Ethanol Industry Comments on IRS Carbon Credit Proposal

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

Comments on proposed Internal Revenue Service regulations regarding the credit for carbon oxide sequestration under section 45Q of the Internal Revenue Code closed this week and ethanol supporters have provided input.

The ethanol industry generally supports the Carbon Capture Coalition, which was convened by the Great Plains Institute (GPI) and formed to help realize carbon capture’s full potential as a national energy, economic, and environmental strategy.

Comments from the Renewable Fuels Association additionally noted concerns that the minimum 100,000-metric-ton threshold may be difficult for ethanol plants to attain during economic challenges like the current pandemic which has cut ethanol production dramatically this year. RFA cautions that even short-term events that the industry may go through can lead to carbon sequestration below this threshold for a given year.

RFA proposed two remedies for such situations:
To prevent or help avoid a situation where an arguably eligible ethanol facility could lose 45Q eligibility in a particular year, we would suggest implementing a carbon capture measurement process that would allow an industrial facility, like an ethanol plant, to either: (1) carry over excess carbon capture tonnage from the previous year (only for the purposes of determining whether the threshold is met), or (2) have the ability to rely on a three- or five-year trailing average to determine how much carbon oxide is being captured annually at the facility.

Environment, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA

RFA Offers USDA Renewable Fuels Innovation Agenda

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

The Renewable Fuels Association provided USDA with a roadmap to renewable fuel growth in comments on its Agriculture Innovation Agenda (AIA). The agenda calls for “increased biofuel feedstock production and biofuel production efficiency and competitiveness to achieve market-driven blend rates of E15 in 2030 and E30 in 2050.”

RFA’s response identified the following five opportunities for the industry:

Increasing productivity in crops and ethanol to meet volume requirements sustainably
Stimulating more demand and reducing more emissions from the current RFS policy
Facilitating greater demand from future policy
Continuing USDA infrastructure investments to expand biofuel deployment and sell higher blends
Adopting carbon capture, sequestration and utilization technologies

In addition, the association identified several roadblocks that need to be addressed by the federal government. This includes providing RVP (Reid Vapor Pressure) parity for all ethanol blends, removing or significantly revising E15 fuel survey requirements and labeling requirements, revising EPA’s outdated lifecycle greenhouse gas analysis of corn ethanol, and eliminating unnecessary registration and pathway certification barriers to cellulosic ethanol production from corn kernel fiber.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA, USDA

REG to Supply Ultra Clean® Diesel in California

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

Renewable Energy Group, Inc. (REG) recently entered into an agreement with Hunt & Sons, Inc. to supply REG Ultra Clean® at 12 locations in Northern California.

REG Ultra Clean blends biodiesel and renewable diesel to create one of the lowest carbon intensity liquid fuels available approved by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). Hunt & Sons is a leading California-based petroleum products distributor and operates from its headquarters in Sacramento, California. This relationship is a first for the business.

REG Ultra Clean will be offered at 12 locations and is currently available at two Hunt & Sons locations: Rancho Cordova and Sacramento.

Biodiesel, REG, renewable diesel

Ethanol Report 7-31-20

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

Ethanol exports have taken a hit this year due to the pandemic, but there are still reasons to be optimistic about this important market for the industry. In this episode of The Ethanol Report, we hear from Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) General Counsel Ed Hubbard, who doubles as the organizations international trade expert.

We also learn about a new program geared toward young professionals in the ethanol industry 39 years old and younger from RFA Manager of Member Relations Jackie Pohlman.

Finally, we get an update from RFA CEO Geoff Cooper on where the Senate is on getting a coronavirus relief package that includes ethanol producers.

Ethanol Report 7-31-20 (24:06)

The Ethanol Report is a podcast about the latest news and information in the ethanol industry that has been sponsored by the Renewable Fuels Association since 2008.

Choose an option to subscribe

Audio, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Exports, RFA

RFA Launches Young Professionals Network

Cindy Zimmerman

To meet the needs of an evolving workforce in the ethanol industry, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) has launched the Young Professionals Network (YPN), a new program geared toward members of the ethanol industry and stakeholder industries who are 39 years old and younger.

The YPN is designed to bring together innovative and dedicated young professionals to build new relationships and work with one another to identify new opportunities that grow and strengthen the renewable fuels industry. In order to foster this new approach, the RFA YPN will host events year-round that focus on networking, leadership, improving operations, and finding new and innovative approaches to building the market for ethanol.

“As we visited plants across the country and hosted industry meetings, we’ve met many smart and innovative young people with a deep interest in renewable fuels,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “Our association wants to help the industry cultivate, develop, and retain the best and brightest young leaders in the business. Providing a forum for them to come together and collaborate on personal, professional and industry development will help them, their employers, and our industry succeed.”

Those who wish to learn more about the Young Professionals Network can go to EthanolRFA.org/YPN for more information.

Listen to an interview with RFA’s Manager of Member Relations, Jackie Pohlman, who is leading the initiative.
Interview with Jackie Pohlman, RFA

Audio, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA

Biofuels Vision 2020 Launches Ad Campaign

Cindy Zimmerman

Biofuels Vision 2020 launched a new ad campaign in Iowa this week expressing concern about the Trump administration’s track record on biofuels, which has become a major focus of debate in key Midwest political races.

