Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund awards $334,765 in grants for biofuels projects

first_imgThe Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund has awarded $334,765 in grant funds to develop local biofuels and foster the development of a viable biomass-to-biofuels industry in Vermont that uses local resources to replace petroleum with renewable alternatives.Ellen Kahler, VSJF Executive Director, stated that the “catastrophe of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is yet another reminder of the consequences of our dependence on non-renewable fossil fuels for energy.  As the devastating ecological, cultural, and economic consequences of the spill unfold in the Gulf of Mexico, Vermont is continuing to explore opportunities for entrepreneurs, farmers, educators and others to develop renewable, sustainable energy alternatives. ““The projects funded through our Vermont Biofuels Initiative (VBI) are aimed at transitioning Vermont away from non-renewable energy toward local, renewable energy production.  Our oilseed-to-biodiesel grants will help Vermont’s dairy and other farms control fuel and feed costs by producing biodiesel and protein meal, and create new sources of farm revenue from the sale of locally produced livestock feed, vegetable oil, and bio-based energy,” said Biofuels Director Netaka White. Additionally, VBI grants are helping to stimulate research and development of algae as a biofuel feedstock. “Algae has the potential to substantially reduce fossil fuel consumption, while creating a host of new energy and technology business opportunities,” White said.The VSJF awarded $334,765 through two competitive grant rounds designed to accelerate the development of Vermont’s green economy through local production of liquid biofuels.  The VBI is funded by a Congressionally Directed Award from the Office of U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy through the U.S. Department of Energy, various private foundation sources, and the State of Vermont General Fund.For more information on the VSJF or the Vermont Biofuels Initiative visit www.vsjf.org(link is external).The Grantees include:$30,000     Ekolott and Living Earth Farms in Newbury, VT — to gathercomparative agronomic and economic data on organic and conventional methods of oilseed crop production and processing and evaluate organic desiccants, deer repellant, planting and harvest times to reduce crop loss to birds and deer.$45,000     Nava Bio-Energy in Brookfield, VT — to improve processingtechnology, refine the process chain, and maximize production in order to lower production costs and improve profitability of biodiesel production in Central Vermont.$30,000    Otter Creek Biofuels / Woods Market Garden in Brandon, VT — togather comparative agronomic and economic data on organic and conventional methods of oilseed crop production and processing in order to expand oilseed crop production and oilseed pressing in West Central Vermont for eventual processing into biodiesel.$35,250     Rainbow Valley Biodiesel in Brandon, VT — to increase grainstorage and oilseed pressing capacity in order to expand the scale of oilseed and biodiesel production in Addison and Rutland counties.$64,515     Carbon Harvest in Burlington, VT to test the suitability of fluegas from landfills in order to determine the optimal conditions for commercial algae cultivation.$65,000     General Systems Research in Burlington, VT — to identify andcultivate native  microalgae species suited for cold weather and use a rapid screening method of lipids quantification.$65,000     Green Mountain Spark in Burlington, VT — to experiment withusing a photochemical process to separate oil from algae and turn the oil into biofuel in the same photobioreactor.The VSJF is a nonprofit organization formed by the State Legislature in 1995 to provide early stage grant funding and technical assistance to catalyze and accelerate the development of markets for sustainably produced goods and services.  The VSJF currently focuses on biofuels development, sustainable forest products industry development, and the expansion of local food systems in Vermont.Source: VSJF. 7.14.2010last_img