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Iowa expected to gain blender pumps

Iowa expected to gain blender pumps

Year-round sales of E15, along with added funding through the Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program (RFIP),  are expected to help  spur more fuel retailers  in the state to install the blender pumps, which offer consumers more choices at the pump.

“I expect demand to pick up with E15 now that it’s available year around,” said Paul Ovrum with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

Currently, there are about 1,000 E15 pumps at 200 stations across the state.

The RFIP, which began in 2007, provides cost-share grants to Iowa retailers to upgrade fueling infrastructure to offer E15, E85 and/or biodiesel blends. The program has led to millions of dollars of private economic investment and hundreds of new stations offering biofuels at the pump.

For fiscal 2020 $3 million was included in a bill to fund the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund.

“Another year of funding will ensure that more Iowa retailers can continue to build off this success and driver access to Iowa’s clean-burning biofuels will grow,” said Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Managing Director Lucy Norton.

Components of the program

The Renewable Fuel Infrastructure Program has two primary components and one secondary component. The first primary component is retail motor fuel sites for E85, registered E15 or biodiesel, to improve motor fuel retail sites by installing, replacing or converting motor fuel storage and dispensing infrastructure.

The second primary component is biodiesel terminal facilities, which focus on bulk tank storage facilities, and terminal facilities that store and dispense biodiesel fuels or store, blend and dispense biodiesel or biodiesel blended fuel.

To date, RFIP has spent more than $32 million expanding access to renewable fuels for blender pumps, storage tanks and other fuel infrastructure.

The program uses grant incentives to encourage these upgrades.

Reimbursement can be for 50% of the costs for specific components of a project with a three-year commitment required to sell certain renewable fuels.  A five-year commitment to store and sell renewable fuels and install certain equipment can result in up to 70% reimbursement for specific equipment or installation costs. Heat biodiesel terminal equipment and/or infrastructure can receive funding for up to $100,000 per project.

The added biofuel sales will also help the state’s ag economy, Ovrum said.

“Offering E15 all year will also create another avenue for sales of corn and beans. I expect to see an increase in demand of beans and corn  over time.”

With the ban removed, he added this could help rural economies address market uncertainty.

“Once enacted, it should have a positive impact on corn and bean prices,” he added

To apply for the Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program, visit www.iowaagriculture.gov.

Kort is a freelance writer in Ankeny.



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