Display and social media ads will run over the next three weeks, highlighting that “rural America is under siege by Trump’s EPA” and calling on the president to keep his promises to Iowa corn and soybean farmers.

“Rural communities face historic economic hardship in the wake of COVID-19, trade wars, and years of regulatory abuse,” said Biofuels Vision 2020 member Daryl Haack, a corn farmer in Primghar, Iowa and member of the board of Little Sioux Corn Processors. “We are not going to sit idly by and watch the Trump EPA sabotage the very foundation of our rural recovery. Iowans can’t afford to pay the price for any more backdoor handouts to well-connected oil companies.”

Biofuels Vision 2020 is a coalition of organizations and individuals committed to educating candidates in both parties about the production and use of renewable fuels in the United States.

Biodiesel, biofuels, Ethanol, Ethanol News

ACE Seeks More Specific Aid for Ethanol

Cindy Zimmerman

The Senate Republicans coronavirus economic relief package unveiled this week includes $20 billion in relief to be used by USDA in addition to the $14 billion in funding the previously enacted CARES Act, which marks the next step toward supplying much needed assistance to the renewable fuels sector. While American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings believes ethanol producers are considered to be “processors” described in the legislation, he urged more specific language.

“We are grateful Senate leaders have responded to our request for economic relief to biofuel producers in the phase four stimulus, however, Congress gave USDA the flexibility to provide relief for renewable fuel producers in the last package and USDA declined to exercise it. While Senator McConnell’s bill is more specific about processors of ag commodities, it still leaves discretion to USDA which has so far failed to use the authority to support our industry,” said Jennings.

ACE supports inclusion of the Grassley-Klobuchar bill which makes direct assistance certain. “We will continue to urge for more specific language in the final bill,” said Jennings. Fortunately, momentum appears to be in our favor since both the House-passed Heroes Act and Senate proposal contain relief provisions. “Now we need to ensure the legislative details are correct as there should be no reason direct assistance for ethanol producers doesn’t make it in the final phase four bill.”

ACE, Ethanol, Ethanol News

Senator Wants E15 Available Everywhere

Cindy Zimmerman

Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) is urging Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler to certify biofuel infrastructure for E15 and remove unnecessary labeling to increase consumer access to E15.

In a letter to Administrator Wheeler, Ernst wrote, “Two years ago, I worked successfully with you and President Trump to get E15 sold year-round. One year later, we sat in the Oval Office and created an agreement to further strengthen the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) by investing in biofuel infrastructure including streamlining labeling and removing other barriers to the sale of E15. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a great loss of demand for biofuels. You must act now to initiate a rulemaking process and follow through on this agreement to provide certainty to our Iowa farmers.”

Ernst continues: “Consumers have now driven more than 15 billion miles on E15, retailers have had millions of transactions, and it has been sold for nearly a decade (since 2011), all without a single reported issue. It makes little sense why the black and orange warning label cannot be addressed immediately.”

Meanwhile, the coronavirus relief package unveiled by Senate Republicans this week would give the USDA broad authority to spend an additional 20 billion dollars to assist ag producers and processors but does not mention the biofuels industry specifically.

E15, EPA, Ethanol, Ethanol News

ACE Urges Senate to Include Ethanol in Relief Bill

Cindy Zimmerman

American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings is urging Senate leaders to adopt legislation introduced by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) in May that would reimburse biofuel producers for a share of feedstocks they purchased and processed into renewable fuel during the first quarter of the year, and making the case to include the plan for direct aid in the next coronavirus aid package.

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Jennings emphasized the direct hit ethanol producers have taken as a result of COVID-19 restrictions and said the Grassley-Klobuchar bill would establish the Renewable Fuel Feedstock Reimbursement Program to aid in the recovery. “Ethanol use declined by 50 percent because of the social distancing, stay-at-home, and shelter-in-place orders instituted across the country to fight COVID-19, a catastrophic and unprecedented demand shock for domestic biofuel producers. Ethanol usage remains well-below pre-COVID levels and is not expected to recover through 2021.”

The need to provide emergency relief to biofuel producers was underscored in the letter by referencing the House of Representatives inclusion of a direct compensation program like the Grassley-Klobuchar bill in its stimulus package announced May 15.

ACE, Ethanol, Ethanol News

Ethanol Production Slows

Cindy Zimmerman

Ethanol production slowed its steady upward pace last week for the first time since the end of April, dropping by 2.5 percent from the previous week.

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending July 17, ethanol production slowed by 2.5%, or 23,000 barrels per day (b/d), to 908,000 b/d—equivalent to 38.14 million gallons daily. Production remains tempered due to COVID-19 disruptions, coming in 12.6% below the same week in 2019. The four-week average ethanol production rate ticked 0.3% higher to 913,000 b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 14.00 billion gallons.

Ethanol stocks thinned by 3.9% to 19.8 million barrels and 16.4% below year-ago volumes. Inventories tightened across all regions and are at their lowest level since the last week of 2016.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA