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USDA supports new biofuels

Developers can apply for $320 million in loan guarantees to build plants that produce new-generation biofuels, the U. S. Agriculture Department said Nov. 19, with an eye to bringing the fuels to market.

The loan guarantee program, created by the new U. S. farm law, is intended to speed commercial production of advanced biofuels. Corn (maize) is the feedstock for almost all U. S. renewable fuels nowadays.

Guarantees of $75 million are available for fiscal year 2009, which ends on Sept. 30, 2009, and $245 million in fiscal 2010 (all figures US$).

“Preference will be given to projects where first-of-a-kind technology will be deployed on a commercial scale,” USDA said in a statement.

Advanced biofuels are those that do not rely on the corn kernel starch.

USDA noted cellulosic ethanol, “a key next-generation biofuel,” can be made from switch grass, corn stover, forest waste, fast-growing trees, wood chips and other plant material.



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