RFA Offers Webinars on International Buyer Program

NEC 2016aThe Renewable Fuels Association is offering two free webinars next week for ethanol producers to learn more about the International Buyer Program that will be part of the 2016 National Ethanol Conference, February 15-17 in New Orleans.

The National Ethanol Conference (NEC) has been selected to be a participant of the U.S. Department of Commerce International Buyer Program, which recruits pre-screened foreign buyer delegations and brings them to selected trade shows and conferences to allow U.S. companies to connect with international buyers. International trade specialists will be at the International Trade Center onsite at the NEC to provide export counseling, matchmaking services, market analysis and more. The registration deadline for U.S. exporters to participate in the IBP is December 31, 2015.

The webinars will provide an overview of benefits to U.S. companies under the International Buyer Program, as well as market insights including demand, policies, and key players. They will also give information on how to register for the Exporter Interest Directory that will be distributed to the international buyers.

The webinar topics, dates and times are:

Ethanol Opportunities in Asian Markets, including Philippines, China, and India
Monday, December 7
10AM EST/9 AM CST
Free registration link

Ethanol Opportunities in Latin American Markets, including Brazil and Mexico
Tuesday, December 15
11AM EST/10 AM CST
Free registration link

Any U.S. ethanol company interested in exporting product overseas or expanding sales to new markets is encouraged to learn more in the webinars and register for the IBP.

Funds Available for Blender Pumps in Iowa

blender-pump-iowaIowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today announced that funds are now available through the new “Fueling Our Future 100” initiative and interested retailers in Iowa can apply for cost share funding to assist with the purchase and installation of blender pumps and underground storage tank (UST) infrastructure for higher blends of ethanol.

“We continue to see that when consumers have a choice at the pump they will choose to increase the amount of clean burning, homegrown renewable fuels they use,” said Northey. “Through this program we will see a total investment of $10 million to help build the renewable fuels infrastructure in the state.”

Iowa received a $5 million grant from the USDA Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership (BIP) program to support the initiative which will be matched by non-federal funds, including $2.5 million from the Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program (RFIP). The fueling sites applying for assistance will also be required to provide a minimum of $2.5 million.

“Thanks to the USDA’s blender pump program, Iowans will now be able to benefit from the wider availability of E15 and E85,” said Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Managing Director Lucy Norton. “More blender pumps in Iowa means more competition at the pump, resulting in even lower fuel prices, better air quality and stronger energy security.”

ProtecFuel and the IRFA will be hosting a free retailer workshop on Monday, December 7 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. to assist retailers in understanding and applying for grant funding. For more information and to register for the free retailer workshop, please visit: www.IowaRFA.org/ProtecWorkshop.

Midwest Renewable Energy to use Enogen® corn

Enogen logoSyngenta has signed an agreement with Midwest Renewable Energy to begin using Enogen® corn enzyme technology at its Sutherland, Nebraska ethanol production facility beginning with the 2016 planting season.

“The agreement with MRE will enable them to source alpha amylase enzyme directly from local growers and keep enzyme dollars in the local community,” said Chris Tingle, head of marketing for Enogen at Syngenta. “This is what truly sets Enogen corn apart from other technologies designed to enhance ethanol production. It adds significant incremental value at the local level for communities that rely on their ethanol plant’s success.”

Midwest Renewable Energy operates a 28 million gallons per year dry-mill ethanol plant and CEO Jim Jandrain says the opportunity to invest locally is a key benefit of using Enogen grain. “We look forward to purchasing alpha amylase in the form of high-quality grain directly from local corn growers,” Jandrain said. “When you think about the value that Enogen will deliver for our growers, our facility and our community, it’s a win-win-win scenario.”

Syngenta is now contracting Enogen with growers to support 18 ethanol plants in seven states, representing approximately 1.3 billion gallons of ethanol capacity. Enogen corn is expected to generate approximately $29 million of additional revenue for local growers in 2016 through per-bushel premiums.

#Biodiesel Board Outlines Positives in #RFS Rule

nBBThe National Biodiesel Board (NBB) held a press call today to explain why they are so pleased with the final rule on volume obligations for biodiesel under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

First of all, NBB CEO Joe Jobe says the rule shows steady growth for biomass-based diesel from 2012 through 2017. “It grows the program from a billion gallons in 2012 to calling for two billion gallons in 2017,” he said. “So that’s a doubling of our industry that is pretty much on track to happen in a five year time period.” He adds that they hope to double again in the following five years.

In addition, Jobe says the rule shows a commitment on the part of the administration to utilize the RFS program to achieve greenhouse gas reduction in the heavy duty transportation sector and gets the program back on track.

At the same time, Jobe says they are continuing to work with Congress to have the biodiesel tax incentives extended, because that works with the RFS for continued growth in the industry. “They’re both important to us, they’re both priorities to us and they’re both needed in this still nascent stage of our industry,” said Jobe.

