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Financial Resources

HBIIP 101

In July 2023, the USDA initiated the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP) with a $450 million budget, opening applications to fuel retailers quarterly. The current application window closes on June 30, 2024. The program aims to enhance sustainable fuel markets, offering grants to transportation fueling and distribution facilities for ethanol and biodiesel infrastructure improvements.

Key Points

  • Quarterly application windows with $90 million each quarter.
  • Funds for fueling and distribution facilities, with specific allocations.
  • HBIIP contributes to economic recovery, supports biofuel producers, and aligns with President Biden’s carbon emissions goals.

HBIIP Application Windows

  • January 1, 2024 to March 31, 2024
  • April 1, 2024 to June 30, 2024
  • July 1, 2024 to September 30, 2024

For more information, visit the USDA's HBIIP webpage, the Federal Register or Grants.gov.

Notice of Funding Opportunity

 

What does this program do?

The USDA is targeting resources and investments, including ethanol and biodiesel, to improve the strength and resiliency of America’s sustainable fuel markets. Through HBIIP, transportation fueling and fuel distribution facilities will be able to apply for grants to help install, retrofit, and/or upgrade fuel storage, dispenser pumps, related equipment and infrastructure to be able to sell ethanol and biodiesel.

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 President Biden’s 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 fuel ethanol blends higher than 10%, such as E15 or higher, and biodiesel blends higher than 5%, such as B20 or higher.

 

What funding is available?

Funds may only be used for eligible equipment, infrastructure and related expenses to support the sale and use of higher biofuel blends.

There is a matching funds requirement. Matching funds must cover the remaining eligible costs not covered by grant funds. It is:

• Required to receive a HBIIP grant
• Secured by applicant – must have written commitments, such as bank statements for cash and Letters of Commitment for in-kind contributions
• Remainder – 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 Costs:

  • Incurred after a complete application is submitted;
  • Purchase, installation, and/or retrofitting of fuel dispensers related equipment and infrastructure to support higher blend fuel sales;
  • Construction, replacement, improvements;
  • Fees – construction permits, and licenses;
  • Professional service fees.

Ineligible Costs:

  • 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 real property or land;
  • Lease payments;
  • Expenses associated with applying for HBIIP; and
  • 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 do we get started?

To apply, visit the USDA's HBIIP website here.

The USDA encourages fuel retailers of all sizes to apply, sharing costs for biofuel-related infrastructure development. The program has a targeted assistance goal of 50% of funding going toward those owning ten or fewer stations and prioritizes applicants who meet geographic diversity points, like being the only station within a one-mile radius and/or stations located within one mile of the interstate that are easily accessible.

Headshot of Jeff Carpenter.

Jeff Carpenter, HBIIP Manager, Rural Development
Contact at HBIIP@gmail.com or (402) 437-5554

 

Helpful Tips

Start with the HBIIP Checklist Online Application System, which can be found under the To Apply tab on the USDA’s HBIIP webpage.

You must “Register Your Entity” within the SAM system to be able to apply. We recommend starting this process as soon as possible because it can take some time for the verification process to be completed.

Prior to selling higher ethanol blends, retailers must notify the EPA with plans for misfueling mitigation and compliance. You can adopt existing Misfueling Mitigation Plans. Find an example here. Read this for more details.

The Nebraska Ethanol Board keeps a small number of labels in our office that are free for fuel retailers. Learn more here

Check out the Nebraska Ethanol Board's guidance on infrastructure and equipment compatibility to help answer questions about how retailers can use their infrastructure to offer higher blends.

 

Tutorials

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. The videos were produced in coordination with USDA.

Try the Flex Check E15 compatibility tool to see if your existing equipment is compatible with E15.

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

 

Technical & Grant Writing Support

Several partners in the ethanol industry are available to make the process for applying easier. They are listed below, in alphabetical order, by organization. Some of these services do incur costs.

These partners can assist your team with:

  • USDA Application entry (Portal)
  • Technical Report
  • Matching funds
  • Government Forms
  • Environmental Checklist(s), and Environmental Report(s)
  • Review
  • Client communication
  • Final meeting/walkthrough with your team
  • And more!
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