Illinois awarded millions to advance accessibility to biofuels

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CHAMPAIGN--The Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture visited the University of Illinois campus Thursday morning to make a big announcement about advancing accessibility to biofuels.

One hundred million federal dollars along with $100 million from partners will be split between 21 states to expand access to higher blends of ethanol, and Illinois is one of them.

"It's the right way to support, not just Midwestern farmers but farmers all across the United States, make sure consumers have choice, and less expensive gas," said Tom Vilsack, Secretary of the USDA.

Vilsack announced that $200 million will go to petroleum marketers and convenience store operators in 21 states to build pumping systems that allow for E-15, E-85 and alternatives to corn-based ethanol.

"We anticipate and expect with this additional resource that we will see 5000 additional systems installed, which will more than double the current number, and obviously lead to more utilization of biofuel," said Vilsack. 

Contracts are still being negotiated, Illinois is expected to receive around $12 million, which will pay for about 400 new pumps, while encouraging market opportunities for biofuels.

"What's happening here is the future growing additional feedstock that will allow us to diversify...to include a variety of other advanced biofuels," said Vilsack.

Researchers and farmers at the U of I say that this announcement will mean big things for the advancements they can make in their work.

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