USDA And DOE Announce Biomass Project Grants

Chuck Zimmerman

USDAAs a show of how much the current administration is putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to encouraging the development of renewable fuel sources, USDA just announced grants to 11 projects totalling over $12 million dollars.

Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced that 11 biomass research, development and demonstration projects were selected to receive $12.6 million for the Biomass Research and Development Initiative, a joint effort of USDA and the Department of Energy (DOE). The total value of the projects is nearly $19 million, including cost sharing of the private-sector partners.

“This cooperative conservation partnership benefits our nation with enhanced energy security, a cleaner environment and revitalized rural economies,” said Johanns. “The selected projects support President Bush’s goal to enhance renewable energy supplies. The grants will help to develop additional renewable energy resources and expand markets for agricultural products.”

The Biomass Research and Development Act of 2000 and the 2002 Farm Bill set the framework for interagency cooperation and joint solicitations.

Here’ s a list of the 2005 projects:

University of Idaho (Moscow, Idaho) – Increasing the Potential for the Utilization of Cellulose from Straw for Biofuel and Bioproduct Production – $693,285

The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Inc. (Ardmore, Okla.) – Development of Low-Lignin Switchgrass for Improved Ethanol Production – $670,166

The Tampa Bay Area Ethanol Consortium (Florida) – Implementation of a Scale-Up Pilot Plant Demonstration Facility toward the Commercialization of Florida Biomass Feedstocks for Ethanol Production – $1,920,000

University of Montana, College of Technology (Missoula, Mont.) – Biopower Demonstration and Educational Outreach – $990,500

North Carolina State University, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (Raleigh, N.C.) – Conversion of BioDiesel Derived Glycerol to Glycidol, Glycerol Carbonate and C-3 Oxygenates by Catalytic and Biocatalytic Pathways – $1,606, 265

Iowa State University (Ames, Iowa) – Environmental Enhancement through Corn Stover Utilization – $1,853,996

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Oak Ridge, Tenn.) – Carbon Fiber from Biomass Lignins – $1,083,770

Clarkson University – (Potsdam, N.Y.) – Environmental and Economic Performance of an Integrated, Digester-Cogeneration-Value-Added Process – $805,938

University of Minnesota, Morris (Morris, Minn.) – Biomass Gasification: A Comprehensive Demonstration of a Community-Scale Biomass Energy System – $1,896,493

University of Florida (Gainesville, Fla.) – Bioenergy: Optimum Incentives and Sustainability of Non-Industrial Private Forests in the U.S. South – $656,525

Environmental Resources Trust (Washington, D.C.) – Incentives for Biomass Commercialization: Pioneering Markets for Biomass Using Renewable Energy Certificates, Emission Reduction Credits and Incentive Programs for Ammonia, PM10 and PM2.5 Reductions – $449,993

Government, Research

ReFuel America Branded E-Diesel On The Way

Chuck Zimmerman

NewGen TechnologiesNow here’s a company that’s really into the domestic fuel business. Why not combine biodiesel and ethanol? No good reason obviously.

NewGen Technologies, Inc. announced today that in addition to the acquisition of three terminals for distribution of ReFuel America biofuels in the Southeast United States, the company will also launch its own ReFuel America branded and proprietary E-Diesel early next year.

NewGen’s E-Diesel is a blend of standard diesel fuel and ethanol that utilizes proprietary NewGen technology to maintain blend stability and increase certain fuel properties. City buses, stationary equipment and other vehicles currently running on standard diesel fuel account for a large portion of the world’s air pollution. The optimum blend of ethanol, diesel and other NewGen innovations can replace straight diesel fuel in these engines. Some American cities have already converted their bus fleets to E-Diesel on a test basis.

Biodiesel, Ethanol, Facilities, Production, Promotion

Broin Breaking Ground Again In South Dakota

Chuck Zimmerman

Broin CompaniesBroin Companies is a celebrating the groundbreaking of the 8th ethanol plant they’ve designed and built in South Dakota tomorrow. This one is for Prairie Ethanol, LLC. The groundbreaking will be conducted after a program in Lechter, SD that includes speeches by U.S. Senators Tim Johnson and John Thune. Then the official ceremony will take place at the plant’s construction site near Loomis, SD.

Prairie Ethanol will be the eighth ethanol plant the Broin Companies of Sioux Falls, SD have built in the state of South Dakota and the 24th plant built since its inception. Annually, Prairie Ethanol will produce 60 million gallons of ethanol by consuming over 21 million bushels of corn from the regional area. The plant will employ approximately 40 people, most from the local area. Prairie Ethanol will also help improve the local corn basis while providing an environmentally friendly fuel and premium Dakota Gold Enhanced Nutrition Distillers Products™ for regional, national and international markets.

