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Grants, loans available for biofuels

Staff report • Apr 13, 2007 at 9:03 AM

KINGSPORT - The state of Tennessee has implemented several grant and loans programs to help fuel the push toward biofuels, from the farmer to the producer to the retailer.

Earlier this year, Gov. Phil Bredesen announced that $3.5 million in grants and loans are available to help increase the accessibility, development and production of biofuels in Tennessee.

"I believe we're at a critical point in which Tennessee can be a national leader in the development of the alternative fuels market," said Bredesen. "It's a smart energy strategy, a smart economic strategy and a smart environmental strategy. Most importantly, it helps create new markets and new opportunities for Tennessee farmers."

• Feedstock Processing Demonstration Loan Program

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture have partnered to offer a Feedstock Processing Demonstration Loan Program. The program includes $1 million in loans available to help increase Tennessee farm income and production of alternative fuel feedstock.

"It's going to help provide more opportunities for Tennessee farmers to create this product for companies looking to produce alternative fuels. So it's definitely going to benefit the farm community, and will help bring jobs to rural areas of the state," said ECD spokesperson Dawn Rutledge Jones.

The first round of applications were due March 15. After the first round of loans has been awarded, additional loan program cycles will be announced until the available funds are exhausted. For more information on the Feedstock Processing Demonstration Loan and application materials, visit www.state.tn.us/ecd/feedstockgrant.htm.

• Alternative Fuel Innovation Grants

Another $1 million has been allocated for "Alternative Fuel Innovation Grants," being administered by the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation. This program is designed to help local governments and state-funded universities convert their vehicle fleets to biofuels. Because biofuels are clean burning, applicants in areas currently out of attainment with federal air quality standards will be given priority.

Maximum grant awards are $40,000 for fuel purchasing, maintenance or fuel promotional projects and $100,000 for capital projects. Applications will be accepted through May 31. Additional grant cycles will be announced for up to three years or until the funds are exhausted.

For more information on Alternative Fuel Innovations Grants and application materials, visit www.state.tn.us/environment/altfuels/funding.

• Green Island Corridor Grant Program

The Tennessee Department of Transportation has $1.5 million available for its "Green Island Corridor Grant Program." The program is designed to establish a statewide network of publicly accessible refueling stations offering B20 and E85.

The program will assist retail stations with the capital costs of converting or installing the infrastructure to offer B20 and E85 biofuels to the public. Retail stations will be required to provide at least 20 percent of these capital costs. The department hopes to have more than 50 biofuel pumps in place along interstates and major highway corridors and in major population centers this year.

Grant applications were due April 12. More information on TDOT's Biofuel Green Island Corridor Grant Project is available at www.tdot.state.tn.us/biofuel/default.htm.

For more information on Tennessee's work to promote the production and use of alternative fuels, visit www.tdec.net/altfuels.

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