FAQ: What are “advanced biofuels?” How are they different from corn ethanol?
Answer: U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced earlier this summer that USDA is investing $8.8 million to boost the production of advanced biofuels and sustain jobs at renewable energy facilities in 39 states. USDA continues to lead the way in promotion of advanced biofuel production, from implementing the revised Farm Bill bio-refinery program to the launching of the Green Fleet with the Department of the Navy and developing the Biogas Opportunities Roadmap, which outlines voluntary strategies to overcome barriers to expansion and development of a robust biogas industry within the United States.
Advanced biofuels expand America’s energy options
"Advanced biofuels expand America's energy options and increase our sources of homegrown, renewable energy," Vilsack said. "These payments not only help to spur biofuel production, but also protect the environment and help create jobs by building a renewable energy economy in rural areas."
The funding is being provided through USDA's Advanced Biofuel Payment Program, which was established in the 2008 Farm Bill. Payments are made to biofuels producers based on the amount of advanced biofuels produced from renewable biomass, other than corn kernel starch. Examples of eligible feedstocks include crop residue, food and yard waste, vegetable oil and animal fat.
Through this program to date, USDA has made $308 million in payments to 382 producers in 47 states and territories. These payments have produced enough biofuel to provide more than 391 billion kilowatt hours of electric energy.
A pillar to strengthen the rural community
Secretary Vilsack has recognized the biobased economy as one of the pillars that strengthen rural communities. Through the Advanced Biofuel Payment Program and other USDA programs, USDA is working to support research, investment, infrastructure necessary to build a strong biofuels industry that creates jobs and broadens the range of feedstocks used to produce renewable fuel.
In past eight years USDA invested $332 million to accelerate research on renewable energy ranging from genomic research on bioenergy feedstock crops, to development of biofuel conversion processes and cost/benefit estimates of renewable energy production.
Launching of the U.S. Navy’s “Great Green Fleet”
In January, Secretary Vilsack joined Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus to launch the Great Green Fleet, and witnessed destroyer USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110) being replenished with advanced biofuel made from waste beef fat. Aviation biofuels, like those used by the Navy, are creating new markets for energy created from agricultural waste products.
USDA has also supported efforts to build six new biorefineries to produce advanced biofuels in Louisiana, Georgia, Oregon, Nevada, North Carolina and Iowa, in addition to three existing facilities in New Mexico, Michigan and Florida.
What does a changing climate mean for agriculture?
Investments in renewable energy and the biobased economy are a leading part of USDA's commitment to mitigating climate change and promoting a clean-energy economy. USDA is examining what a changing climate means to agriculture and how USDA is working to reduce greenhouse gases. For more information visit Chapter 5 of medium.com/usda-results.
Quad County Corn Processors Co-Op of Galva, Iowa, is receiving a $2,011 payment to convert more than 39 million gallons of corn kernel fiber into 660,000 gallons of cellulosic ethanol. The company converts the fiber into ethanol and other products using a process developed by its own research team. View the complete list of producers receiving payments at rd.usda.gov.