Executive Insight, Renewable Energy

USDA releases $15.5 million in support of biofuel

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the U.S. Department of Agriculture is making payments to support the production of advanced biofuel.

The USDA is making nearly $15.5 million in payments to 188 producers through the Advanced Biofuel Payment Program, which was established in the 2008 Farm Bill.

Under this program, payments are made to eligible producers based on the amount of advanced biofuels produced from renewable biomass, other than corn kernel starch. Examples of eligible feedstocks include but are not limited to: crop residue, food waste, yard waste, vegetable oil and animal fat.

Through the Advanced Biofuel Payment Program and other USDA programs, the department is working to support the research, investment and infrastructure necessary to build a biofuels industry that creates jobs and broadens the range of feedstocks used to produce renewable energy.

More than 290 producers in 47 states and territories have received $211 million in payments since the program’s inception. It has supported the production of more than 3 billion gallons of advanced biofuel and the equivalent of more than 36 billion kWh of electric energy.

For example, Riverview LLP, a Minnesota-based company, will be receiving an $8,040 payment to help offset the cost of producing electricity from two anaerobic digesters. The two digesters use manure from two of the company’s dairy operations to produce electricity, which is sold to Great River Energy. During the last quarter of 2012, the anaerobic digesters produced almost 4.9 million kWh of electricity, enough to power more than 400 homes a year.