RFA Asks EPA to Use Reset Rule to Restore Lost RFS Gallons

Cindy Zimmerman

With the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee scheduled vote next week on the nomination of Andrew Wheeler to be administrator of EPA, Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) CEO Geoff Cooper sent a letter to Wheeler this week to provide input on the agency’s upcoming RFS reset proposal.

RFA is asking Wheeler to use the reset rule as an opportunity to restore the RFS volumes that were “inappropriately erased” by granting numerous small refinery exemptions and other actions, including:

The 500 million gallons of renewable fuel improperly waived from the 2016 standards, as required by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals’ remand in Americans for Clean Energy v. EPA;
The approximately 232 million Renewable Identification Number (“RIN”) “write-off” as part of the Philadelphia Energy Solutions Refining and Marketing, LLC bankruptcy settlement; and
The 2.25 billion RINs attributable to 48 small refinery exemptions granted for compliance years 2016 and 2017, of which approximately 1.8 billion RINs were for conventional biofuel.

“As a result of these waivers or exemptions from required volumes, many ethanol plants have recently idled, shut down, or announced layoffs. These compliance exemptions also have hurt demand and prices for American farmers. At a time when trade disputes are dampening export market opportunities, the EPA-induced disruption in domestic ethanol and corn demand is devastating,” Cooper wrote.

Cooper explains that the “reset” provision of the RFS is triggered when EPA waives certain volumes of the RFS by 20% or more in two consecutive years or 50% in one year. “So we’ve hit that point and EPA is working on a proposal to reset the 2020-2022 volumes,” said Cooper.

Listen to his explanation here: RFA CEO Geoff Cooper explains reset provision of RFS

Audio, EPA, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA, RFS

Advanced Biofuels USA’s Ivancic Appointed to MD Clean Energy Group

Cindy Zimmerman

The Maryland Clean Energy Center (MCEC) appointed Advanced Biofuels USA executive director Joanne Ivancic to serve on its 2019 Advisory Council. The council consists of 50 energy industry representatives and exists to develop a work plan for the Maryland Clean Energy Center (MCEC) and set the framework for activity of the organization,

“I look forward to doing just that here in Maryland as part of the Maryland Clean Energy Center’s Advisory Council,” said Ivancic. “People think of solar and wind when they think of clean energy. My goal will be to help them understand that we also need clean energy for transportation and that biofuels can fill that need in the near term by fueling cars, trucks, planes and trains that we use today.”

The Maryland Clean Energy Center was created in 2008 to encourage the transformation of the energy economy. MCEC works to implement financing solutions that catalyze the growth of business, create jobs, and make clean energy technologies, products and services affordable and accessible for Maryland consumers.

advance biofuels, biofuels, Clean Energy, Energy, Ethanol

Independent Study Finds Vehicle Emission Testing Unreliable

Cindy Zimmerman

The Urban Air Initiative (UAI) has released the results of an independent study that finds “many of the test fuels used in emissions research studies do not reflect the makeup of consumer fuels, limiting the ability of ethanol to be used to reduce emissions and improve vehicle efficiency.”

The study, titled Effects of Ethanol Blends on Light-Duty Vehicle Emissions: A Critical Review reviewed and assessed nearly 100 different vehicle emission studies and discovered that a significant number of them do not represent real world fuel properties.

“This validates the concerns UAI has raised for years, that ethanol is penalized because the studies EPA uses do not accurately model the emission reducing benefits of ethanol,” said UAI Technical Director Steve Vander Griend. “The information uncovered by this study aids UAI in our ongoing efforts to fully understand the dangers of aromatics used in today’s gasoline.”

The study was conducted by Future Fuel Strategies and relied on the experience of highly regarded experts with emissions, vehicle modeling, and fuel and refinery expertise. Many of the studies they focused on were organized by the Coordinated Research Council (CRC), which has the support of the petroleum industry and is relied upon by the EPA for fuels and emissions data. In addition to the study, the consultants have written two different technical papers, one of which is already in peer review. The results of the analysis will also be presented at the CRC Real World Emission Workshop in March.

