History was made this week with the signing of the Paris Agreement climate accord by 130 countries at the UN Headquarters in New York. The governments now have one year to ratify the accord. The Paris Agreement will enter into force on the 30th day after the date on which at least 55 Parties to the Convention accounting in total for at least an estimated 55 percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions have finalized their adoption of the accord. In response, the global biofuels community is calling on these countries to include biofuels as part of their greenhouse gas reduction goals.
Nearly a third of global GHGs come from the transportation sector making it a key area of focus in efforts to reduce emissions. Studies have shown that biofuels, like ethanol, are proven to reduce harmful GHGs from 40 percent to 90 percent compared to fossil fuels according to the Global Renewable Fuels Alliance (GRFA).
“It is clear that the biofuels industry generally, and ethanol specifically, will continue to have a significant role to play in international efforts to transition away from carbon-intensive fossil fuels in the transport sector,” said Bliss Baker, GRFA spokesperson. “As countries look to take policy steps to reduce GHG emissions in their transport sectors, the GRFA will continue to provide technical support for the adoption of ethanol-supportive policies that will maximize the advantages of biofuel technologies.”
At the end of March, U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to historic reductions in GHG emissions. President Obama pledged that the U.S. would cut its emissions by 26 percent by 2025 compared with 2005 levels. In turn, President Jinping promised that China’s emissions would peak by 2030 and fall after that, the first time China has agreed to any emission reduction targets.
However, as the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) points out, the U.S. did not include the roll biofuels would play in its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDCs), a plan submitted by each country outlining how it would meet emission reductions. So far 37 countries have included biofuels in these plans. Continue reading
The signing of the Paris Climate Agreement on Earth Day 2016 puts the focus on what countries are doing to make the world a better place, and some of the nearly 170 countries signing the accord are backing the use of renewable fuels like ethanol for cleaner air. In this Ethanol Report, Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen talks about the environmental benefits of ethanol and how the United States could have done more in the agreement to promote renewable fuels. He also shares his thoughts about what the oil industry costs American taxpayers on Tax Day.
Listen here: Ethanol Report on Earth Day
The Iowa Senate has passed a bipartisan resolution in support of the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) through 2022. The resolution calls on Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), President Obama, and the next president to support the policy as passed by Congress in 2005.
Senate Resolution 118 names the RFS as one of the single most successful energy policies in our nation’s history and goes on to say, “Under the RFS, renewable fuels have access to a retail market in the face of a vertically integrated petroleum market; and whereas, the RFS represents a congressional promise to American biofuels producers, farmers, communities, and investors that the blend levels of the RFS will increase each year; and whereas, this congressional policy support the RFS will continue to build on the long-term capacity of the renewable fuels industry and will encourage the development of new types of clean fuels…”
The resolution serves as a reminder of the benefits of the RFS to the state of Iowa in terms of economic output and the preservation of Iowa’s agricultural way of life. “The RFS has been a tremendously successful bipartisan policy that’s worked to reduce our dependence on foreign oil by producing our own clean American fuel and in leading the innovation of 21st century solutions to our energy needs. We need to keep this momentum going and I commend the Iowa Senate for passing this resolution,” said Tom Buis, co-chair of Growth Energy.
Fuel retailers disputed the existence of the mythical “blend wall” and told their success stories selling higher ethanol blends during a Congressional briefing last week at the end of the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) legislative fly-in. Participants in the briefing for Congressional staffers were ACE Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty, Pearson Fuels CEO Mike Lewis and Midway Service Owner Bruce Vollan.
“For years, we’ve been battling against an avalanche of misinformation about ethanol, the RFS, and E15, and yet there seem to be some lawmakers who have just given into this “cartoon villain” version of ethanol and are opposed for reasons that don’t exist,” said Lamberty. “Among the most frequent objections we hear are station owners don’t want to sell higher blends of ethanol, customers won’t buy them, and those factors create a mythical “blend wall” that makes it impossible to get beyond ten percent as required by the RFS. The best way to bust all of those myths is to introduce policymakers to people like Bruce and Mike whose real-world stories prove the naysayers are wrong, and higher ethanol blends are creating tremendous opportunities for station owners.”
Vollan talked about how has seen ethanol blends help his store grow from a tiny gas station into a multipurpose convenience and auto repair stop, and noted that he has never had customers report any damage from using higher ethanol blends. Pearson Fuels is a supplier of multiple locations offering E15 and E85 to drivers in the Pacific Coast and Lewis discussed the growth he has seen in demand since opening the nation’s first Alternative Fuel Station in San Diego in 2003.
ACE 2016 DC Fly-in Photo Album
Alliance BioEnergy + has been developing bolt-on cellulosic ethanol technology and the company has announced that its results from the testing of its pilot plant are positive. The tests looked at distillers grains (DDGs) and corn kernel fiber and it ability to be converted to cellulosic ethanol using the CoPro Max separation unit designed in conjunction with Harvest Technology. The two byproducts can be converted into cellulosic ethanol, adding millions of gallons of additional ethanol production to an existing facility.
