Missouri biofuel entities now eligible for $200,000 grant

By The Missouri Department of Agriculture | June 09, 2020

The Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority announced June 4 the creation of the Biofuel Infrastructure Program to increase the availability of higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel in the Show-Me State. MASBDA partnered with the Biodiesel Coalition of Missouri and the Missouri Corn Growers Association to stand up the grant program, which will support biofuel producers as they apply for federal infrastructure funding through USDA Rural Development’s Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program.

The MASDBA board of directors has allocated up to $2 million statewide in grant funds that may be used to fulfill up to 25 percent of the cash match obligation required for the HBIIP. The maximum grant award is $200,000 for each business entity, regardless of the number of Missouri locations operated by that entity, selected for funding by the by HBIIP.

“Biofuels are a win-win for Missouri agriculture,” said Jill Wood, MASBDA executive director. “By creating additional demand for two of Missouri’s top commodities, corn and soybeans, we have the opportunity to reduce the cost of livestock feed for cattle, hogs and poultry. Our team at MASBDA is excited to stand in the financial gap that may help some agribusinesses from applying for these federal funds.”

A thriving biofuel industry is vital for Missouri agriculture. According to the Missouri Division of Energy, a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the biofuel industry supports more than 6,600 jobs, generates nearly $15 million in net general revenue annually and creates $542 million in new economic activity annually. 

Missouri is a national leader, ranking third in biodiesel production capacity and second in production. Five Missouri biodiesel plants currently produce more than 200 MMgy.

“Expanding our biofuels infrastructure in Missouri, from fuel terminals and distribution facilities to retail locations, is an opportunity to grow the economic engine of our state,” said Tony Stafford, executive director of the Biodiesel Coalition of Missouri. “Missouri is a leading state for biodiesel production, yet we use only one-third of the fuel we produce. Investing in our storage and distribution capabilities through participation in this grant program allows our dollars to stretch further and sets Missouri up to capture more of the benefits from using clean, local renewable fuels.”

Six ethanol plants across the state produce approximately 300 MMgy of ethanol and 825,000 tons of distillers grains, which is an important livestock feed additive rich in protein, fat, vitamins and minerals.

“Increasing access to biofuels, like corn-based ethanol, will help improve air quality in our communities, as well as support local ethanol plants and corn farmers,” said Mike Moreland, president of the Missouri Corn Growers Association. “Ethanol has higher octane, burns cooler and cleaner than conventional gasoline, and reduces tailpipe emissions. Investing in our state’s biofuels framework will help set the stage for the future and allow more drivers to utilize these benefits from a fuel made here in Missouri.”

Eligible entities for the state BIP mirror those eligible for the federal HBIIP and include:

-Transportation fueling facilities—fueling stations, convenience stores, hypermarket retailer fueling stations, fleet facilities and similar entities with capital investments

-Fuel distribution facilities—fuel and biodiesel terminals, midstream partners and similarly equivalent operations.

MASBDA’s application for the BIP will be available soon. Applications will be considered at the July meeting of the MASBDA board of directors to allow agribusinesses to include the award documentation in their federal HBIIP application, which is due Aug. 13, 2020. The final amount awarded by MASBDA to each agribusiness will be contingent upon notice of funding from the USDA HBIIP, as well as a contract copy between the approved agribusiness and USDA.

For more information on the Biofuel Infrastructure Program or the Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority, visit Agriculture.Mo.Gov.

The goal of the HBIIP is to increase the sales and use of higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel by expanding the infrastructure for renewable fuels made from U.S. agricultural products. The program will make available $100 million in cost share grants nationwide to help distribution facilities, fuel station owners and fleet facilities install or add infrastructure that will allow for higher ethanol and biodiesel blends. The federal program requires applicants to provide a 1:1 match for funds received through the HBIIP program. USDA is expected to notify successful applicants in September.

To be eligible for this program, a project’s sole purpose must be for the installation, and/or retrofitting, and/or otherwise upgrading of fuel dispensers/ pumps, attached equipment, underground storage tank system components, and other infrastructure required at a location to ensure availability of fuel containing ethanol blends greater than 10 percent or fuel containing biodiesel blends greater than 5 percent.

For funded projects, annual reports will be required for the three years following grant disbursement to document the impact of the programs. Reports will track the gallons of all fuels sold, total gallons of E10 fuel sold, total gallons of E15 fuel sold, total gallons of E85 fuel sold, total gallons of diesel fuel sold and total revenue from fuel sales.

 
 
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