TOLEDO, OHIO – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) praised the announcement of $19,980,930 in new Recovery Act funds that will support a pilot project aimed at converting waste biomass to clean diesel fuel. The funds were announced today in Toledo by U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Brown, who recently convened a clean energy and agriculture summit in Northwest Ohio, wrote to Chu in September urging him to allocate funding for the project.
“This will allow Ohio to continue to lead the nation in clean energy research and development,” Brown said. “This funding will help develop a clean source of fuel from waste feedstock. It is not only an investment in energy independence – it is an investment in rural America and job growth in the clean energy sector. By continuing to research, develop, and manufacture this sort of technology, we will make Ohio the Silicon Valley of Clean Energy Manufacturing.”
Awarded to Renewable Energy Institute International (REII), the funds will support a collaboration among REII, The University of Toledo, Midwest Terminals of Toledo, and Red Lion Bio-Energy. The funds will support a pilot project aimed at converting waste biomass and other agricultural resources into clean diesel.
In his Sep. 28 letter of support for the project, Brown said that he hopes the project will “make significant investments in our country’s renewable energy portfolio by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, decreasing the need for landfills and residue burning, increasing the manufacturing capability of biorefinery components and technology, and providing many jobs for Ohio and the nation.”
Brown also pointed to Northwest Ohio’s leadership in clean energy when writing to Chu: “Northwest Ohio has already established itself as a world-class leader in renewable energy research and deployment.”
The project in Toledo is one of 19 biorefinery projects announced today receiving a share of $564 million in Recovery Act funding. The projects are intended to lay the foundation for full commercial-scale development of a biomass industry in the U.S. and to reduce fossil fuel consumption by displacing petroleum with clean sources of energy.
In August, Brown hosted a Summit on Clean Energy and Agriculture at Owens Community College. Along with the Ohio Corn Growers Association and the American Farmland Trust, Brown convened the summit to explore how investments in clean energy can benefit Ohio’s agriculture industry.
Recently described as “Congress’ leading proponent of American manufacturing,” Brown has been working with his colleagues to promote American manufacturing and create jobs through investments in clean energy. Working to position Ohio as the Silicon Valley of Clean Energy Manufacturing, Brown introduced the Investments for Manufacturing Progress and Clean Technology (IMPACT) Act of 2009, which would create a $30 billion Manufacturing Revolving Loan Fund to help small and mid-sized manufacturers improve energy efficiency, retool for the clean energy industry, and expand our nation’s clean energy manufacturing operations. The bill is estimated to have the potential to generate more than $100 billion in revenue for clean energy businesses and create 680,000 direct manufacturing jobs and nearly two million indirect jobs over five years.