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Home > News, Media & Government Relations > News Releases > Five energy projects selected for NextGen funding

News Release

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Monday, May 19, 2014

Five energy projects selected for NextGen funding

Part of program to develop locally owned renewable energy 

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has selected five innovative renewable energy projects to receive NextGen Energy grants. The grants fall under the Agricultural Growth, Research and Innovation (AGRI) program to help creative and emerging agricultural projects acquire funding.

These projects represent a diverse, statewide collection of bioenergy and biochemical projects with various funding levels. The purpose of the NextGen Grant Program is to expand and strengthen Minnesota’s commitment to the development of locally-owned renewable energy projects.  Minnesota also aims to be a leading state in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The projects awarded funds in this granting cycle are:

Easy Energy Systems, Welcome, Minnesota - $500,000
The project builds a showplace biofuel production facility capable of testing multiple feedstocks, verifying economic data, and confirming conversion rates in Welcome.

Central Minnesota Renewables LLC, Little Falls, Minnesota - $500,000
This project will receive funding for final engineering work needed to convert the existing 20 million gallon per year ethanol facility, Central Minnesota Ethanol Cooperative, to n-butanol production for the chemical industry.

Segetis, Inc, Golden Valley, Minnesota - $325,000
Grant amount is to be used for equipment, capital construction and materials for operation of a pilot plant for process development required to commercialize their biobased non-phthalate plasticizer.    

University of Minnesota, Natural Resources Research Institute, Duluth, Minnesota - $217,500
In collaboration with Syngas Technologies, Elk River, this project will develop a more efficient biomass fuel pretreatment process for putting feedstock into a high-pressure gasifier, which produces drop-in biofuels.

Duluth Steam, Duluth, Minnesota - $150,000
Funds will help facilitate the detailed design, procurement and installation of an on-site biomass receiving, storage, and feed system. It utilizes up to 25 percent biomass feedstocks from local forestry operations and will displace the current use of western coal.

Thirty-five projects were submitted for consideration by a technical team made up of members from five state departments – Agriculture, Commerce, Natural Resources, Pollution Control, and Employment and Economic Development.  This team scored each of the proposals separately under the guidelines detailed in the request for proposals (RFP) of the NextGen grants.

The results of this selection process were reviewed by the board on February 20 and recommendations were made to Commissioner Dave Frederickson.  All projects required at least a 50 percent match from the grantee.

“Although only five projects could be selected from the 35 submitted, it’s an encouraging sign to see so many Minnesota companies interested in the health of our environment. I’m glad to see our AGRI dollars in the NextGen Energy grant are funding projects that not only provide a vibrant economy today, but a clean environment for our future,” said MDA Commissioner Dave Frederickson.

In addition to the $1,692,500 granted to these projects, $588,500 has been set aside for a separate RFP for biomass thermal projects, targeting overall project sizes of $200,000 to $300,000.  This RFP is due to be released early this summer.


CONTACT:  Michael Crusan, MDA Communications


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