3 N.H. biofuel firms win production expansion funds

3 NH companies are among 125 selected by the Department of Agriculture to recieve payment to spur the biofuel industry

A wood pellet producer and two companies that convert waste vegetable oil into biofuel are the three New Hampshire organizations that will receive federal payments through an agricultural program that aims to expand the production of advanced biofuels in rural areas.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has named 125 producers in the country that will receive federal payments totaling $19.4 million through its Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels.Passed as part of the 2008 Farm Bill, the program is meant to spur the biofuel industry and encourage research and investment in a wide range of fuel sources, including waste products.

Under the program, payments are made to eligible producers based on the amount of biofuels they produce from renewable biomass (but not including corn kernel starch). Eligible sources include crop residue; animal, food and yard waste material; vegetable oil; and animal fat.

The three New Hampshire companies that will receive funds through the program are New England Wood Pellet LLC in Jaffrey, which will receive $22,781; Smartfuel America LLC in Seabrook, which will receive $5,468; and American Energy Independence Company LLC, which will receive $1,805.New England Wood Pellet, which was founded in 1992, makes wood heating fuel pellets and has a manufacturing facility in Jaffrey ands two others in New York. According to its website, it has a combined plant capacity of more than 250,000 tons per year. The Jaffrey plant makes roughly 85,000 tons of fuel each year from about 150,000 tons of wood residue purchased throughout the Northeast.Smartfuel America and Amenico both collect waste vegetable oil from restaurants and process it into biofuel.

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