USDA will begin accepting applications for $100 million in grants to fund transportation fueling and fuel distribution facilities for higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel.

The department is providing the money through the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program. In April, USDA made $5.6 million available through HBIIP that is expected to increase availability of biofuels by 59.5 million gallons per year in California, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and South Dakota.

The new funding is separate from the $500 million earmarked for biofuel infrastructure in the recently enacted Inflation Reduction Act.

The Renewable Fuels Association applauded Tuesday's announcement of the latest round of $100 million in funding. “USDA’s previous investments in biofuels infrastructure yielded huge dividends for drivers this summer, as higher blends like E15 and E85 were the most affordable options at the pump.” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper, who was in Illinois with Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack for the announcement.

The new round of HBIIP grants will cover up to half of total eligible project costs, but not more than $5 million per company. The higher-blend fuels “must be greater than 10% for ethanol and greater than 5% for biodiesel,” USDA said.

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The grant period will be open for 90 days, and USDA anticipates making awards 90 days after the application deadline, RFA said. “Based on the USDA’s prior experience with this program, it expects to make approximately 200 awards,” RFA said.

“The $100 million available now will support a variety of fueling operations, including filling stations, convenience stores and larger retail stores that also sell fuel,” USDA said. “The funds will also support fleet facilities including rail and marine, and fuel distribution facilities, such as fuel terminal operations, midstream operations, distribution facilities as well as home heating oil distribution centers.”

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