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USDA Funding for Advanced Biofuels Projects

On Monday the United Stated Department of Agriculture announced the availability of $181 million in loan guarantees to develop commercial-scale biorefineries or retrofit existing facilities with appropriate technology to develop advanced biofuels.

Algae technologies have qualified for this type of financing in the past, and ABO member companies should carefully examine this program.

In 2011, USDA provided Sapphire Energy a $54.5 million loan guarantee to build a refined algal oil commercial facility. Sapphire’s Green Crude Farm is now producing renewable algal oil that can be further refined to replace petroleum-derived diesel and jet fuel. More than 600 jobs were created throughout the first phase of construction at the facility, and 30 full-time employees currently operate the plant.

With additional equity from private investors Sapphire was able to repay the remaining balance on its USDA-backed loan earlier this year.

Applications for biorefinery assistance are due by January 30, 2014.

More information about how to apply is available in the October 2, 2013 Federal Register announcement or by contacting the USDA Rural Development National Office.


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