Also participating in the call with Jobe was NBB Vice President of Federal Affairs Anne Steckel: Biodiesel Board call on RFS volumes

More #Ethanol Groups Disappointed with #RFS Rule

While ethanol industry representatives agree that the EPA final rule for volume obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard is an improvement, most still are disappointed.

aceAmerican Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Executive Vice President Brian Jennings says the final rule protects the oil industry from meeting the requirements that Congress intended.

“When Congress enacted the Renewable Fuel Standard it voted to side with those of us who said ‘yes we can’ reduce greenhouse gas emissions from motor fuel, ‘yes we can’ allow consumer access to E15 and flex fuels, and ‘yes we can’ spark innovative ways to produce cleaner fuels,” said Jennings. “While we appreciate that the Administration made incremental improvements compared to the proposed RFS rule, unfortunately, today they are choosing to side with those who say ‘no, we can’t’. Regrettably, EPA’s final RFS rule protects the old way of doing business by obstructing consumer access to cleaner fuels, stifling competition in the marketplace, and undermining innovation.”

Iowa RFA logo-newIowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Executive Director Monte Shaw says the final rule is a blow to farmers and fuel choice for consumers. “Given EPA’s stated rationale for these numbers, one of the most successful energy policies in our nation’s history has been put squarely in the stranglehold of the petroleum industry,” said Shaw. “As a result, consumers will see higher prices at the pump and Iowa farmers will likely continue to see commodity prices below the cost of production.”

Iowa has 43 ethanol refineries capable of producing 3.9 billion gallons annually, including nearly 55 million gallons of annual cellulosic ethanol production capacity.

NEB logoNebraska Ethanol Board administrator Todd Sneller, who is also chairman of the Clean Fuels Development Coalition, called the final rule “disappointing but not unexpected” and said it means biofuels must move beyond government imposed limits and establish new value based on performance and environmental benefits. “The RFS was, and remains, a foundation to provide a solid base for biofuels to continue to develop,” Sneller said. “All this means is EPA will limit the amount of biofuels they intend to manage under this particular program. Ethanol’s high octane and cleaner-burning properties make it an extremely valuable fuel and we expect increasing demand for those reasons.”

“Our challenge and wake-up call is to provide a valuable product that does not depend on levels established by the EPA,” said Doug Durante, CFDC executive director. Although the EPA has chosen to limit the amount of fuels like ethanol under the RFS, Durante says the EPA could choose to increase biofuel demand by limiting toxic compounds in gasoline, which the agency is required to do under the Clean Air Act.

AESI logoFormer United States Senator and Americans for Energy Security and Innovation (AESI) Chairman Jim Talent said that this midterm modification to the RFS flies in the face of the intent of Congress when it passed the law, and says the President is saying that if oil companies refuse to comply with the law, then the EPA can waive the obligation.

Talent added, “It is clear that the Obama Administration and Democrats have once again abandoned Rural America by finalizing a new rule that undermines the Renewable Fuel Standard and threatens the 850,000 well-paying American jobs that have been created by this successful law. With billions invested in this industry thus far, the Obama Administration’s new lackluster standards threaten the already frozen $13.7 billion in investments in advanced biofuels and discourage new investments in clean energy.

Final #RFS Numbers Disappoint @EthanolRFA

rfalogo1The Environmental Protection Agency’s final rule for volume obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) “puts the future of biofuels and climate policy in the hands of the oil industry,” according to Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) president and CEO Bob Dinneen.

“Let’s give EPA props, I guess, for recognizing that gasoline demand is increasing and that they needed to increase those numbers accordingly,” said Dinneen. “But they didn’t change anything with respect to the methodology … they still reduced the numbers from the statutory levels and embraced the notion of the blend wall … they are effectively turning the nation’s renewable energy program over to the oil companies.”

Dinneen says the ethanol industry will be evaluating its options when it comes to taking EPA to court over the final rule. “What EPA has done here is a dramatic departure from a program that was working,” he said. “I believe when we finish our review of the final rule that we will want to stand up for the program, stand up for consumers, stand up for carbon reduction, stand up for rural America and put this program back where it belongs.”

With President Obama in Paris this week for the COP21 climate change summit, Dinneen considers today’s announcement ironic. “How in the world can the president speak with any credibility on climate change when he is ripping the guts out of a climate change program in his own backyard?” Dinneen asked.

Listen to interview here: Interview with RFA CEO Bob Dinneen on final RFS rule

Final #RFS RVO Numbers from @EPA

epa-150The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced final volume requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program Monday for the years 2014, 2015 and 2016, and final volume requirements for biomass-based diesel for 2014 to 2017.

The rule finalizes higher volumes of renewable fuel than the levels EPA proposed in June, according to Janet McCabe, the acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation.

“The biofuel industry is an incredible American success story, and the RFS program has been an important driver of that success—cutting carbon pollution, reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and sparking rural economic development,” said McCabe during a press call with reporters. “With today’s final rule, and as Congress intended, EPA is establishing volumes that go beyond historic levels and grow the amount of biofuel in the market over time. Our standards provide for ambitious, achievable growth.”

