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BCAP boosts biofuels farmers

In the US the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) will provide up to 75% of producers' costs in establishing eligible crops in specific areas, while also offering longer-term support for up to five years for annual or non-woody perennial crops and for up to 15 years for woody perennial crops.

Matching payments will assist the transport of eligible materials to qualified biomass conversion facilities.

The programme, which had operated as a pilot scheme, is now activated with the publication of a final rule. Authorised in the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008, BCAP is aimed at ensuring a large enough base of new, non-food, non-feed biomass crops is established in anticipation of future renewable energy demand.

A five-year agreement between the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will research the production of jet fuel from forest and crop residues and other green feedstocks.

The joint initiative aims to cut dependence on foreign oil and to stabilise fuel costs by assessing different feedstocks for bio-refineries.

A wider research plan through USDA’s five Regional Biomass Research Centers is directed at accelerating development of a commercial advanced biofuels industry in the US – including as many rural areas as possible to spread the economic benefits.