Ethanol Industry Gets an Update


The USDA announced its Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program this week. Now lawmakers and ag groups start to plan for the ethanol sector revival.

Corn state lawmakers support the USDA’s ethanol grant program designed to expand the availability and sale of renewable fuels. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley stated, “We did get the announcement yesterday of $100 million dollars going to infrastructure for E15, to help filling stations put that in.”

According to the USDA, $86 million dollars will be available for implementation costs for ethanol blends above E10 and $14 million dollars for biodiesel above B5.

Grants for up to 50 percent of total eligible project costs, capping at $5 million dollars, are available to gas stations and other fueling facilities.

Grassley says this step of expanding ethanol availability and use is important but expensive. Grassley states, “It costs a lot of money to put pumps in for E15, or to convert pumps to E15.”

He goes on to say that a program like this was in the works separate from the CARES Act, but the coronavirus crisis helped streamline that support. “I think that this money that was otherwise appropriated to the Department of Agriculture outside of CARES.” Grassley is confident support for the industry will be on the table in future aid packages.

Biofuels groups also welcome the program launch; the American Coalition for Ethanol says that it appreciates the target assistance goal, a provision which makes about 40 percent of funds available for small chains and single stores.

Growth Energy leaders say they applaud the Secretary of Agriculture for supporting homegrown fuels. Chris Bliley, Senior VP at Growth Energy, stated, “We’re looking forward to working with the retail partners to get an application in so that they can further upgrade equipment to use higher ethanol blends, like E15.”

Grassley’s hope is this helps bolster the biofuels industry, which is in a desperate time of need. Grassley state, “One way or the other this is extremely needed help for the ethanol industry, not from the standpoint of taking care of the immediate problem we have of these plants being shut down, but the hope of the future of the ethanol industry is to get more E15.” He adds that when people start driving again, he hopes America will have more E15 available at fuel stations than ever before.

The USDA has not finalized a due date for applications yet.

For more information on how to apply for this program, click HERE.