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Colorado Companies Share in Aviation Biofuel Grants

U.S. Forest Service

Two Colorado companies are being awarded part of a larger federal grant to develop biofuels from trees.

This week, Lakewood-based ZeaChem announced it is teaming with the University of Washington to study turning poplar trees into fuel. That project was awarded $40 million.  And Englewood-based Gevo says it's receiving $5 million to develop jet fuel from wood left over from logging and forest thinning.

The funding is part of a push by the Obama administration to develop a commercially viable biofuel industry.

“This is a first-time ever effort to work to produce assistance for the building of biorefineries, and providing market opportunities for the purchase of the fuel that's going to be produced in those biorefineries,” says U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “We're excited about the national security implications of that, and the job creation opportunities that that presents."

The $510 million project is aimed at supplying the aviation needs of the Navy and - eventually - the commercial airline industry.  Gevo was also awarded a $600,000 dollar contract to supply up to 11,000 gallons of jet fuel to the U.S. Air Force starting next year.

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