Cantwell, Murray Applaud USDA Grant to Eastern WA Biofuel Project

SEATTLE, WA – Today, Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Patty Murray (D-WA) applauded the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s decision to award a $90,000 grant to help a business in Eastern Washington develop a biofuel production process that will enable farmers to produce and sell biofuel. Farm Power, located in Rockford, WA, in Spokane County, will use the funds to develop an automated control system and automated feedstock delivery system for producing biofuel from Kentucky bluegrass straw. Once commercialized, the technology will create jobs, provide an additional source of revenue for farmers, and increase domestic fuel production from recycled agricultural waste.
“Farm Power’s bio-refinery research facility is leading our state and the nation in developing biofuel production systems from farm waste,” said Senator Cantwell. “Projects like Farm Power’s can provide our farmers with new income streams and help transition our nation from it’s dangerous overdependence on foreign oil.”
“This is another critical step in giving our farmers the tools and technology to lead the way in creating new energy sources and new economic development opportunities,” said Senator Murray. “Additional biofuel capacity has the potential to create jobs in rural communities throughout our state and will help our continued efforts to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”
In January 2010, Senator Cantwell wrote a letter to Ted Anderson, Business Program Specialist at the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Development Office in support of Farm Power’s grant application. Senator Murray helped to secured $750,000 in federal funds to kick off this important project.
"The Farm Power Straw to Energy Project is a leader in the use of bio-mass gasification technology to convert crop residues (straw and wood products) to synthesis gas that is used to operate a diesel generator to produce electricity,” said Jack Zimmer, Project Director, Farm Power. “This grant will allow Farm Power to develop an automated control system that will greatly improve the operation of the system and move the system to commercialization."
"Farm Power is extremely grateful to Senators Cantwell and Murray for their continued support of this critically important project,” said Judith Gilmore, Volunteer Board Member, Farm Power. “Due to their determined efforts, Spokane County will soon be the site of a fully functional alternative energy plant using agricultural harvest by-products to produce electricity and biofuel. This effort coming to fruition at the very time that the country is seeking such assistance is happening due to the dedicated efforts of private individuals and government working together to ultimately create a new horizon in energy resources – the ultimate in green technology."
Farm Power is one of 61 recipients across the nation receiving a Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) from USDA to help create jobs and economic opportunity in rural areas. The RBEG program helps to finance and facilitate the development of new and existing businesses in rural America. More information is available at: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_rbeg.html.