On October 28, 2015, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that the Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDARD) had been awarded $3 million through the Biofuels Infrastructure Program (BIP). This $3 million along with matching and in-kind funds from the MDARD, Corn Marketing Program of Michigan (CMPM) and private partners makes up the funds available for this request for proposals (RFP). On December 15, 2015 MDARD entered into an agreement with CMPM to be the Administrator of the grant. This RFP is soliciting project proposals that will be reviewed in order to make awards for the purchase and installation of ethanol-compatible infrastructure at fueling stations in the state. The BIP’s primary component is to make higher level blends of ethanol available to consumers.
The purpose of this grant is to increase the number of retail motor fuel sites for E85, registered E15 or other ethanol blends between E15 and E85 by installing, replacing or converting motor fuel storage and dispensing infrastructure.
The resulting contract with the USDA-FSA provides funding for infrastructure in the following categories:
- E15/25 retrofits of existing gasoline pumps
- Blender pumps capable of dispensing E85, E15 and potentially other mid-level ethanol blends
- Dedicated E85 pumps
- Underground storage tanks for ethanol blends
The USDA further added in their BIP Frequently Asked Questions the following justification for this funding:
Infrastructure constraints and other barriers currently limit the market for biofuels and thereby the commodities used to produce them, contributing to lower commodity prices. In particular, the nation’s fueling infrastructure is not sufficiently flexible to accommodate large quantities of higher ethanol blends that could enable biofuels to fill a significantly greater portion of the nation’s fuel supply. Most vehicle fueling pumps can deliver only one type of fuel – E10, which contains a maximum of 10 percent ethanol. Higher ethanol blends, such as E15 and E85, offer significant potential for using more ethanol in the U.S. fuel supply chain.
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