A company with experience successfully commercializing a variety of new technologies says it would be a mistake if government targets for renewable fuels are lowered. During yesterday’s Fuels America conference call on the prospect the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could drop renewable volume obligations (RVOs) next year from the statutory level of 14.4 billion gallons to between 12.36 and 13.18 billion, DuPont Global Business Director for Biorefineries Jan Koninckx said they were shocked by the leaked draft proposal.
“We’re very concerned about the RVO numbers that have been leaked,” although he admitted they’re not sure if those numbers are even factual. “But it’s a reversal, it’s something that very much surprises and disappoints us, and is something that will rob the country of a great opportunity.”
Koninckx also pointed out that DuPont has a long history of commercializing new technologies, and he’s sure advanced cellulosic will be successful as well. DuPont’s $200 million advanced cellulosic biorefinery in Nevada, Iowa is on target to start operations sometime next year, so the company has an obvious stake in the success of the technology, something that will be helped as long as the EPA sticks to its guns on the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS).
“If we implement the RFS as it is conceived and put in place, then we will see great benefits, as we already see from corn ethanol,” he said.
When asked if Congress will extend the cellulosic ethanol tax credit and how the possible lowering of the RVOs might have an impact, Koninckx said he just doesn’t know what Washington will do these days. But he thinks the extension would certainly promote more investment in the cellulosic industry, although DuPont has been in this business since the early 2000s and is staying in.
“Are we going to shift our strategy and change what we do on the basis of one EPA decision? No. We’re in this for the long haul. This is technology that is very viable and is going to see the light of day.”
You can here Koninckx’s opening remarks and response to the first question here: DuPont's Jan Koninckx
And you can listen to or download the entire conference call here: Fuels America press conference