USDA opens applications for BCAP on June 16

June 11, 2014 |

In Washington, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will begin accepting applications June 16 from energy facilities interested in receiving forest or agricultural residues to generate clean energy. The support comes through the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP), which was authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

Recap of the Farm Bill’s Energy Title

BCAP

The Biomass Crop Assistance Program partners with hundreds of farmers across the country to develop sustainable new biofuels and other products from non-food crops, providing farmers with additional farm income and producing next-generation energy sources. The program currently supports more than 1,100 American growers in 188 counties across 12 states, who are converting 53,000 underutilized acres to energy crops.

Biorefinery Assistance Program

Among the Farm Bill policy changes was the expansion of the Biorefinery Assistance Program. With these amendments, companies seeking to produce high-performance renewable chemicals and biobased products in the US are eligible for loan guarantees to build manufacturing plants.

The Biorefinery Assistance Program also enables production of cutting-edge advanced biofuels by supporting next-generation biorefinery development. The program is assisting U.S. companies secure more than $450 million in private capital for innovative advanced biofuel projects. The program has leveraged nearly $10 of private capital for every dollar of federal investment.

“Access to these loan guarantees is significant in accelerating investment and creating new jobs in the US,” said K’Lynne Johnson, Elevance CEO in Illinois, “and these are high-value jobs, reflecting the technology advances and innovation that underpin the renewable chemical sector.  Timely access to a loan guarantee accelerates moving forward at our Natchez, MS site. In particular, I would like to thank Senator Cochran and Congressman Harper for their leadership on the Farm Bill, as well as Senator Durbin and the Illinois delegation.”

REAP

The Renewable Energy for America Program supports every type of renewable energy technology, including wind, solar, biomass, biogas and hydroelectric power in all 50 states. Since 2008, the program has supported an additional 6,600 U.S. projects, employing 15,000 people and generating or saving more than 7.3 billion kilowatt hours of electricity – enough to power 680,000 U.S. homes annually. The program leverages private investment, as it requires at least a $3 match for each $1 of federal funds.

Biomass Research and Development Initiative

A separate Farm Bill provision would encourage the joint USDA/DOE Biomass Research and Development Initiative to support continued successful biobased chemicals development.

Christophe Schilling, CEO of Genomatica in California, said, “Today’s breakthrough agreement supports both research and commercialization. Research support allows companies to develop novel, economically competitive solutions, such as our first commercial process, which is for the production of a biobased version of the chemical 1,4-butanediol. Commercialization incentives make it easier to build plants that use these innovations and create jobs. I want to thank Congressman Peters for his leadership in driving vital portions of this bill.”

BioPreferred

The Farm Bill strengthens the USDA BioPreferred program which supports the increased use and purchase of biobased products.

“We commend US leadership in promoting high-paying sustainable jobs and value-added bioproducts that compete on performance and cost in global markets,” lauded Chris Olsen, VP of Government Affairs at Tate & Lyle, headquartered in Illinois.

Renewable chemicals

“The inclusion of key provisions in the final Farm Bill helps the country improve its global manufacturing competitiveness, said Corinne Young, Chief Advocate for re:chem, the Renewable Chemicals and Advanced Materials Alliance, a group that has worked to support the legislation.

“It will improve speed to market for higher performing products such as latex-based athletic gear and medical devices, cold water detergents, high strength composites for wind turbines, compostable cups and flatware, recyclable biobased carpets, and even polymers and fibers for emerging applications in light weighting cars and 3D printing,”

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