In 2015, Virginia and Maryland responded to a funding opportunity from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) under the Biofuel Infrastructure Program to form a two-state, Mid-Atlantic Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership (BIP) to install biofuel fueling pumps at 40 fueling stations. The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) administered the Program with assistance of Virginia Clean Cities. Program partners included experienced retail partners, Protec Fuels and Sheetz, Inc., Virginia and Maryland U.S. Department of Energy-designated Clean Cities Coalitions, agriculture and energy offices, grain associations, and other agricultural entities; along with private sector marketing and infrastructure concerns. Al Christopher of DMME served as principal investigator, with staff support from Robin Jones and Barbara Simcoe. Alleyn Harned and Chris Mueller of Virginia Clean Cites managed the day-to-day project activities on behalf of the Commonwealth. Jill Hamilton of Sustainable Strategies, Incorporated, (SESI) led the marketing components of the project, primarily in Maryland.
The total BIP project cost was $8,942,994.92. The Federal portion, $4,716,501.46 in USDA funds, was spent towards the construction of 188 ethanol dispensers at 40 fueling stations. A cost match of $4,226,493.46 was contributed by project partners. Additional stations that were advanced through BIP partnerships beyond this project are not included in these figures.
As stations were completed and became operational, these were visually audited and eligible to request reimbursement of grant funds. Federal grant funds supported the costs of dispensers and tanks. Non-Federal match funds were used for dispensers, tanks, other installation costs, administration, and marketing. A number of MD project sites also received financial support via the Maryland Energy Administration’s Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Program (AFIP). Marketing efforts produced considerable additional consumer awareness of the fuel, including a postcard mailing to MD flex-fuel vehicle drivers that was financially supported by the Maryland Energy Administration.