The United States Department of Agriculture, or USDA, recently started accepting applications for its new funding program. The program supports the production of advanced biofuels, renewable chemicals, and biobased product manufacturing. It could affect researchers in rural areas, such as South Dakota, where some of this research is done.
The USDA’s new assistance program provides up to $250 million in loans. It funds construct and retrofit biorefineries to produce advanced biofuels and renewable chemicals.
Lillian Salerno is the business administrator for the rural business cooperative service at the USDA. She says the USDA is partnering with funding industries to advance biofuel research.
“This is sort of a practical way to advance manufacturing and production of biofuels and renewable chemicals. And, you know for us, we’re the rural development mission so it also helps increase commerce in rural areas. And what we’re all trying to do as part of an energy policy and as part of a domestic policy is to make sure that rural communities are thriving,” Salerno explained.
She says the new program allows more researchers to apply.
Dr. Robb Winter is the head of the department of chemical and biological engineering at the School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City. He says the program will help accelerate the diversification of biorefinery product portfolio.
“I believe what this grant application provides is a broader impact to a wider verity of possibilities in research in development for developing biorefineries,” said Winter.
Winter adds, the funding might provide opportunities to move his department’s research into commercialization.
Applications for the first funding cycle are due by October first.