USDA Secretary Talks Biofuels at #Classic20

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U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue had a lot to say about biofuels during his address at the 2020 Commodity Classic in San Antonio Friday.

While no announcement has been made by EPA yet, Secretary Perdue confidently told the audience that the recent 10th Circuit Court decision will mean less small refinery waivers. “I think you will see those waivers significantly reduced this year, which will also help the demand going forward,” Perdue said to applause.

Classic20 Secretary Perdue remarks 31:05

During a press availability, Perdue added, “We were hoping to have an announcement even today but they want to just make sure they get it right and not fast.”
Secretary Perdue SRE comments 1:47

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue full press conference
Secretary Perdue presser 22:40

In addition, Secretary Perdue issued a memo Friday directing USDA to acquire alternative fueled vehicles (AFV) when replacing conventionally fueled vehicles, and announced that USDA will make $100 million in grants available this year for the newly created Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP).

Audio, Biodiesel, Commodity Classic, Ethanol, Ethanol News

Wheeler Questioned About Decision on SRE Program

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Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler told a House subcommittee hearing on Thursday that there is no final decision yet on how they will respond to the recent 10th Circuit Court ruling regarding the Small Refinery Exemption (SRE) program.

“We’re still in discussions with the Department of Justice trying to analyze the 10th Circuit opinion, we have no announcements at this point,” Wheeler said in response to questioning by Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-IA) during a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on EPA’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget. News reports Thursday said a decision has been made to cut back on waivers granted, but Wheeler did say an announcement was expected “hopefully very shortly.”

Listen to the exchange between Loebsack and Wheeler here:
Rep. Loebsack questions EPA's Wheeler 4:57

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Discovering New Uses and Markets for Ethanol

Carrie Muehling Leave a Comment

The 2020 National Ethanol Conference included a panel discussion on new uses for ethanol, moderated by Erik Huschitt, CEO and General Manager of Badger State Ethanol, LLC. Panelists included Keegan O’Donnell, Gas Power Systems, New Product Engineering, General Electric; Prabhakar Nair, VP Business Development, LanzaTech; and BJ Johnson, CEO, ClearFlame Engines.

O’Donnell shared some of the reasons GE is so interested in ethanol and the opportunities that may exist in the power industry.

“When you look at what ethanol versus low sulfur diesel buys us, obviously it buys us lower emissions,” said O’Donnell. “The big one for us is water needs. In the U.S., water is relatively cheap, but there are other places in the world where water is actually sometimes more expensive than the fuel.”

O’Donnell said there are several possibilities and just a few manageable drawbacks when it comes to increasing ethanol use by companies like GE.

New Uses for Ethanol Panel Discussion at 2020 National Ethanol Conference
New Uses for Ethanol Panel, 2020 National Ethanol Conference

2020 National Ethanol Conference Photo Album

Audio, Energy, Ethanol, National Ethanol Conference

Legislation Would Target Oil Subsidies

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Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Tom Udall (D-NM) introduced legislation this week to update the nation’s antiquated public lands royalty system and ensure that taxpayers get fair returns on leases of public lands for oil and gas production.

Introducing the bipartisan Fair Returns for Public Lands Act of 2020, Grassley said, “Low royalty rates on oil produced on federal lands has deprived the federal treasury of billions of dollars. Today marks 100 years since Congress passed the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920. Since then, the royalty rate has not been addressed. This is just one example of Big Oil saying it wants a free market, but lobbying for taxpayer-funded corporate welfare. It’s time for my colleagues in Congress to end this oil company loophole, end the corporate welfare and bring oil leasing into the 21st century.”

Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper says the bipartisan legislation takes a step toward leveling the playing field for all transportation fuel producers. “Study after study show that the oil and gas industry benefits each year from billions of dollars in hidden subsidies, write-offs, incentives, and other giveaways. If oil producers and refiners truly want a ‘free market’ in the energy sector, they should start by giving up the subsidies and tax preferences that have robbed state and federal coffers for 100 years or more. We hope this bill sets lawmakers on a path toward comprehensive energy tax policy reform, and that the end result is a fair and open market that offers true competition and consumer choice.”

According to studies by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Government Accountability Office (GAO), modernizing public lands royalty rates for oil and gas could increase federal revenues by as much as $200 million over the next decade with little to no impact on overall production.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, Legislation, Oil, RFA

Ethanol’s Competitiveness in the Octane Market

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Those attending the 2020 National Ethanol Conference had the opportunity to hear a presentation by Roel Salazar, author of the weekly Argus Fuels and Octane Report. Salazar discussed different products in the fuels market and the variables that affect ethanol’s competitiveness in that market.

“You can see how ethanol has a market price much lower than its blend value. It’s blend value is much higher, but that’s because of the way ethanol is priced,” said Salazar.

Salazar explained different factors that go into blending decisions, as well as seasonal and historical trends that contribute to ethanol’s value in the octane market.

Roel Salazar, Senior Fuels and Octane Consultant, Argus; author of weekly Argus Fuels and Octane Report
Roel Salazar, Argus

2020 National Ethanol Conference Photo Album

Audio, Ethanol, National Ethanol Conference

Focusing Forward: Stakeholders Roundtable Discussion

Carrie Muehling Leave a Comment

The closing panel at the Renewable Fuels Association National Ethanol Conference discussed how stakeholders are planning for the future, what opportunities they see, and how they can work together to achieve our mutual goals.

