Ethanol Report on Reaction to EPA RFS Proposal

ethanol-report-adThe Environmental Protection Agency has released its proposed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) renewable volume obligations (RVOs) for 2014, 2015 and 2016 and Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) president and CEO Bob Dinneen is disappointed.

In this Ethanol Report, Dinneen talks about why he believes the proposal is a step backward for the RFS and how it places the potential growth in renewable fuels in the hands of the oil companies. Ethanol Report on EPA RFS volume proposal

Candidate Clinton Clean Energy Commentary

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton came out in favor of domestic, renewable energy in an op-ed for the Cedar Rapids Gazette this week.

hillary-2016“I believe the United States can and must be the clean energy super power for the 21st century,” writes Mrs. Clinton. “We can’t afford to cede our leadership in developing and deploying the advanced, clean fuels of the future that will grow our economy, lower our energy bills, reduce pollution, and protect the health of our families and communities. And America’s farmers and rural communities have to be at the heart of this effort.”

Clinton gave a strong endorsement of the Renewable Fuel Standard:

The Renewable Fuel Standard can continue to be a powerful tool to spur the development of advanced biofuels and expand the overall contribution that renewable fuels make to our national fuel supply. But we also can’t ignore significant changes to the energy landscape since the RFS was expanded in 2007. We have to get the RFS back on track in a way that provides investors with the certainty they need, protects consumers, improves access to E15, E85, and biodiesel blends, and effectively drives the development of cellulosic and other advanced biofuels.

Read the entire editorial here.

Ethanol Industry Blasts EPA RFS Proposal

Ethanol industry groups are blasting the EPA proposal for volume obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for what they see as siding with the oil industry.

rfalogo1“Today’s announcement represents a step backward for the RFS,” says Renewable Fuels Association president Bob Dinneen, noting that the EPA continues to cling to the “blend wall” methodology. “The EPA plan fundamentally places the potential growth in renewable fuels in the hands of the oil companies — empowering the incumbent industry to continue to thwart consumer choice at the pump with no fear of consequence for their bad behavior.”

ACElogo“EPA is yet again proposing to circumvent the RFS by limiting ethanol use to the amount oil companies are willing to blend with the gasoline they refine and not one gallon more,” said American Coalition for Ethanol executive vice president Brian Jennings. “If EPA is willing to let oil companies disregard Clean Air Act requirements to clean up motor fuel, how does it expect power plants to comply with their Clean Air Act proposal to curb carbon pollution?”

growth-energy-logo1“It is unfortunate that EPA chose to side with the obligated parties who have deliberately refused to live up to their obligation to provide consumers with a choice of fossil fuels or lower cost, higher performing, homegrown renewable energy at the pump,” said Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis.

NCGA-Logo“Once again, the EPA has chosen to ignore the law by cutting the corn ethanol obligation 3.75 billion gallons from 2014 to 2016. This represents nearly a billion and a half bushels in lost corn demand,” said National Corn Growers Association president Chip Bowling. “The only beneficiary of the EPA’s decision is Big Oil.”

EPA will hold a public hearing on the proposal June 25 in Kansas City, Kansas. The public has until July 27 to comment on the proposal.

Biodiesel Industry Good with New EPA Proposal

The biodiesel industry is relatively pleased with the announcement today from EPA setting volume requirements for biofuels under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

nBBNational Biodiesel Board (NBB) CEO Joe Jobe voiced “measured support” for the proposal while calling for improvements in the final rule.

“It is not perfect, but it will get the U.S. biodiesel industry growing again and put people back to work,” said Jobe. “However, more can be done, and we particularly look forward to working with the administration on strengthening biodiesel volumes for 2016 and 2017 during the comment period in the coming weeks.”

Biodiesel falls under the Biomass-based Diesel category of the RFS, which is a subset of the overall Advanced Biofuels category. The EPA proposal, which is slated to be finalized in November, would gradually raise biodiesel volumes by about 100 million gallons per year to a standard of 1.9 billion gallons in 2017. Because of biodiesel’s higher energy content, this would count as 2.95 billion ethanol equivalent gallons under the RFS. The overall Advanced Biofuel standard would rise to 3.4 billion ethanol equivalent gallons in 2016. NBB had requested more aggressive growth to a biodiesel standard of 2.7 billion gallons by 2017, along with additional growth in the overall Advanced Biofuel category.

EPA Announces Volume Obligations Under RFS

epa-150Beating the announced deadline of June 1, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today proposed the volume requirements under the RFS program for 2014, 2015, and 2016 for cellulosic biofuel, biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel. EPA is also proposing the volume requirement for biomass-based diesel for 2017.

EPA is proposing to set the renewable fuel standards for 2014 at the levels that were actually produced and used as transportation fuel, heating oil or jet fuel in the contiguous U.S. and Hawaii. For 2015 and 2016, EPA is proposing ambitious increases in both advanced biofuel and total renewable fuel in comparison to 2014 levels. This proposed rulemaking also provides an evaluation of the expected volumes of cellulosic biofuel for 2015 and 2016, and proposes annual increases in the required volume of biomass-based diesel for 2015, 2016, and 2017.

Announcing the proposal today was Janet McCabe, EPA Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation. EPA Announces RFS RVO proposal

McCabe took a number of questions from the media on the proposal. EPA RVO proposal media question and answer

US Coachways Major Biodiesel Foundation Funder

us-coach-greenA major motorcoach company has topped $10,000 in donations to the National Biodiesel Foundation, making US Coachways the single largest donor outside the biodiesel industry to date.

