The 2017 Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit highlighted the challenges and opportunities facing the industry this year.
“The state of Iowa’s renewable fuels industry is uncertain but unrelenting,” said Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Executive Director Monte Shaw. “We are ready to expand and bring cheaper, cleaner, home-grown fuels to US and world consumers.”
Concerning federal policy, Shaw foresees unrelenting progress going forward because “one year ago at this very conference, then candidate Donald Trump pledged to protect and defend the RFS.” Yet the industry sees uncertainty in the influence Trump’s Cabinet appointees may have over policy decisions since several have track records opposing the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
Shaw said the industry is bullish regarding the spread of higher ethanol blends at the pump, with Iowa now boasting 99 registered E15 pumps and well over 200 E85 pumps. Yet uncertainty remains because artificial regulatory roadblocks continue to complicate summertime E15 sales.
Advanced biofuels are also gaining steam in Iowa, with biodiesel demand reaching record levels in 2016 and Iowa leading the country in cellulosic ethanol production. Still, concerns abound that Congress allowed biodiesel and cellulosic tax credits to expire.