Facilities, Production

Governors Trading Down To A Hybrid

Chuck Zimmerman

There’s an interesting story that summarizes how many state governors are parking their sports utility vehicles in favor of new hybrid vehicles that run on alternative fuels. You can find it in the Belleville NewsDemocrat. I think it’s interesting to see public officials actually practicing what they preach for a change. Of course, it makes you wonder if they sneak out at night and drive around in their big SUV’s!


Renewable Energy Momentum In Hawaii

Chuck Zimmerman

It looks like even Hawaii is joining in the momentum to look at renewable fuel alternatives. An article in the Pacific Business News says that “The commission also explored renewable energy as a way to combat high gas and electricity prices. Proposals include expanding Hawaii’s goal of using 20 percent renewable energy by 2020 to include transportation fuels and increasing support for solar energy.

You can see Governor Lingle’s news release on her website. You can learn more about the Economic Momenum Commission on their website.


New Communications Director For RFA

Chuck Zimmerman

Renewable Fuels AssociationThe Renewable Fuels Association is one of the main groups advocating the use of ethanol and other fuels. They just announced a new communications director on their staff. He would be a great source of information about the industry.

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) is pleased to announce that Matt Hartwig has been hired as Communications Director. Matt will be taking over for Monte Shaw, who has served the RFA in that role for the past five and a half years.

RFA President Bob Dinneen stated: “The U.S. ethanol industry is growing at an unprecedented rate and the issues the industry faces every day demand a broad understanding of a number of complex topics. But with his agriculture and consumer advocacy background, Matt will be able to hit the ground running. As an Iowan, Matt understands first hand the impact ethanol can have on rural economies, and his experience with consumers will be helpful in educating the public about the benefits of ethanol as gasoline prices reach record levels across the country. We are delighted to have Matt on the RFA team.”


Biodiesel Law Signed By The Governator

Chuck Zimmerman

Green Star ProductsThe Governator is pushing for the development of alternative fuels in his state. Green Star Products has this release on their website. Visit the website for the full release.

Last Thursday September 29, 2005, Governor Schwarzenegger of California signed into law a proposal authored by State Senator Roy Ashburn (R-Bakersfield) that would allow public agencies and utilities to use vehicles that run off of biodiesel and biodiesel blends.

“By using biodiesel, we can reduce dependency on foreign oil by up to 20 percent,” said Senator Roy Ashburn.

American Biofuels (ABF), a biodiesel producing company which is 35% owned by Green Star Products, Inc. (OTC: GSPI), has been working with the California Energy Commission for some time now to establish production and usage criteria for the State of California.

Biodiesel, Government, Legislation

USDA Energy Related Grants Made

Chuck Zimmerman

USDA Rural DevelopmentThe United States Department of Agriculture, Rural Development just announced a number of grants, some of which will be used for the development and promotion of alternative fuels.

Agriculture Secretary Michael Johanns today announced the selection of 171 applications from 42 states to receive over $14.6 million in USDA Rural Development grant assistance under the Value Added Producer Grant program.

Some of the energy-related grants include:

The Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board will receive a grant to determine the viability of marketing bio-diesel fuel made by a producer-owned soybean processing plant. Businesses and producers in California, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin will receive grants to assess the feasibility of marketing ethanol and bio-diesel, or other types of renewable energy. A total of 32 energy related grants were awarded this year. A complete list of the grants is available on the USDA web site at:

The Value-Added Producer Grant program was authorized by the Agriculture Risk Protection Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-224) and the 2002 Farm Bill (P.L. 107-171).


Can Sacramento Become A Green Fuel Powerhouse?

Chuck Zimmerman

SARTAAccording to a release from the Sacramento Regional Technology Alliance the west coast may become a serious green technology “powerhouse.”

The Sacramento region has the potential to explode into a powerhouse for clean energy research and technology in much the same way that Santa Clara became Silicon Valley.

That’s the conclusion of a report just released by the Clean Energy Business Incubator Project of the McClellan Technology Incubator and the Sacramento Regional Technology Alliance (SARTA). The report, titled Clean Energy in the Capitol Corridor: Making the Region a Green Powerhouse, details the many benefits that exist for the area when it comes to clean energy technology.

The report defines a number of ways that the development of green technology companies would benefit the region including:

The addition of more than 10,000 high-paying jobs in thriving businesses and research centers
New opportunities for Central Valley farmers to grow high-value crops for fuel, chemicals and medicines
New export trade possibilities, tapping into the $100 billion per year global market for clean energy
A substantial increase in energy efficiency and a huge reduction in dependence on fossil fuels

In order to spart interest in companies so they’ll invest in the area the report is to spark venture capital interest in the area by proposing a $50,000 competition among the region’s high-technology start-up companies to help synergize and leverage the vast capabilities of the area’s clean energy intelligence and research expertise.

The contest, which proposes to offer a $25,000 grand prize, $15,000 second prize and $10,000 people’s choice award will be designed to challenge the Capital Region’s many high-tech companies and entrepreneurs to create business plans designed to bring clean energy technologies to the market.