“This donation total to date is a landmark amount, and we are exceedingly grateful for US Coachways’ continued commitment to biodiesel research and outreach,” said John Heisdorffer, Foundation president. “On behalf of the researchers, students, instructors, mechanics and others that benefit from the foundation, we thank this company for its continued generous support.”

Headquartered in Staten Island, New York, US Coachways is a family owned and operated bus and limousine charter company that has made regular monthly contributions to the foundation since 2012. “More people travel by bus than by any other mode of transportation,” said CEO Ed Telmany. “We contribute because we want to see the motorcoach industry become cleaner and more sustainable, and we’d also like to encourage other companies to put their commitment to sustainability into action by making donations to this foundation.”

Telmany said the contributions also show their customers that the company is motivated to help the transportation industry improve air quality.

Ethanol Report as Summer Begins

ethanol-report-adThe kickoff of summer this Memorial Day weekend finds beaches in Santa Barbara California closed as oil spreads off shore and workers try to clear up the mess left by the spill. Elsewhere, the oil industry continues to spread misinformation about ethanol, keeping RFA busy working to clear up misconceptions as fast as they happen.

In this Ethanol Report, Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen talks about a new report showing RIN credits have no impact on the price of gas, how E10 is safe for boaters, and when he expects to see the long overdue EPA proposal for volume obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Ethanol Report as Summer Begins

Ethanol Trade Missions to Expand Markets

Representatives of the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), and Growth Energy were in Tokyo this week for an industry market assessment of the potential to export U.S. ethanol to Japan.

growth-exports“The United States exported 900 million gallons of ethanol in 2014, supporting both U.S. farmers and the ethanol industry. We know that, going forward, ethanol exports have the potential to grow and become equally beneficial for our customers overseas,” said USGC president and CEO Tom Sleight. “USGC, Growth and RFA are committed to launching initiatives in 2015 and 2016 to build demand for U.S. ethanol and address barriers to ongoing imports.”

Over the next two years, the government of Japan will be undertaking a full review of its national energy policies, including biofuels, potentially opening up opportunities for additional ethanol exports there.

“The team came away with a much greater understanding of the current Japanese requirements and market conditions pertaining to ethanol and began the implementation of a strategy to help ensure that U.S. ethanol receives fair market access under the future energy policy that will be adopted when the current policy expires in 2017,” said Jim Miller, chief economist and vice president of Growth Energy.

“The team will continue examining the requirements of the Japanese sustainability standards, looking for ways to overcome infrastructure concerns, and compiling data responding to some of the misinformation government officials still hold regarding renewable fuels,” added RFA’s director of regulatory affairs, Kelly Davis.

Last week, the organizations were part of a mission with USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service in Mexico to explore potential in that market. One mission member, Greg Krissek, CEO of Kansas Corn, reflected on the trip in this video from the USGC.


Novozymes Part of Global Bioenergy Initiative

sustainableA new UN Sustainable Energy for All initiative was announced this week with the goal of “doubling the global use of renewable energy and ensuring universal energy access by 2030.”

Co-chaired by the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials, the initiative includes Novozymes, a global technology provider for the biofuels industry, as a partner in the project to scale up the development and deployment of sustainable bioenergy solutions.

novozymes“With this initiative, we help bring together a diverse range of global frontrunners to advance the development and use of sustainable bioenergy in countries where the environmental and socio-economic benefits are greatest,” said Thomas Videbæk, Executive Vice President for Business Development with Novozymes. “It is a unique chance to involve governments, industry, financial institutions, academia, and civil society to identify opportunities where action on sustainable bioenergy can be accelerated.”

Accounting for nearly half of the global enzyme market, Novozymes has been a major player in the commercial development of cellulosic ethanol. “We produce the enzymes that help break down starch and make sugar available for first generation ethanol and we are working on a number of projects to help breakdown cellulosic material,” said Videbæk in an interview today with DomesticFuel.

Videbæk says next generation biofuels are considered “sustainable bioenergy” under the initiative’s High Impact Opportunity (HIO) goals. “I look at the biofuel area, be it first or second generation, as very sustainable forms of energy,” said Videbæk. “We certainly hope to see that continues going forward.”

Which is one of the reasons Novozymes wanted to be part of this initiative that they hope will help get some regulatory clarity regarding sustainable bioenergy around the world, including the United States. “And we can get politicians to commit to mandates and targets for this type of energy, because we believe that is for the best of the planet’s future,” Videbæk said.

In this interview, Videbæk explains much more about the new initiative and Novozymes’ role in it. Interview with Thomas Videbæk, Novozymes

Ethanol Groups Promote Safe Boating on E10

With the Memorial Day weekend approaching fast, the ethanol industry is assuring boaters that 10% ethanol blended fuel is just fine for marine engines, despite what the American Petroleum Institute says.

In response to an API press call with the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) on Wednesday, Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis noted that “all major manufacturers of outboard and marine motors, as well as small engines, are approved for the use of gasoline blended with up to 10 percent ethanol.”

“What probably does concern boaters is the amount of time they spend dry docked as a result of oil spills, like the one that dumped 21,000 gallons of oil along four miles of coastline in Santa Barbara, California” this week,” said Buis.

rfa-nbra-3Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen adds that “E10 has been used successfully in marine engines for 30 years now” and that the higher octane in the fuel helps with summertime boating activities. “It’s gasoline on steroids, it doesn’t pollute, it’ll pull your jetskier, it’ll pull your tuber, it’ll get you to your favorite fishing hole, and you can know you’re supporting America’s farmers and clean water,” said Dinneen.

Dinneen’s simple advice to boaters concerned about using E10: “Take a look at your owner’s manual.” And check out RFA’s FAQs on ethanol and marine engines.

Listen to Dinneen’s comments about E10 and boating here: RFA CEO on E10 Safe for Boats