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New York Governor George Pataki issued an executive order on Sunday that requires state agencies and public authorities to use more biodiesel in its vehicles and its heating plants.

The order mandates that by 2007, the State’s diesel fleet must be using at least 2% biodiesel, with this percentage rising to 10% in 2012. Also by 2012, the heating plants in State buildings must use at least 5% biodiesel. The Governor’s Clean Fueled Vehicle Council also will develop and implement plans to increase the number and accessibility of E85 (85% ethanol blend for flex-fuel vehicles).

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) will also offer an incentive package to developers to promote the construction of biorefineries in the State.

Under the $500,000 program, applicants are eligible for grants of up to $100,000 for the planning, design and construction of biodiesel refining facilities, as well as other qualifying costs associated with construction and operations. The incentives are designed to attract potential investors and bolster the in-State supplies of biofuels.

Along with these efforts, the Governor also has directed the State Department of Agriculture and Markets to work with farmers to identify the best locations to grow soybeans and other biofuel feedstock crops. Since new strains of soybeans and other potential feedstocks such as switch grass and willow can be competitively grown in New York, an expanded biofuels market for these products will benefit the State’s agricultural community.

There’s as much as two million acres of underutilized farmland in New York State that could be put into productive use growing energy crops, creating markets for our farmers, supporting jobs and rural economic development, and replacing imported petroleum with home-grown fuels and products.

—NY State Agriculture Commissioner Nathan Rudgers

These initiatives follow prior State efforts to increase biofuel production and use. Governor Pataki previously directed NYSERDA to work with the Syracuse Center for Excellence to identify strategies to produce a viable and sustainable biofuels industry in New York. In addition, Cornell University and the SUNY College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry are leading a research effort to examine new technologies and feedstocks to make biofuel production more efficient and economical, with cellulosic ethanol being one major focus.

SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) is working with Northeast Biofuels and International Paper to explore an implementation of cellulosic ethanol production technology.

Within the next year, up to three ethanol plants are expected to begin production in New York State, including Northeast Biofuels in Fulton. The Northeast Biofuels plant would be the largest ethanol plant in the Northeast, with a capacity to produce 100 million gallons annually. The Fulton biofuel site also will be home to a 5 million gallons/year biodiesel production facility built and operated by NextGen Fuel.

New York State agencies and public authorities annually consume more than 48 million gallons of diesel fuel and 55 million gallons of heating oil.


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