Program 101

Program Status: Open
Current Application Deadline: April 1st and Oct 1st (Annual), unless otherwise specified by the Agency in a Notice published in the Federal Register
Required Letter of Intent Due:  Not less than thirty (30) days prior to application deadline
Federal Register: [.PDF]
Fact Sheet:  [PDF]
Stakeholder Forum VideoWebcast

What does this program do?

This program assists in the development, construction, and retrofitting of new and emerging technologies for advanced biofuels, renewable chemicals and biobased products by providing loan guarantees up to $250 million.

Who may apply for this program?

Lenders with legal authority, sufficient experience and expertise, and can demonstrate they meet the FDIC definition of “Well Capitalized” at the time of application and issuance of Loan Note Guarantee, including:

  • Federal or State chartered bank
  • Federally recognized tribes
  • Cooperatives
  • Farm Credit Bank, or other Farm Credit System institution with direct lending authority
  • Credit Unions subject to credit examination and supervision by a State agency or the National Credit Union Administration
  • The National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation

What kind of borrower may the lender request a guarantee for?

  • Individuals
  • Public and private entities
  • State and local governments
  • Corporations
  • Indian tribes
  • Farm Cooperatives, and Farm Cooperative Organizations
  • Associations of Agricultural Producers
  • National Laboratories
  • Institutions of Higher Education
  • Public Power entities

Are there additional requirements?

  • The project must be located in a State
  • Total amount of a Federal participation (loan guarantee, plus other Federal funding) will not exceed 80 percent of total eligible project costs
  • The borrower and other principals involved in the Project must make a significant cash equity contribution

What is an eligible area?
The project may be located in any of the 50 States and a number of territories and protectorates – see 7 CFR 4279.2 under "State."

How may funds be used?

Funds may be used to fund the development, construction and retrofitting of:

  • Commercial-Scale Biorefineries using Eligible Technology
  • Biobased Product Manufacturing facilities that use Technologically New Commercial-Scale processing and manufacturing equipment to convert Renewable Chemicals and other biobased outputs of Biorefineries into end-user products on a commercial scale
  • Refinancing, in certain circumstances, may be eligible

In broad terms, two types of projects are eligible for the program – Biorefineries, and Biobased Product Manufacturing facilities.

What are the loan terms?
Rates and terms are negotiated between the Lender and the Borrower in accordance to 7 CFR 4279.233 and 4279.234.

How do we get started?
The Section 9003 Program uses a two-phase application process which is described on the Forms & Resources tab.  The Federal Register also details the two-phase application process.

What are the application deadlines?

Unless otherwise specified by the Agency in a notice published in the FEDERAL REGISTER, application deadlines are 4:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Savings Time on October 1 and April 1 of each year.  If the application deadline falls on a weekend or an observed holiday, the deadline will be the next Federal business day.  Any application received after 4:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on the application closing date will be considered for the subsequent application cycle, provided that funding is available.

For each guarantee request, the Lender or the Borrower must submit to the Agency a non-binding letter of intent to apply for the loan guarantee not less than 30 calendar days prior to the application deadline.  If the letter of intent deadline falls on a weekend or an observed holiday, the deadline will be the next Federal business day.

Complete applications must be received by the Agency on or before April 1 of each year to be considered for funding for that fiscal year.

Who can answer questions?
Contact Energy Programs at the following address:

USDA Rural Development, Energy Programs
Attention: Technology Branch
1400 Independence Avenue, SW,
Room 6901-S, Stop 3225
Washington, DC 20250-3225

You may also contact Aaron Morris at (202) 720-0410 or

What governs this program?

NOTE: Because citations and other information may be subject to change, please always consult the program Instructions listed in the section above titled, “What governs this program?”  You may also contact your Rural Development State Energy Coordinator for assistance.

Forms & Resources

Application Guide (.pdf)

NOTE: Please contact Energy Programs at (202) 720-0410 before attempting to fill out any forms or applications for this program. This will save you valuable time in completing your application.

Two-Phase Application Process

The first step to apply is for Lender (or the borrower) to submit to the Agency a Letter of Intent to apply for a loan guarantee.  The Agency must receive the Letter of Intent at least 30 calendar days prior to the application deadline.

Next, lenders must submit a complete (Phase 1) application.  Phase 1 applications, which are the initial application submissions, must provide information to determine Lender, Borrower and Project eligibility; preliminary economic and technical feasibility; and the priority score of the application.

Based on the priority score ranking, the Agency will invite applicants whose Phase 1 applications receive higher priority scores to proceed to Phase 2 of the process.

Phase 2 applications include the environmental report, technical report, financial model, and the lender’s credit evaluation.  The Phase 2 materials are submitted as the ongoing project develops and the planning and engineering is finalized.

Please refer to the Application Guide for detailed instruction and guidance for submitting your application.

What if my application is not selected?

A ranked Phase 1 application that is not invited to submit to Phase 2 in the application cycle in which it was submitted will be carried forward one additional cycle.

Preliminary Actions Required

To complete an application for this program, you must be pre-registered with the System for Award Management (SAM) and also have a Data Universal Number System (DUNS) number. Neither of these applications cost money, but they can take time so be sure to get this taken care of right away. If you are already registered with these systems, you do not need to do it again.


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