The final 2016 standard for cellulosic biofuel — the fuel with the lowest carbon emissions — is nearly 200 million gallons, or 7 times more, than the market produced in 2014. The final 2016 standard for advanced biofuel is nearly 1 billion gallons, or 35 percent, higher than the actual 2014 volumes; the total renewable standard requires growth from 2014 to 2016 of more than 1.8 billion gallons of biofuel, which is 11 percent higher than 2014 actual volumes. Biodiesel standards grow steadily over the next several years, increasing every year to reach 2 billion gallons by 2017.

The RFS, established by Congress, requires EPA to set annual volume requirements for four categories of biofuels. The final rule considered more than 670,000 public comments, and relied on the latest, most accurate data available. EPA finalized 2014 and 2015 standards at levels that reflect the actual amount of domestic biofuel used in those years, and standards for 2016 (and 2017 for biodiesel) that represent significant growth over historical levels.

The final numbers were required to be released on November 30 under court order.

Listen to the EPA call here: EPA announces final RVO numbers

Experts Present Case for Ethanol vs Gasoline

ethanol-plant-rfaLeading experts in the field of lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) analysis and agricultural land use today responded to claims that corn ethanol and other biofuels are somehow worse for the climate than petroleum.

A panel of scientists and economists refuted the suggestion by anti-biofuel advocates that carbon accounting schemes should not credit bioenergy feedstocks for CO2 absorption based on the notion that the feedstock would have absorbed CO2 even if it wasn’t being used for biofuel. Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) Senior Vice President Geoff Cooper, who moderated the panel, called the assertion “illogical” and said “it’s a bit like saying the wind was going to blow anyway, so wind energy shouldn’t be counted as carbon neutral; or the sun was going to shine anyway, so we shouldn’t assume that solar panels are harnessing ‘free’ energy from the sun.”

California-based Life Cycle Associates (LCA) just released a new report on how biofuels have helped reduce GHG emissions in the United States since 2008 under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2). “The lifecycle approach is the best metric for greenhouse gas emissions for biofuels because it takes into account the fact that this is short cycle carbon that was recently removed from the air,” said LCA Senior Partner Stefan Unnasch. “The alternative system means that you have to have global accounting of all agriculture… that’s simply impossible and the opportunities for fraud are present everywhere.” Even if such a carbon flow approach was possible, if done correctly it would show that bioenergy reduces GHG emissions compared to petroleum.

LCA scientist Susan Boland explains that their recent study actually found greater GHG emissions reductions from biofuels than expected. “We found that the RFS2 has resulted in significant GHG reductions, with cumulative CO2 savings of 353 million metric tonnes over the period of implementation. These emissions savings occurred even though cellulosic biofuels have not met the RFS2 production targets,” said Boland.

University of Illinois-Chicago economist Steffen Mueller noted that much is made about land going into biofuels production. “But that land area is really relatively small,” he said. “There’s a lot of other land available that we can use to optimize sequestration potential.” Commenting on the latest Department of Energy analysis, Mueller said “…ethanol produced from corn grain and corn stover provides substantial greenhouse gas benefits over gasoline.” The latest version of GREET shows life cycle emissions for corn ethanol in the range of 63.5‒66.4 gCO2e/MJ, which is over 30% less than the 94 gCO2e/MJ for gasoline.

Meanwhile, Purdue University economist Dr. Wally Tyner takes issue with the assumption land used for biofuel feedstock production would have grown the same feedstock for some other purpose or reverted to a natural state in the absence of biofuels demand. “If we hadn’t have had biofuels in the United States, we might still be paying farmers not to grow as we were before biofuels came along,” said Tyner. “So the assumption that all of this would have happened anyway I think is absurd.”

Listen to the call here: RFA GHG conference call

Analysis Shows RFS2 has Reduced GHG Emissions

rfalogo1A new analysis shows implementation of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) has resulted in a reduction of U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 354 million metric tons of CO2-equivalent since 2008.

Findings of the analysis, conducted by California-based Life Cycle Associates, have important implications for both the pending final rule for 2014–2016 RFS volumes and upcoming global climate talks in Paris, according to the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), which sponsored the study.

According to the report, “The RFS2 has resulted in significant GHG reductions, with cumulative CO2 savings of 354 million metric tonnes over the period of implementation. The GHG reductions are attributed to greater than expected savings from ethanol and other biofuels.”

Specifically, the authors ascribe the larger-than-anticipated GHG emissions reductions to: technology improvements in grain ethanol production, increased consumption of low-carbon advanced biofuels, and the steadily rising carbon intensity of petroleum fuels. The study found that conventional corn ethanol reduced emissions by an average of 29 percent when compared to the petroleum actually used in 2008, with that reduction growing to 39 percent by 2015. Importantly, these estimates include the best available estimates of prospective “indirect land use change” emissions from Argonne National Laboratory.

“This report, which uses globally accepted GHG accounting methods, demonstrates that the RFS has been tremendously successful in reducing the carbon intensity of our transportation fuels. In fact, the study found the RFS has actually exceeded expectations in terms of GHG reduction,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen.

Read more here.