Trestle Energy Receives CARB Pathway Approval

California-based Trestle Energy has received its pathway approval for the production of ethanol from California Air Resources Board (CARB) under the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). Back in 2014, the company received approval by British Columbia.

Trestle Energy logo“We are pleased California has joined BC in approving our fuel pathways,” said James Rhodes, co-founder and president of Trestle Energy. “These pathways demonstrate the ability of American agriculture, industry, and ingenuity to both grow the economy and protect the environment. They also demonstrate the ability of ambitious environmental policies to stimulate innovation and drive down carbon emissions. We look forward to expanding our network of partners to ramp up deliveries for California consumers. We are excited to begin working with Oregon regulators in the coming year.”

According to the company, it’s goal is to apply the ethanol technology under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). EPA approval under the RFS would allow American ethanol producers to compete with foreign sugarcane ethanol imports, creating jobs and climate benefits here at home, says Rhodes, who also noted it would also enable American industries to start delivering on the climate commitments adopted last month in the Paris Agreement (COP21).

Growing Beyond the RFS to Drive Demand for Ethanol

After years of uncertainty, the final volumes for the amount of corn ethanol were announced late last year, and corn ethanol is essentially at its limit under the RFS, according to Doug Durante, Clean Fuels Development Coalition (CFDC) executive director.

Doug_Durante_CFDCDurante gave a recap of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) and what it means for the ethanol industry during a Nebraska Ethanol Board meeting Jan. 21 in Lincoln. He discussed the regulatory roadblocks that, if eliminated, would open the market for higher ethanol blends.

“The RFS helped kick start the significant volumes of ethanol production we see today, but we cannot rely on the RFS to ensure a continued market,” Durante said. “The industry needs to grow beyond the RFS and create new, consumer-driven demand that capitalizes on the health benefits of ethanol’s clean octane and the ability to meet low-carbon fuel standards.”

Durante suggested that ethanol advocates find additional pathways to create market demand that allows the industry to move beyond the RFS volume obligations. He noted that eliminating the following burdens on ethanol would help create more opportunities for ethanol:

  • Removing unnecessary seasonal Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) restrictions
  • Raising the minimum octane for fuel
  • Enforcing limitations on levels of toxic aromatics in gasoline
  • Correcting the flawed EPA MOVES model and lifecycle analysis
  • Reinstating meaningful flex fuel vehicle (FFV) credits for vehicle manufacturers
  • Streamlining the certification of higher ethanol blends up to E30

“Given the restrictions and possible expiration of the RFS, the transition to more open and free ethanol markets must begin now,” explained Durante. “Ethanol production and utilization has only scratched the surface of its potential.”

Ethanol Report on Media, Politics and the RFS

ethanol-report-adWith the Iowa caucuses coming up February 1, the Hawkeye State has been inundated with both candidates and reporters, and ethanol has become a topic for mainstream media to report about, often inaccurately. In this Ethanol Report, Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) president and CEO Bob Dinneen discusses the inaccurate terms being used to describe the RFS, urges the media and voters to do independent research, and gives his thoughts on the views of Republican candidate Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

Ethanol Report on Media, Politics and the RFS

Reynolds, Naig Highlight Fueling Our Future 100

During the 10th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit, Iowa Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, along with Mike Naig, deputy secretary of agriculture, highlighted the new “Fueling Our Future 100” program. In round one, the program has allocated $2.49 million dollars to help Iowa gas retailers install 107 blender pumps and 8 underground storage tanks to store high blends of ethanol. Naig said applications for the 2nd round of funding are due February 1, 2016.

Kim Reynolds and Mike NaigReynolds noted that each blender pump installed benefits Iowa’s agricultural economy and supports good jobs for Iowa families. Adding blender pumps also gives consumers more choices at the pump, she added.

“Thanks to the support of our federal partners at the USDA, the ‘Fueling our Future 100’ program is going to ensure that consumers in our state have greater access to biofuels.  We’re appreciative of companies like Five Star Coop, New Century Farm Services, Kum & Go, STAR Energy and Three Rivers Farm Services Company for their efforts in continuing to put Iowa on the forefront of an even greater renewable future.”

The  Fueling Our Future 100 received a $5 million competitive grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership (BIP) program.  All funds must be matched by non-federal funds, including up to $2.5 million from the Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure program. The fueling sites applying for assistance will also be required to provide a minimum of $2.5 million.

