The USDA opened a new, 30-day application period Dec. 21 to provide retailers one more opportunity to apply for grant money still available under its Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP). In October, USDA announced several recipients of the up to $100 million in matching grants to increase ethanol and biodiesel sales. In this second round, the remaining $22 million is another chance for retailers who got started during the original 90-day timeframe but couldn’t complete their grant applications before that window closed.

Through this program, transportation fueling and biodiesel 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. Cost-share grants and/or incentives will be made available for fuel ethanol/biodiesel blends such as E15 or higher.

What does this program do?

The purpose of the HBIIP is to significantly increase 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 encourage a more comprehensive approach to market higher blends by sharing the costs related to building out biofuel-related infrastructure.

Who may apply?

Transportation fueling facilities including:

  • Fueling stations, convenience stores, hypermarket fueling stations, fleet facilities, and similar entities with capital investments;

Fuel distribution facilities, such as:

  • Terminal operations, depots, and midstream partners, and similarly equivalent operations.

What funding is available?

Approximately $15 million is available for fuel station owners. Fueling stations, convenience stores, hypermarket fueling stations, fleet facilities, and similar entities with capital investments) for eligible implementation activities related to higher blends of fuel ethanol greater than 10 percent ethanol, such as E15 or higher;

Approximately $7 million will be made available to transportation fueling facilities and fuel distribution facilities including: Terminal operations, depots, and midstream partners, for eligible implementation activities related to higher blends of biodiesel greater than 5 percent biodiesel, such as B20 or higher.

Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA)

What are the terms?

Awards to successful applicants will be in the form of cost-share grants for up to 50 percent of total eligible project costs, but not to exceed $3 million, whichever is less.

How do we get started?

To apply, visit the HBIIP website here. The deadline is Jan. 19, 2021. Also, check out the below learning resources to make navigating the application process a little smoother.

USDA Webinars

  • Tuesday, January 4, 1 p.m. CST REGISTER HERE


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.

ACE is also helping retailers understand they may already have the equipment they need to add E15 by encouraging them to try the Flex Check E15 compatibility tool.

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 Support

Renewable Fuels Association again will serve as a technical resource to interested retailers. Contact Cassie Mullen, RFA Director of Market Development, at cmullen@ethanolrfa.org or (832) 415-7882.

Who can answer questions?

For Nebraska, contact Jeff Carpenter, USDA Energy Coordinator/Rural Development, at jeff.carpenter@usda.gov or 402-437-5554.

Why Install Higher Ethanol Blends?

  • Give patrons more options
  • Bolster our rural economies
  • Show your commitment to improving global health

The corn ethanol industry is the largest biofuel producer in the country, with production increasing from about 1.6 billion gallons in 2000 to just over 14 billion gallons in 2014, stimulating economic activity in rural communities.

Because it’s made in America, producers are able to sell ethanol at a cost that offsets the expense (and dangerous toxins) of premium gasoline. This in turn makes a fuel that’s easier on patrons pocketbooks, reduces tailpipe emissions, and it reduces greenhouse gases from traffic pollution by a whopping 42%!

Who Has Added Higher Blends?

  • There are 85+ stations selling E15 in Nebraska. Since January 2019, the Nebraska Ethanol Board has added 30 to our ethanol stations map
  • As of Jan. 31, 2020, Growth Energy reports there are 2,081 retail locations in 30 states offering E15. Click here for updates of retail locations and terminals. 
  • To learn more about getting started with installing higher ethanol blends, reach out to the Board and/or consider attending one of our free E15 Fuel Retailer Workshops. Ethanol Producer Magazine featured the E15 Workshops, which have inspired several fuel retailers to take the next step. Read it here.