Iowa Tells Pruitt to Leave RFS Alone

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With the Senate poised to confirm Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency, Iowa has a message for him – Don’t Mess with the RFS.

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) and other state organizations urged Pruitt to protect the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) by rejecting a petition to change the program’s point of obligation, which would change the RFS obligated parties from mostly large petroleum refiners to many fuel retailers. “We have a slogan in the renewable fuels family that says ‘Don’t mess with the RFS,’” said IRFA Executive Director Monte Shaw. “Let me make this perfectly clear: changing the point of obligation is most definitely messing with the RFS in a significantly harmful manner. Iowa’s ethanol and biodiesel producers oppose it and will fight hard to defeat it.”

Under the Obama Administration, the EPA proposed to reject the request, but the public comment period on the proposed rejection is still open meaning the final decision will be up to President Donald Trump’s EPA. Iowa entities urging Pruitt to finalize the pending rejection include Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA), Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA), Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Stores of Iowa (PMCI), Iowa Biodiesel Board (IBB), Truckstops of Iowa, and Kum & Go.

Biodiesel, biofuels, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Iowa RFA, RFS

RFA Suggests Retool for REGS

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In comments submitted this week on the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Renewables Enhancement and Growth Support (REGS) rule, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) said the proposal fails to address key regulatory barriers that are constraining growth in ethanol production and use.

“In fact, we are concerned some elements of the REGS proposal may actually serve to add complexity and create new barriers to renewable fuel market expansion, an effect that would be the opposite of the rule’s stated purpose,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen in the comments. He suggests that instead of proceeding with the current rulemaking, EPA should “initiate a far more comprehensive process to reform existing fuel regulations in a way that levels the playing field for renewable fuels and genuinely removes regulatory barriers to growth.”

RFA recommends a number of actions EPA should take to reform existing fuel regulations, including establishing regulatory parity in the volatility limits; simplifying the petition process for new certification fuels and eliminating unreasonable criteria for approval; eliminating unnecessarily burdensome and costly requirements related to the fuel and fuel additive registration process; and updating the lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) analysis of corn ethanol conducted for RFS2.

Read RFA’s full comments to EPA.

EPA, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA, RFS

China Supreme Court Rules for Novozymes

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In a landmark biotechnology ruling, the Supreme People’s Court of China has ruled in favor of Novozymes, upholding the company’s patent on enzymes for production of fuel ethanol and beverage alcohol.

The patent dispute began in 2011, when Novozymes found evidence that Shandong Longda Bio-Products Co., Ltd. and Jiangsu Boli Bioproducts Co., Ltd. were producing and selling a proprietary Novozymes glucoamylase enzyme for use in the bioenergy and beverage industries violating one of Novozymes’ Chinese patents. The Supreme People’s Court’s verdict is final and cannot be appealed.

Novozymes’ General Counsel Mikkel Viltoft says they are pleased with the Court’s decision and commend the Chinese patent and court system for protecting biotech innovations. }This landmark verdict will spur growth and investments in China and encourage local inventions, and it shows that China is serious in its efforts to protect intellectual property rights,” said Viltoft. “Novozymes has been in China for more than 20 years, working closely with local companies and universities to develop technologies that reduce CO2 emissions and the use of harsh chemicals.

Novozymes has been operating in China since 1995 and now has more than 1,000 employees across six sites. The company’s main businesses in China are in household care, textile, waste water treatment, food and beverage, agriculture and bioenergy.

enzymes, Ethanol, Ethanol News, International, Novozymes

Trade Talk about Ethanol Exports at #USGC17

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Exports of U.S. ethanol and distillers feed co-products has been a big topic this week at the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) 14th International Marketing Conference & 57th Annual Membership Meeting in Panama City, Panama.

USGC president and CEO Tom Sleight says the export picture is changing but still positive. “Last year we had China buying a lot, now Brazil is in the market,” he said. “What the U.S. Grains Council is doing is trying to build those markets for tomorrow.”

China’s recent imposition of anti-dumping duties and tariffs on U.S. ethanol and distillers feed co-products has made business with that country more difficult but Sleight is optimistic. “I think we have to engage even heavier in China and talk to them more clearly,” he said.

In this interview with AgWired reporter Lizzy Schultz, Sleight also talks about a letter the industry recently sent to President Trump about the situation in China and how the new president’s trade agenda might impact export markets. Interview with Tom Sleight, USGC

Audio, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Exports, USGC

Register For Nebraska Ethanol Forum

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Registration is open for the Nebraska Ethanol Emerging Issues Forum April 13-14 in LaVista, Nebraska.

Emerging issues on the agenda this year include Policy Prospects Under the Trump Administration, RINs and the Point of Obligation, Policy Impacts on Exports, Ethanol Marketing Challenges, Protein Formulations and Bio-Products and much more.

Undergraduate and graduate students can apply for a scholarship to cover their registration to the forum. More information and registration here.

Ethanol, Ethanol News

Lower DDGs Exported to China in 2016

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A new report from the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) shows that U.S. exports of the ethanol co-product distillers grains (DG) were lower last year, mainly due to a significant drop in exports to China.

