Archive for January 23, 2008

Florida Farm-to-Fuel Grant Winners

January 22, 2008

Bronson Announces ‘Farm To Fuel’ Grant Winners; Projects To Share In $25 Million To Spur Renewable Energy Industry

Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles H. Bronson today announced the recipients of $25 million in renewable energy grants.

The 12 entities chosen were among 76 vying for the awards, which were funded by the Florida Legislature last spring.  The grants are part of Bronson’s “Farm to Fuel” initiative, a program designed to get Florida’s agriculture industry to produce 25 percent of the state’s energy needs by the year 2025 in an effort to reduce Florida’s dependency on foreign oil and to keep land in agriculture.

“We believe that awards such as these are critical in triggering the development of a renewable energy industry in Florida,” Bronson said.  “With the backing of and an investment from the state, we’re hopeful that these projects will yield positive results and serve as a catalyst for major commercial investment in this industry.”

The entities chosen for the grants are investing nearly $157 million of their own resources into their renewable energy projects.

The proposals were evaluated on a number of factors, including their use of Florida-grown crops or biomass to produce energy, their potential to expand agribusiness in the state, preliminary market research and the efficiency of their use of energy and other material resources.

Last spring, the Florida Legislature authorized and Governor Charlie Crist signed into law the “Farm to Fuel” Grants Program to provide matching grants for demonstration, commercialization, and research and development projects involving bio-energy.  As part of the program, $25 million was appropriated to stimulate investment in projects that produce renewable energy from Florida-grown crops or biomass.

The winners of this year’s “Farm to Fuel” grants are:

Gulf Coast Energy of Walton LLC
Awarded $7 million, in a commercial project grant for the construction and operation of both an ethanol and biodiesel plant in a $62 million project in Mossy Head, Florida

U.S. Envirofuels LLC
Awarded $7 million, in a commercial project grant for the construction of a $47 million ethanol production plant in Highlands County.

Liberty Industries
Awarded $4 million, in a commercial project grant for the construction and operation of a $38 million Liberty County facility that will produce ethanol and electricity using primarily forest waste products.

Agri-Source Fuels
Awarded $4 million, in a commercial project grant for the construction of a $21 million biodiesel plant in Pensacola.

University of Florida
Awarded $500,000, in a research and development grant to develop a catalytic chemical reactor system to convert woody biomass to biodiesel.
Southeast Biofuels LLC
Awarded $500,000, in a demonstration grant to build a nearly $6 million pilot plant in Auburndale to produce ethanol from citrus peels.

Sigarca Inc.
Awarded $499,500, in a research and demonstration project involving the construction of a 3,000-square-foot bioenergy plant on the grounds of the Southeastern Livestock Pavilion in Ocala to process horse waste into renewable energy.

University of Central Florida
Awarded $498,000, in a research and development grant to demonstrate the viability and cost effectiveness of technology developed at the university to convert farm and animal waste into renewable energy.

Florida Institute of Technology
Awarded $415,520, in a research and development grant to cultivate and research various strains of Microalgae capable of producing biodiesel.

Applied Research Associates Inc.
Awarded $203,130, in a research and development grant involving converting cellulosic materials such as sugarcane byproducts to fermentable sugars for a more cost-effective way of producing ethanol.

Applied Research Associates Inc.
Awarded $182,832, in a research and development grant to demonstrate a new technology in converting crop oils into biodiesel.

Neptune Industries Inc.
Awarded $158,270, in a research and development project that would create a pilot-scale floating algae production system in quarry lakes in South Florida to produce algae capable of being converted into biodiesel.

For more information:
Terence McElroy
(850) 488-3022

Looks like I missed out on the Florida sheep shit to fuel grant yet again.


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Ooops! Disgrunted Worker Accused of Deleting $2.5 Million Worth of Files–Because of a Help Wanted Ad

JACKSONVILLE, FL — The target may be high-tech, but the emotion involved is as old as humanity. Spite, anger, and revenge. Police say that’s what filled a woman’s heart after she picked up the classified ads.When Marie Cooley came across a job that looked like hers in the classifieds, she admits she was certain she was about to be fired. So police say late Sunday night, she crept into the Mandarin office where she worked at Steven E. Hutchins Architects.

“She decided to go and mess up everything for everybody,” said Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office spokesman Ken Jefferson.

Jefferson says Cooley accessed the company’s server with her own account. And with a handful of mouse clicks and keystrokes, he says she deleted seven years’ worth of architectural drawings.

Seven years of work — gone in seconds.

The company put the value of the vaporized files at $2.5 million.

“She decided to be spiteful and go in and sabotage the records. And she did a very good job of that,” Jefferson said.

According to police, Cooley confessed to the crime. It’s a second degree felony that could lay the blueprints for a five-year prison sentence.

Folks at the architecture firm didn’t want to talk on camera about the disastrous deletion.

The owner did tell First Coast News that he’s paid good money to recover those files and he says he’s now managed to get every deleted drawing back from its digital death.

“The lesson to be learned here is that you can’t depend on having just one set of records or files and having your employees have access to them. You’ve got to have some kind of backup,” Jefferson said.

And here’s the most sobering part: the owner of the architecture firm says Marie Cooley was not going to be fired. He says the job listing was for his wife’s business — not his.


There may be a moral there somewhere about the danger of leaping to conclusions without supporting evidence. Meanwhile, the lady has gone from valued employee to unemployed woman likely to spend several years in prison.Business owners, too, may want to think about how trustworthy their trusted employees really are.

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