Test fuels are critical to the ethanol industry because they are the supporting evidence the EPA uses to establish fuel regulations that dictate the amount of ethanol allowed in gasoline. UAI believes this third party analysis can be used as a tool to establish a consensus on how to model test fuels moving forward. The goal would be for the EPA to create a fuel blending standard.

EPA, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Urban Air Initiative

Biodiesel Market in EU Opens for U.S. Soybeans

Cindy Zimmerman

The European Commission has formally announced that conservation practices required for U.S. soybean production meet EU sustainability standards, and biodiesel produced from documented soybeans can now be used in the EU.

The EU requires biofuels to meet a set of sustainability criteria outlined in its Renewable Energy Directive (RED). The U.S. soy industry has its own sustainability guideline, the Soybean Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP) that, with this announcement, the EU acknowledges meets its rigorous RED requirements.

“U.S. farmers have long prided themselves on adopting newer and better methods for producing high-quality soybeans that are grown responsibly and sustainably,” said American Soybean Association president Davie Stephens of Kentucky. “The SSAP sets a high standard that demonstrates that commitment, and we are pleased that the EU Commission has recognized our efforts by opening the door for SSAP-certified soybeans to be used in EU biodiesel.”

The United States is the lead supplier of soybeans to the EU, and while this announcement applies only to soybeans exported for biodiesel, ASA sees it as a positive step for enhancing its EU market and validating the quality of the SSAP sustainability initiative. The EU’s decision will remain in place through at least July 1, 2021.

ASA, Biodiesel, Exports, Soybeans

Groups Submit Comments on E15 by 2025 in Ontario

Cindy Zimmerman

Growth Energy and the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) jointly submitted comments to the Canadian Province of Ontario supporting the expansion of biofuels blending to implement a 15 percent renewable content in gasoline by 2025.

“For decades now, North American farmers and ethanol producers have continued to benefit from tariff-free borders,” the comments noted. “With an existing North American supply chain, Ontario can rest assured that the increase in demand from a move to 15 percent ethanol will be met by this vibrant marketplace. Collectively, the North American industry is poised to assist Ontario attain its ambitious climate goals and to support this ambitious provincial move.”

Read the comments here.

E15, Ethanol, Growth Energy, USGC

National Biodiesel Foundation Elects New Directors

Cindy Zimmerman

The National Biodiesel Foundation elected three new directors to the Board last week during the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo.

Danielle Brannan, New Leaf Biofuels; Mike Devine, World Energy; and Chris Hill, American Soybean Association joined the board of the foundation which supports biodiesel research and education. They join others on the board:

Jeff Lynn, NBF President, Illinois Soybean Association
Mark Caspers, NBF Vice President, Nebraska Soybean Board
Lindsay Fitzgerald, NBF Secretary and Treasurer, Renewable Energy Group
Matt Jaeger, Emergent Green Energy
Rob Shaffer, American Soybean Association
David Womack, Tennessee Soybean Promotion Board
Dave Walton, Iowa Soybean Association

2019 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Biodiesel, Biodiesel Conference, Education, National Biodiesel Conference, NBB

Whitefox Announces Fourth Start-up

Cindy Zimmerman

Whitefox Technologies has announced its fourth successful installation and start-up of its Whitefox ICE system at United Ethanol LLC‘s plant in Milton, Wisconsin.

United Ethanol is already experiencing positive improvements to its operations and is currently running at a 15% overall capacity increase with the capability of a further 5% increase. The modular bolt-on system has freed up capacity in the distillation-dehydration section, which will allow the plant to increase its annual production capacity to over 60 million gallons. This is Whitefox’s second successful installation in Wisconsin, the first was at Fox River Valley Ethanol LLC in Oshkosh.