Listen to Iowa Lt. Governor Kim Reynold’s remarks here: IA Lt Gov Kim Reynolds' Remarks

Listen to Iowa Ag Deputy Secretary Mike Naig’s remarks here: Mike Naig's Remarks

10th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit Photo Album

#RFS Campaign Fact Checks from @EthanolRFA

rfalogo1Ethanol has been in the spotlight as a presidential campaign issue with the Iowa caucuses just around the corner, but the Renewable Fuels Association is concerned about some of the misconceptions that have been tossed around in the discussion so they have issued a one-page fact sheet to correct some of that with both candidates and the media.

First – there is no “corn ethanol subsidy.”The Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (also known as the “blender’s tax credit”) expired five years ago in 2011. Further it was gasoline blenders — not ethanol producers — who received a 45 cent per gallon tax credit for each gallon of ethanol blended. The Small Ethanol Producer Tax Credit also expired in 2011.

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is not a “subsidy.”The RFS is not a tax incentive or subsidy in any way, shape, or form. The RFS has absolutely no impact on the federal budget or tax revenues. Rather, the RFS is a program that guarantees lower-carbon biofuels will have access to a fuel market that is overwhelmingly and unfairly dominated by petroleum.

There is also no such thing as an “ethanol mandate.”The RFS does not mandate the use of corn ethanol or any other type of ethanol for that matter. Rather, the RFS requires that oil companies blend increasing volumes of renewable fuels, without specifying the type of renewable fuel. In fact, oil companies may meet their RFS obligations by blending and marketing biogas, renewable diesel, renewable jet fuel, biobutanol, biodiesel, and a host of other renewable fuel options. While a wide variety of renewable fuels are being produced today, ethanol has been the highest-volume and lowest-cost renewable fuel available to meet RFS requirements.

Read more here.

RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen urges members of the media to contact the RFA if they have questions about ethanol or the RFS. “Unfortunately the media has been perpetuating a lot of the misinformation about the ethanol industry as they cover the presidential candidates,” said Dinneen. “There are two sides to every story and if reporters have questions, or need further clarification on any ethanol-related issues, we are ready and available to assist them.”

Iowa Delegation Urges EPA to Get RFS on Track

The entire Iowa congressional delegation this week urged the EPA to propose 2017 ethanol and 2018 biodiesel Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) consistent with enacted law.

A letter signed by Iowa Congressmen David Young, Rod Blum, Steve King, and Dave Loebsack, and Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, was sent to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy encouraging her to commit to getting the RFS back on track.

“Our agricultural base in Iowa, serving as feedstock for ethanol and biodiesel production, has near record supplies of excess corn,” the members of Congress wrote. “We believe the statutory levels are more than achievable in the coming year.”

irfa-iowa-delegationReps. Loebsack, Young and King all appeared Tuesday at the Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit to discuss the letter and the importance of the RFS.

“We’ll see if we get any results,” from the letter, said Rep. King. “But we’ve been saying consistently and persistently that the RFS is in statute – follow it.”

“It’s not totally out of the question for us to work together,” said Loebsack, the only Democrat of the three. “And on this issue it’s a complete no brainer … it’s about our economy, it’s about our farmers, it’s about national security, it’s about a lot of things.”

“We have farm income down about 35% and we have the EPA which seems to be on a warpath at times,” said Young. “We’re just asking the EPA to obey the law.”

Listen to the press conference here: Iowa congressmen at Iowa RFA

10th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit Photo Album

Iowa Governor Blasts Ted Cruz Over Ethanol

irfa-branstadIowa Governor Terry Branstad made national headlines Tuesday at the Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit with his comments about presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) during an impromptu press conference.

“He is heavily financed by Big Oil,” Branstad said about Cruz. “I think it would be very damaging to our state…and I think it would be a big mistake for Iowa to support him.”

Branstad noted that Senator Cruz was not invited to speak at the renewable fuels summit specifically because of his views on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). “That’s the reason why he hasn’t been invited to this because he hasn’t supported renewable fuels,” said Branstad. “He still supports immediately repealing the Renewable Fuel Standard.” Branstad added that Cruz is “against the wind energy tax credit as well.”

