San Antonio.
One of the program requirements outlined by USDA is for all funded equipment to be certified for use with at least 25 percent ethanol blends, an important feature supported by NCGA to ensure the infrastructure funded today to support greater sales of E15 also supports sales of future higher blends going forward.
A vital market for corn farmers, ethanol producers have idled more than half of all production capacity due to the fallout from COVID-19. Spurring new demand for higher ethanol blends will be an important part of a future economic recovery for the ethanol industry and farmers, and this infrastructure deployment will help support that growth.
More information, including guidance for applicants, is available at the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program web page. Applications for fuel retailers and distributors are expected to open in mid-May, with a 90-day application window. USDA will be hosting webinars on May 19 and June 4 to provide additional information for applicants.