“With the removal of bottlenecks, we have increased our throughput and at the same time made our plant more efficient and easy to operate,” said United Ethanol Chief Operating Officer Chad Campbell. “We also look forward to seeing the positive impact Whitefox ICETM should have on the reduction in the cooling water load during the summer months.”

Established in 2000, Whitefox specializes in technology development and process integration based on its proprietary membrane solutions and Whitefox’s Integrated Cartridge Efficiency (Whitefox ICE) is a membrane-based dehydration technology with a small footprint.

Ethanol, Ethanol News

Biodiesel-Powered Engines In It For the Long Haul

Cindy Zimmerman

Industry experts from the Diesel Technology Forum (DTF), National Association of Fleet Administrators (NAFA), and National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA) who spoke at the National Biodiesel Conference agree that the forecast for diesel powertrains looks strong and steady.

National Biodiesel Board Technical Director Scott Fenwick moderated a panel on the topic featuring Patti Earley, Florida Power and Light Fleet Fuel Operations Specialist; George Survant, Senior Director of Fleet Relations for NTEA; and Ezra Finkin, DTF Director of Policy and Outreach.

Immediately following the panel discussion, Survant accepted the National Biodiesel Board Industry Partnership Award on behalf of NTEA, which represents more than 2,050 companies that manufacture, distribute, install, sell, and repair commercial trucks.

Presenting the award, NBB Senior Technical Advisor Steve Howell said the partnership with NTEA has been instrumental in getting biodiesel information to the critical audience in the work truck industry.

Listen to the panel discussion here: NBB19 Biodiesel Vehicle Technology panel 1

2019 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Audio, Biodiesel, Biodiesel Conference

ACE Urges Senators to Press Wheeler on Ethanol Issues

Cindy Zimmerman

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) wants senators to get some promises from Andrew Wheeler before they vote to confirm him as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

ACE CEO Brian Jennings sent a letter to U.S. Senators this week asking them to “secure tangible documentation on two critically important ethanol issues” – finalizing a Reid vapor pressure (RVP) rule to allow E15 use year-round before the summer driving season, and reallocating ethanol blending obligations waived under the Small Refinery Exemption (SRE) provision of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

The RVP rule is particularly time-sensitive because it needs to be finished before June 1. But Jennings says the government shutdown is not a credible excuse for a delay in the rulemaking, noting as an example how USDA put forward a new food stamp work requirement proposal in just eight days. “It has been more than 100 days since the President directed EPA to initiate a rulemaking to allow E15 use year-round,” the letter stated. “What is taking EPA so long to act?”

EPA intends to combine the RVP rule with reforms to the way Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) are handled under the RFS, but in the letter Jennings told senators that Wheeler “should be encouraged to decouple RIN reforms from the RVP rule to ensure E15 can be offered for sale by June 1.”
Read the letter.

ACE, E15, EPA, Ethanol

National Biodiesel Foundation Update

Cindy Zimmerman

The mission of the National Biodiesel Foundation (NBF) is outreach, education, research and demonstration activities for the advancement of biodiesel.

“We do things the National Biodiesel Board can’t do,” says Biodiesel Foundation president Jeff Lynn of Illinois. That includes such activities as Congressional tours to educate legislators about where biodiesel comes from and how it is made, as well as how it is used. The foundation also hosted its third Sustainability and Land Use Change workshop in St. Louis last September.

Lynn joined NBF Executive Director Tom Verry on stage at the 2019 Biodiesel Conference to talk about some of the foundation’s 2019 activities, and to help with this year’s live auction for a Yellowstone Tour and a chartered fishing trip.
NBB19 Foundation report

Lynn also represents the Illinois Soybean Association on the NBB board and in this interview he talks about the importance of farmer support for biodiesel, Illinois’ B20 Club, and how everyone can help fund the foundation any time we buy something on Amazon!
NBB19 Interview with Biodiesel Foundation Board president Jeff Lynn, Illinois

2019 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Audio, Biodiesel, Biodiesel Conference, Education, National Biodiesel Conference