Exports of the high protein co-product of dry mill ethanol production used to feed livestock and poultry totaled 11.48 million metric tons (MMT) in 2016, down 10 percent from 2015’s record-high but still the second-highest on record, according to the report. While China remained the leading destination for U.S. distillers grains, exports to that country dropped 63 percent compared to 2015 as anti-dumping and countervailing duties against U.S. product were implemented.

“Distillers grains and other co-products have become an enormously important component of the global feed market. This report underscores that our co-products are in high demand in every corner of the world,” said Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “Unfortunately, we saw a slight downturn in total exports in 2016 because of China’s protectionist actions to shut out U.S. distillers grains. Last week, RFA and our partnering organizations sent a letter to President Trump, alerting him to China’s unfair and illegitimate trade barriers, and urging the incoming U.S. Trade Representative to address the issue. We remain concerned with China’s actions and look forward to the administration’s response to ensure free and fair trade between our countries.”

One out of every three tons of DG produced in the United States last year shipped to 50 foreign markets, with Mexico, Vietnam and South Korea, Turkey, and Thailand growing by a combined 2.06 MMT in 2016 — equivalent to the annual DG production of 10 average-sized ethanol plants.

READ MORE from RFA

Distillers Grains, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Exports, RFA

Corn + Ethanol = Happy Future

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Commentary by Chris Novak, Chief Executive Officer, National Corn Growers Association

Growth Energy and its members met last week in Miami, Florida for their annual leadership conference. Next week, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) will gather in San Diego, California for their National Ethanol Conference – and in less than a month, the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) will host its annual Fly-In in Washington D.C. Three different ethanol associations, holding three different meetings – each vital to our collective success. In the midst of these meetings, it’s a good time to pause and reflect on corn and ethanol’s shared history – and to consider what opportunities and challenges lie ahead.

For more than twenty years, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and its state affiliates have worked side by side with the ethanol industry to bring ethanol-blended fuels to the marketplace. In so doing, the production of fuel ethanol has contributed significantly to our nation’s economy in terms of job creation, tax revenues and energy independence. At last check, 214 biorefineries in 29 states supported nearly 360,000 jobs and displaced 527 million barrels of foreign oil keeping $26 billion in the U.S. economy. That’s something to celebrate.

READ MORE

Commentary, corn, Ethanol, NCGA

Biofuels Continue to Power Iowa Economy

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Record high production of ethanol and biodiesel in 2016 continued to power the rural Iowa economy engine despite another challenging year, according to the latest economic impact study commissioned by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA).

“The environment facing Iowa’s biodiesel industry was more favorable than that experienced by ethanol producers,” said study author John Urbanchuk, ABF Economics. “Both the ethanol and biodiesel industry continued to benefit from a diversification of feedstocks and co-products. Combined, these activities make a significant contribution to the Iowa economy.”

The study found that biofuels production supported more than 42,000 jobs throughout the entire Iowa economy, generated about $2.3 billion in household income for Iowans, and accounted for roughly $4.7 billion, or 3.5 percent, of Iowa GDP.

Read more here.

Biodiesel, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Iowa RFA

Growth Energy Honors Vilsack

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Rick Schwarck, Absolute Energy, presents Growth Energy award to Tom Vilsack

Growth Energy awarded former Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack the America’s Fuel Award, which is presented each year to an individual who has “gone above and beyond the call of duty to act as a champion for the renewable fuels industry.”

“We are thrilled to recognize Secretary Vilsack with the America’s Fuel Award for his remarkable commitment to the nation’s most successful energy policy, the Renewable Fuel Standard. We thank Secretary Vilsack for his unwavering dedication to the growth and success of the American ethanol industry throughout his time as Secretary of Agriculture and Governor of Iowa,” said Emily Skor, Growth Energy CEO.

Past winners include Growth Energy Co-chairman Tom Buis, Gov. Terry Branstad, retired Four Star General, Wesley Clark, and Richard Childress of Richard Childress Racing. The organization held its eighth annual Executive Leadership Conference last week in Miami.

Growth Energy

NCGA #Ethanol Action Team Discusses Demand

Cindy Zimmerman

Members of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Ethanol Action Team (ETHAT) were recently in Savannah, Georgia to talk about expanding demand for corn ethanol.

The agenda covered topics ranging from fuel dispenser infrastructure to sports marketing sponsorships, according to ETHAT Chair Paul Jeschke, who noted that there is a lot of excitement over the Trump administration’s stated support for the RFS.

Chuck Studer of John Deere reported to the committee about the Ag Auto Ethanol Working Group’s latest efforts to find common ground on octane with automakers under the Trump Administration. They also heard an update on Growth Energy’s E15 branding research process and Prime the Pump’s efforts to promote E15 and higher ethanol blended fuels in local markets.

Since ETHAT is assuming oversight of NCGA’s sports marketing programs, the group also received an update on NASCAR and NCGA’s newly launched sponsorship with the Renewable Fuels Association of the Crappie Masters Tournament Trail.

corn, Ethanol, Ethanol News, NCGA