Available: USDA Grants for Biodiesel Infrastructure

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Grants that support investments in biodiesel infrastructure, covering up to 75% of project costs, are available through the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP) administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“Funds will be offered in tranches through quarterly application windows,” said the National Fuels & Energy Institute, which sponsored a Sept. 11 webinar on the program for its members.

“Note that $4.5 million will be reserved for heating oil businesses per quarter, offering a strategic opportunity to upgrade your fuel dispensers, blending equipment, storage tanks, and more,” NEFI said. “In addition, each quarterly release includes $18 million for fuel distribution facilities, including terminal operations, and $67.5 million for transportation fueling facilities, including fueling stations and convenience stores, among others.”

The program presents a significant opportunity for the industry to receive federal benefits, NEFI President and CEO Sean Cota said during the webinar. “We’re very excited about that.”

“The purpose of the program is to increase significantly the sales and use of higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel by expanding the infrastructure for renewable fuels derived from U.S. agricultural products,” said Jeff Carpenter, USDA’s manager for HBIIP, a speaker in the webinar.

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Bulk storage tanks. Photo courtesy of Savage Associates (www.savageassociatesinc.com).

The approximately $4.5 million that is available to home heating oil distribution facilities is for activities related to higher blends of fuel ethanol, greater than 10 percent ethanol, including E15 and E85, and biodiesel greater than 5 percent biodiesel, including B20 or higher.

“We define a home heating oil distribution facility as having at least 80 percent of their annual throughput…being home heating oil,” Carpenter said. The grants are for up to 75 percent of total eligible project costs, but not to exceed $5 million, whichever is less, Carpenter pointed out.

Funds made available under HBIIP may only be used for eligible equipment, infrastructure and related expenses to support the sales and use of high biofuel blends.

Funds will be offered quarterly through Sept 30, 2024. (Applications for the first offering of funds were due Sept. 30.) For more information, and to get started on an application, visit www.rd.usda.gov/hbiip. – Stephen Bennett

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