Late last week, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it will be investing $26m into developing infrastructure to support wide scale rollout of higher-blend renewable fuels. Through this new scheme, it is anticipated that availability of these biofuels will expand by 822 million gallons each year. The new initiative will be rolled out across 23 states.
“Investments like these increase opportunities for American consumers to make climate-smart decisions and move the country closer to President Biden’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050,” said Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Justin Maxson in a statement. “By expanding the availability of higher-blend biofuels, we’re giving consumers more environmentally-friendly fuel choices when they fill up at the pump and stimulating an important market for US farmers and ranchers.”
Under the latest investment, Californian firm AltAir Paramount will instal a pump, piping and safety infrastructure at its fuel distribution facility. The project is anticipated to boost biodiesel sales by 135 million gallons annually. In addition, North Carolina’s Zenith Energy will install a truck rack biodiesel blending system at a fuel distribution facility – anticipated to increase biodiesel sales by 24 million gallons per year.
The investment is being made under the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP), which was established to expand renewable fuel infrastructure in the country. The program was also motivated by the fact that while farmers in the country are producing record amounts of feedstock for renewable fuels, lower commodity prices means uptake is not yet stable.
According to the HBIIP, around 93% of vehicles currently registered in the US are compatible with renewable fuels, while the country also has over 22 million ‘flex-fuel vehicles’. To date, the USDA has invested $66.4 million in projects geared at supporting biofuels – with these projects anticipated to increase biofuel sales by 1.2 billion gallons per year.
The US has seen a rising trend of investments into boosting biofuel production and availability, and Reuters last week reported that the US Environmental Protection Agency is expected to recommend a higher biofuels blending mandate for 2022 than previous years.