Listen to Branstad’s comments here: Gov. Branstad comments on Ted Cruz

Governor Branstad addressed the 10th Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit, which he has done almost every year that the event has been held. “I have supported ethanol and biodiesel from the very beginning,” he said. Gov. Branstad at Iowa RFA summit

10th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit Photo Album

“Kirby’s Future” Wins Fuel the Future Video Contest

A young woman from Des Moines, Iowa, Helena Gruensteid, who attends Roosevelt High School, took home the top honors in the Fuel the Future video contest. The top three placing high school videos were unveiled yesterday during the 10th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit held in Altoona, Iowa. Gruensteid was awarded $1,000 for her video “Kirby’s Future. The contest was sponsored by the BrownWinick Law Firm.

Evan Boss, Brock Henderson, and Christian Moore of North Linn High School and North Linn FFA and won the $600 second place prize for their video entitled, “North Linn FFA E15 Video.”

Hannah Song, a senior at Iowa City West High School, was awarded the $400 third place prize for her video entitled, “Fuel the Future with E15.”

“I want to thank all of the Iowa high school students who took on the challenge of entering this year’s contest and learning about the benefits of using renewable fuels, like E15 and biodiesel,” said IRFA Communications Director T.J. Page. “While all of the videos were fantastic, Helena’s entry stood out for its entertaining storyline, and imaginative presentation of benefits of using homegrown, cleaner-burning E15.”

View the 10th Annual Renewable Fuels Summit Photo Album.

Four GOP Candidates Address #Ethanol

Four Republican presidential candidates addressed the 10th annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit on Tuesday, putting a major national spotlight on the importance of ethanol to the nation.

irfa-santorumFirst up was former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, the only candidate who had been there before, making his third appearance to the group. He stressed his long support for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). “I am not a newbie to the RFS world,” he said. “I’m the only person in this race who actually voted for the RFS when I was in the United States Senate in 2005.”

Alluding to Senator Ted Cruz, who was not invited to speak at the summit but who has strong support in Iowa, Santorum encouraged ethanol supporters to “Stand up for someone who supports the RFS.”

Listen to Santorum’s remarks here: Rick Santorum at Iowa RFA

irfa-trumpFront runner Donald Trump was next up, reading from prepared remarks and also stressing his support for the RFS. “The RFS is an important tool in the mission to achieve energy independence for the United States,” Trump said. “I will do all that is in my power as president to achieve that goal.”

Trump also noted remarks that Iowa Governor Terry Branstad made in a press conference at the event that “it would be a big mistake for Iowa to support him.”

Listen to Trump’s remarks here: Donald Trump at Iowa RFA

irfa-huckabeeFollowing Trump was former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who stressed the importance of farmers in the goal of energy independence, saying people don’t appreciate “that our agricultural system not only provides the food and fiber for our tables, but now is doing something truly remarkable – helping provide fuel for our energy needs.”

Huckabee said the RFS created investment in renewable fuels and “something magic happened – the program actually worked!”

Listen to Huckabee’s remarks here: Mike Huckabee at Iowa RFA

irfa-fiorinaLast to take the stage was businesswoman Carly Fiorina who talked about the EPA’s final rule for biofuels volume obligations under the RFS made last year that is lower than Congress intended.

“What’s going on with renewable rule standards, what’s going on with EPA, are an example of what’s wrong with our government,” she said. “They are one of the reasons why I’m running for the presidency of the United States.”

Listen to Fiorina’s remarks here: Carly Fiorina at Iowa RFA

10th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit Photo Album

Vilsack Featured Speaker at Nat’l Ethanol Conference

vilsackrfaU.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has been named to the lineup for this year’s National Ethanol Conference. The gathering, going on Feb. 15-17 in New Orleans, is the most widely attended executive level conference for the ethanol industry. Vilsack, a former governor of Iowa, was praised by the Renewable Fuels Association as being a long-time ally of ethanol.

Vilsack is a strong proponent of ethanol, renewable fuels and American agriculture. As leader of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Vilsack is working hard to strengthen the American agricultural economy, build vibrant rural communities and create new markets for the tremendous innovation of rural America.

Other topics at the conference include, global marketing and logistics trends, ethanol’s benefits as a high octane fuel source, and much more!

More information and registration are available here.