Range Fuels, Inc., a Colorado-based firm with a planned biorefinery near Soperton, GA, will receive an $80 million loan guaranteed by USDA Rural Development to make cellulosic biofuel from wood chips.

The deal, recently finalized, was first announced last year and represents the first-ever loan guarantee by USDA to a commercial-scale cellulosic biofuel plant. This project is expected to provide biorefinery and construction jobs and support the timber industry.

When fully operational, the plant is expected to produce an estimated 20 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol per year. The $80 million loan, being made by AgSouth Farm Credit, is being guaranteed through USDA's Biorefinery Assistance Program authorized by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 and administered by USDA Rural Development.

USDA's Biorefinery Assistance Program promotes the development of new and emerging technologies for the production of advanced biofuels – defined as fuels derived from renewable biomass other than corn kernel starch. The program provides loan guarantees to develop, construct and retrofit viable commercial-scale biorefineries producing advanced biofuels. The maximum loan guarantee is $250 million per project. To learn more, visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/busp/baplg9003.htm.