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Federal Funding Supports Biofuel Research

Brian Hicks

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted July 10, 2012

New Hampshire stands to benefit greatly from new federal funding that was just announced for the biofuels sector.

The U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Navy and Energy and the Energy Department both issued notice of sizable fund packages—$30 million and $32 million respectively—for biofuel research.

Funds from the USDA will go to match private investments in advanced drop-in biofuels, and the DOE investments will support research in the early stages, according to Sea Coast Online.

And the funding comes in good time to help several biofuels concerns out.

Simply Green, for example, is one of New Hampshire’s largest biofuels distributors. The company’s general manager Joel Bobbett told Sea Coast Online:

“This is some desperately needed infrastructural support for biofuels. By giving producers more tools to control costs, this should alleviate some of the price gap between biofuels and traditional petroleum. There are active biodiesel production facilities in New Hampshire that can meet additional demand were they to have access to something like this.”

Simply Green and similar companies can benefit by expanding research into cellulosic ethanol, made from non-food crops such as switchgrass and pulpwood, which is considered to be “greener” than corn-based ethanol. Without funding, however, it can be very expensive to produce.

Mascoma, a Lebanon-based company, has already been producing celluslosic ethanol.

Last year, Mascoma proposed a joint venture with Valero Energy Corp. in Michigan to develop a $232 million cellulosic ethanol facility.

Federal funding, venture capital, and support from the state of Michigan all came together to realize the deal, which drew derision from conservatives.

Under the Obama administration, the nation has made real progress toward getting green initiatives off the ground. The Navy, USDA, and the DOE have worked together to develop “drop-in” replacements for conventional fuels and have devoted extensive funding toward such projects.

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