WASHINGTON, August 18, 2011—Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development recently issued a $75 million loan guarantee to support construction of a waste-to-energy bioprocessing facility in Vero Beach, Fla., that will produce up to 8 million gallons per year of cellulosic ethanol and create an estimated 380 new jobs. Vilsack toured the facility last week, meeting construction workers and company and community officials to highlight the importance of helping our nation develop the next generation of biofuels.

"Over the past two years, USDA has worked to help our nation develop a national biofuels economy that continues to help us grow and out-compete the rest of the world," said Vilsack. "In the months ahead, USDA will continue to work with federal partners like the Department of Energy, the U.S. Navy and the Federal Aviation Administration to improve our country's energy security and provide sustainable jobs in communities across the country. This cutting-edge facility in Florida, and others like it across America, represents the kind of innovation we need to continue to build a competitively-priced, American-made, homegrown biofuels industry that helps to break our dependence on foreign oil and moves our nation toward a clean energy economy."

The facility, estimated to be completed by the summer of 2012 and being constructed by INEOS New Plant Energy, LLC, will use a gas fermentation process to produce an estimated 8 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol from citrus fruit, vegetable and yard wastes. The plant will consume an estimated 300 dry tons per day of organic material and, in addition to ethanol, produce enough electricity to run the plant and provide for the power needs of 1,400 homes. It is estimated that the facility will create 380 jobs, including 175 construction jobs and 50 full-time jobs in Indian River County, Fla. Compared to gasoline, the ethanol produced by the plant will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 90 percent.

Earlier this week, President Obama announced that the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Energy and Navy will invest up to $510 million during the next three years in partnership with the private sector to produce advanced drop-in aviation and marine biofuels to power military and commercial transportation. The initiative responds to a directive from President Obama issued in March as part of his Blueprint for A Secure Energy Future, the Administration's framework for reducing dependence on foreign oil. Vilsack joined Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus to sign a joint Memorandum of Understanding committing the departments to the initiative.

The INEOS plant builds on these efforts to create new jobs and increase America's energy independence.

The loan guarantee was issued through USDA Rural Development's Biorefinery Assistance Program, authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill.

USDA Rural Development's mission is to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for rural residents. Rural Development fosters growth in homeownership, finances business development, and supports the creation of critical community and technology infrastructure. Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA Rural Development's web site at www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/busp/bprogs.htm.


USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD)

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.