The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is now accepting applications from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., for up to $100 million in grants under the Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership (BIP).
The agency first revealed the BIP in May. Specifically, the USDA will administer competitive grants to match funding for state-led efforts to expand the infrastructure for distribution of higher blends of ethanol, such as E15 and E85. States that are able to provide greater than a one-to-one ratio in funding will receive higher consideration. States may work with private entities to enhance their offer.
A typical gasoline pump delivers fuel with 10% ethanol, and the USDA says BIP funds must be used to pay a portion of the costs related to the installation of fuel pumps and related infrastructure dedicated to the distribution of higher ethanol blends at vehicle fueling locations. The matching contributions may be used for these items or for related costs, such as additional infrastructure to support pumps, marketing, education, data collection, program evaluation and administrative costs.
The USDA says this new investment seeks to double the number of fuel pumps capable of supplying higher blends of ethanol to consumers. According to the agency, this will expand markets for farmers, support rural economic growth and the jobs that come with it, and ultimately give consumers more choices at the pump.
Applications must be submitted by July 15 through grants.gov.