Beginning July 1, 2023, $450 million will be available for the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP). Each quarter, $90 million will be made available to support a variety of fueling operations:
- Approximately $67.5 million will be made available to transportation fueling facilities, including fueling stations, convenience stores, larger retail stores that also sell fuel, and transportation, freight, rail, and marine fleet facilities (fleets).
- Approximately $18 million will be available to fuel distribution facilities, including terminal operations, depots, and midstream operations.
- Up to $4.5 million will be made available to home heating oil distribution facilities.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) intends to open five application windows for HBIIP between July 1, 2023, and Sept. 30, 2024. A sixth application window will be opened if funding has not been exhausted.
The USDA is targeting resources and investments, including ethanol and biodiesel, to improve the strength and resiliency of America’s renewable fuel markets. Through the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP), transportation fueling, fuel distribution facilities, and fleets will be able to apply for grants to help install, retrofit, and/or upgrade fuel storage, dispenser pumps, and related equipment and infrastructure to enable the applicant to market and/or consume higher biodiesel and/or ethanol blends.
HBIIP paves the way to economic recovery for America’s biofuel producers, stimulates a critical market for U.S. farmers and ranchers, and moves the country closer to its goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
HBIIP significantly increases the sales and use of higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel by expanding the infrastructure for renewable fuels derived from U.S. agricultural products. The program is also intended to share costs related to building out biofuel-related infrastructure.
Cost-share grants and/or incentives will be made available for biodiesel blends higher than 5%, such as B20 or higher, and ethanol blends higher than 10%, such as E15 or higher. Applicants are required to provide at least $1 (USD) for every $1 (USD) in grant funds provided by USDA.
Funds may only be used for eligible equipment, infrastructure, and related expenses to support the sale and use of higher biofuel blends. Preference may be given to projects that distribute significant volumes of higher biodiesel and/or ethanol blends.
At least $1 for every $1 in grant funds provided.
- Required to receive a HBIIP grant.
- Secured by applicant. Applicants must have written commitments, such as bank statements for cash and Letters of Commitment for in-kind contributions.
- All eligible project costs not covered by Grant funds.
- Consist of cash and In-kind contributions.
- No in-kind from applicants.
- Not from other federal grants.
- Passive tax equity contributions allowed.
Eligible Project Costs
- Approved costs incurred during the grant period.
- Purchase, installation, and/or retrofitting of fuel dispensers and related equipment and infrastructure to support higher blend fuel sales.
- Construction, replacement, and improvements related to higher blends infrastructure.
- Fees related to construction permits and licenses.
- Professional service fees.
Ineligible Project Costs
- Costs incurred after the grant period.
- Renewable diesel projects.
- Sustainable Aviation Fuel projects.
- Used equipment and vehicles.
- Construction or equipment costs that would be incurred regardless of the HBIIP project.
- Purchase of real property or land.
- Lease or mortgage payments.
- Expenses associated with applying for HBIIP.
- Expenses associated with reporting, disbursement, performance and service of HBIIP.
Due to supply chain delays, the USDA encourages retailers applying for HBIIP funding to start ordering equipment and scheduling contractors early in the process. Costs can be incurred once a complete application is submitted, however no construction can begin until the agency completes its environmental review(s).
Grants cover up to 75% or $5 million of total project costs to help facilities convert to higher-blend fuels. The fuels must be greater than 10% for ethanol and greater than 5% for biodiesel.
How to Get Started
To apply for HBIIP funds, visit the HBIIP website here. Also, check out the resources below to make navigating the application process a little smoother. There will be five application windows for HBIIP between July 1, 2023, and Sept. 30, 2024. A sixth application window will be opened if funding has not been exhausted.
- Start with the HBIIP Checklist Online Application System located under the To Apply tab on the USDA’s HBIIP webpage.
- Applicants should register for a SAM UEI number as soon as possible. Applicants must have an UEI number before requesting access to the HBIIP application. The SAM UEI request process can take 4-8 weeks.
- Once the application period opens, applicants will have 90 days to complete the process. Applicants must have registered with SAM.gov and received a UEI number to receive access to the application. Depending on the size of the operation and available resources to commit to the project, it is recommended that applicants start as soon as possible to ensure enough time to complete the required steps and submit an eligible project for consideration.
- Remember that project costs are not eligible for reimbursement if they are completed prior to submission of an application.
- Check out United States Department of Energy’s Biodiesel Handling and Use Guide (5th Edition) to answer all of your questions about how retailers can use their infrastructure to safely and legally offer B5 and higher blends.
- Prior to selling biodiesel blends higher to B20, retailers must notify the EPA.
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires that all public pumps dispensing biodiesel blends above B5 (5% biodiesel) indicate such with an approved label (or set of labels if dispensing more than one blend or any blend percentage or combination greater than 5% renewable diesel or biodiesel).
Resources and Information
For USDA checklists and important resources, visit the To Apply tab on the HBIIP website. Additional information is also available via the Federal Register Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) here and Grants.gov.
View additional information and register for the USDA Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP) Overview and Enrollment Orientation scheduled for July 6 at 2:30 PM CST at this link.
For background information on the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program and previous funding rounds, previously recorded webinars are available at this link.
The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) launched a series of short, fuel marketer-focused videos (linked below) breaking down the HBIIP application process into manageable pieces to encourage retailers to apply. While the videos have an ethanol focus, they were produced in coordination with USDA and provide helpful tips and information on the HBIIP application process.
- Step 1 – Getting Started On Your HBIIP Application
- Step 2A – Hurry Up and (Get This Stuff Done While You) Wait
- Step 2B – Hurry Up and (Get This Stuff Done While You) Wait
- Step 3 – I’m In! Navigating the HBIIP Applications
- Step 4 – Devil’s In the Details – Filling in the Application
- Step 5A – Station Information (and Tips to Raise Your Score)
- Step 5B – Match Vs. Capped Costs (and Tips to Raise Your Score)
- Step 6 – Financial Info: Show USDA the Money
Jeff Carpenter, HBIIP Manager, United States Department of Agriculture, Office of Rural Development
Email: HBIIP@gmail.com Phone: (402) 437-5554
Technical and Grant Writing Support
Clean Fuels Alliance America, the Clean Fuels Foundation, and others are working with several biomass-based diesel industry partners to make the application process easier. Applicants are encouraged to reach out to Clean Fuels for information at firstname.lastname@example.org. These partners can assist your team with:
- Obtaining a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI).
- Accessing the USDA Application Portal via a HBIIP online access request to USDA.
- Developing a technical report for your project.
- Securing match funds where available.
- Competing required government forms, environmental checklist(s), and environmental report(s).
- Reviewing application and related project information.
- Submitting your application via the USDA Application Portal.
Why Sell or Consume Biodiesel Blends?
- Support our economy by purchasing biodiesel made right here in Michigan.
- Provide a valuable market for Michigan farmers and their soybeans.
- Provide customers with a high-performance and lower-carbon option at the pump.
- Bolster our rural economies by local businesses and jobs supported by in-state biodiesel production.
- Show your commitment to improving air quality and human health.
Originally shared by the Nebraska Ethanol Board, June 30, 2023. Updated for purpose and clarity July 2, 2023.