Participants in the panel included: Geoff Cooper, President & CEO, Renewable Fuels Association; Shane Karr, Head of External Affairs, FCA US LLC; Jon Doggett, Chief Executive Officer, National Corn Growers Association; Callie Eideberg, Director, Environmental Defense Fund; and John Reese, Downstream Policy & Advocacy Manager, Americas, Shell Oil Products U.S.

Focusing Forward: Stakeholders Roundtable Discussion
RFANEC Closing Panel 54:45

2020 National Ethanol Conference Photo Album

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Energy Ag News 2/25

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  • The Renewable Fuels Association, in partnership with the Industrial Steel Drum Institute and TRANSCAER®, will host safety training in Davenport, Iowa March 4. The free seminars are funded through a Federal Railroad Administration/TRANSCAER grant.
  • Students from Ridgewater College in Wilmar toured Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company (CVEC) in Benson last week to learn about ethanol and dried distiller’s grains with solubles (DDGS) production. The tour was organized by MN Biofuels.
  • According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending Feb. 14, ethanol production grew 0.7%, or 7,000 barrels per day (b/d), to 1.040 million b/d—equivalent to 43.68 million gallons daily. Ethanol stocks built to 24.8 million barrels, up 1.7%.
  • Eco-Energy, a leading biofuel supply chain company, is pleased to announce that it has entered the final stage of construction on its ethanol distribution facility located in Phoenix, Arizona. The facility will be Eco-Energy’s tenth (10th) ethanol distribution terminal and is scheduled to commence operations in 3Q 2020.
  • Energy Ag News

    Global Clean Fuel Standards

    Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

    In recent years, we have seen several countries beginning to develop clean fuel standards that can offer both opportunities and challenges for U.S. ethanol producers.

    A panel at the National Ethanol Conference focused on “The Emergence of International Clean Fuel Standards: Innovation Drivers or Industry Protectionism?” with insights on where global standards for clean fuel are headed. Renewable Fuels Association General Counsel Ed Hubbard moderated the panel which included:

    Mike Dwyer, President, Dwyer Agri-Associates
    Zoltan Szabo, Sustainability Consultant, Ethanol Europe
    Don O’Connor, President, S&T Squared Consultants
    Leticia Phillips, Representative, North America, UNICA

    Listen to their conversation:
    RFANEC Global Clean Fuel Standards panel 48:00


    2020 National Ethanol Conference photo album

    Audio, Ethanol, Ethanol News, International, National Ethanol Conference, RFA, Uncategorized

    Partnership Testing 100 Percent Biodiesel in Fleet Trucks

    Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

    A new partnership is conducting a year-long test project to demonstrate viability of 100 percent biodiesel (B100) in high-mileage fleet applications.

    Under this partnership, five trucks owned by ADM will be outfitted with Optimus Technologies’ Vector fuel system, an innovative technology that enables diesel engines to run almost entirely on sustainable biodiesel. The trucks will be used in daily fleet operations for a yearlong period, with each vehicle anticipated to travel 160,000-180,000 miles and reduce up to 500,000 pounds of CO2. Advanced monitoring protocols will compare the performance and results of the new technology with five other trucks comprising a control group operating on conventional diesel. All biodiesel used in the project will come from ADM’s refinery in Mexico, Missouri.

    The American Lung Association, National Biodiesel Board, Illinois Soybean Association, and Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council are all partners in the project with ADM and Optimus.

    “Biodiesel blends have been utilized successfully in millions of miles of real-world applications across the diesel sector over the last two decades, but this project is especially exciting as more fleets look to take it to the next level,” said Kaleb Little, director of communications for the National Biodiesel Board.

    Learn more about the project and what it could mean for the biodiesel industry in this interview.
    Interview with Kaleb Little, NBB 21:33

    Audio, Biodiesel, NBB

    Biofuels Part of USDA Innovation Agenda

    Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

    At the start of USDA’s 2020 Agriculture Outlook Forum on Thursday, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the Agriculture Innovation Agenda, a new initiative to stimulate innovation so American agriculture can achieve the goal of increasing production by 40 percent while cutting the environmental footprint of U.S. agriculture in half by 2050.

    To do so, USDA has set benchmarks to help measure progress toward meeting the ambitious goal in certain areas, including renewable energy.
    Specifically, the agenda calls for USDA to support renewable fuels, including ethanol, biodiesel, and biomass; and increase biofuel feedstock production and biofuel production efficiency and competitiveness to achieve market-driven blend rates of E15 in 2030 and E30 in 2050, as well as achieve market-driven demand for biomass and biodiesel.

    Listen to the secretary’s announcement here:
    USDA Outlook 2020 Secretary Perdue 21:33

    “We welcome Secretary Purdue’s announcement today of a bold new initiative that seeks to stimulate innovation in the agricultural sector and expand the use of ethanol and other renewable fuels,” said Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “With ethanol, we don’t have to wait and hope for major technological or economic breakthroughs; the fuel is available now at a low cost to drive decarbonization of our liquid fuels. American farmers and ethanol producers have a long history of rising to meet ambitious goals and taking on daunting challenges, and we are excited and eager to work with the Administration to make this new vision a reality.”

    Audio, Biodiesel, biofuels, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA, USDA