The pilot testing has demonstrated that the corn kernel fiber is an ideal feedstocks when used in the CTS process and converts nearly 100 percent of the available sugars in as little as 12 minutes, according to Alliance BioEnergy. When combined with the CoPro Max system (to an 100 million gallons per year) corn ethanol plant), the company is reporting the CTS process adds nearly 12 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol to the plant and recovers most all of the highly valuable corn oil and proteins, from the DDGs. In addition, Alliance BioEnergy is reporting the sale of the additional ethanol, corn oil and proteins as well as cellulosic credits could add an additional $48 million to the bottom-line of a typical 100 mmgy corn ethanol plant.
Advantages of the bolt-on technology, says Alliance, include no need to purchase or transport feedstock to the plant nor is there a pre-treatment process.
Alliance BioEnergy is reporting its intentions to build and install the first unit in an existing ethanol plant this year and begin marketing the combined unit to U.S. ethanol plants later this year.
Today is Tax Day. While many Americans will receive a modest refund, oil producers are raking in the big bucks, $4 billion to $6 billion, through tax incentives dating back more than 100 years. Today, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) is pointing out that many of these century-old tax provisions never expire while the ethanol industry agreed to let its incentive expire in 2011.
The Joint Committee on Taxation recently estimated that elimination of certain “fossil fuel preferences” (i.e., subsidies) would save U.S. taxpayers at least $24.5 billion — or roughly $210 per U.S. household — between 2015 and 2020.
“Big Oil needing any government assistance is preposterous,” said Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “Why would an incumbent industry that has a virtual monopoly at the pump need taxpayer dollars to compete?”
“On this tax day, Congress should seriously consider repealing this absurd and costly corporate welfare,” continued Dinneen. “Consumers will benefit when there is a truly free market in motor fuel, when alternatives like ethanol have access to the pump, when a variety of biofuel blends (E15, E25, E85) are accessible to consumers and when taxpayers no longer have to subsidize the most profitable industry on the planet. Until then, programs like the Renewable Fuel Standard are all we have to compel some level of competition and cost-control on an otherwise broken and unfair market.”
The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) is a new member of the U.S. Grains Council, recognizing the important role that organization plays in the promoting exports of both ethanol and the livestock feed co-product DDGS.
“We have a unified (ethanol) industry effort working together to build exports,” said USGC president and CEO Tom Sleight who visited with members of ACE in Washington DC last week for their annual legislative fly-in. “For 15, 20 years we’ve been doing DDGS and now for about three years we’ve been looking at ethanol and the effort is going farther and faster then I thought it would, again because of the strong cooperation we’re getting from the full ethanol industry.”
Sleight says China, Japan, Mexico and India are top priorities for U.S. ethanol exports. Secondary markets include Canada, Philippines, Colombia, and Peru.
In this interview, Sleight also discusses the U.S. DDGS market outlook and upcoming Export Exchange this year to bring buyers and sellers of DDGS together. Interview with Tom Sleight, USGC
ACE 2016 DC Fly-in Photo Album
Back in January, China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) initiated an investigation into anti-dumping and countervailing duties on imports of U.S. produced distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS). The U.S. Grains Council has been on top of the situation from the start and provided an update for members of the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) meeting in Washington DC this week.
USGC Director of Industry Relations Lyndsey Erb says the issue is important because China is such a huge market for the ethanol co-product used as animal feed. “China had been the largest importer of U.S. DDGS, taking 56% of exportable supplies last year,” said Erb. USGC has been coordinating the response from the U.S. ethanol industry to provide the information needed to help address the concerns and get China back in the market.
“We’re still very much in the beginning stages,” Erb says. “Ultimately the case has to wrap up between a year and a year and a half after the initiation so we still have a long road ahead of us in this case but such a large percentage of the U.S. industry is joining the Grains Council to fight that we are optimistic we can put together a good defense.”
Erb explains more in this interview: Interview with Lyndsey Erb, USGC
ACE 2016 DC Fly-in Photo Album
All Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) wants is for consumers to be able to have the choice to fill up with 15% ethanol all year long. That’s why he introduced H.R. 1736 to extend the current EPA Reid vapor pressure (RVP) waiver to include E15.
“My bill would reverse this antiquated, non-scientific regulation out of EPA that was created in 1990,” said Rep. Smith during an interview at the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) annual legislative fly-in. “It’s about generating interest and enthusiasm by consumers to exercise their choice.”
Smith recognizes that getting any legislation passed during this election year is challenging, but he hopes to find a legislative vehicle on which to attach the bill.
In this interview he also makes some comments about the budget and appropriations process going on in Congress right now: Interview with Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE)
ACE 2016 DC Fly-in Photo Album
As we all know in this contentious presidential campaign, most candidates spend at least as much time attacking their opponents as they do talking about their own good qualities and experience. That is a strategy that the ethanol industry should employ more often, according to an experienced political strategist.
Paul Tewes of the Smoot Tewes Group (STG) has 20 years experience as a political operative and he believes that in the ethanol public relations battle, there is a clear villain on the other side. “We’re only going to win if we always make it a contrast with oil,” said Tewes, speaking to members of the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) meeting in Washington DC this week. “We always have to continue to stress our positives because there are so many of them but we have to contrast that with the negative facts about the oil industry.”
Listen to an interview with Tewes here: Interview with Paul Tewes, Smoot Tewes Group
ACE 2016 DC Fly-in Photo Album