BROOMFIELD, Colo. -- Range Fuels Inc. announced that the USDA has awarded the company a conditional commitment for an $80 million loan guarantee to assist construction of Range Fuels' commercial cellulosic ethanol plant near Soperton, Ga., the first phase of which is under construction and on track to begin production in 2010.

The loan guarantee is the result of efforts between the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Rural Development, AgSouth Farm Credit, and Range Fuels. AgSouth Farm Credit, a leader in agricultural and rural loans and part of Farm Credit Services, will be the lead lending agency on the loan.

"The world -- and specifically the United States -- has significant challenges with regards to energy, the environment and the economy. Range Fuels intends to be part of the solution to these monumental challenges. We will provide new sources of low-carbon, environmentally friendly fuels that help provide energy security and create new jobs in the process," said David Aldous, Range Fuels' CEO. "We recognize and appreciate the work of USDA's staff and leaders for their critical support in helping us to accelerate the commercialization of our technology, which converts biomass into fuel."

The loan guarantee falls under the Section 9003 Biorefinery Assistance Program authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill, which provides loan guarantees for commercial-scale biorefineries and grants for demonstration-scale biorefineries that produce advanced biofuels or any fuel that is not corn- based. The Biorefinery Assistance program is intended to assist in developing new and emerging technologies that produce advanced biofuels to increase the nation's energy independence; promote resource conservation, public health, and the environment; diversify markets for agricultural products and waste material and spur rural economic development.

Range Fuels is focused on low-carbon fuels and the production of cellulosic ethanol using biomass that cannot be used for food, is sustainable, renewable and in excess supply. The company's innovative technology converts wood chips, switchgrass, corn stover, sugarcane bagasse, olive pits and other biomass to ethanol.

SOURCE: Range Fuels, Inc. via PR Newswire.