Casey’s General Stores to Offer Higher Ethanol Blends

Cindy Zimmerman

Midwest convenience store chain Casey’s General Stores will begin offering higher ethanol blends of E15 and E85 at 17 sites in Illinois, Iowa, and Kansas.

The Illinois Corn Marketing Board, Iowa Corn Promotion Board, and Kansas Corn Commission along with Growth Energy are assisting Casey’s with their new program. The retail chain boasts over 1,950 convenience stores across 15 states making it the nation’s 4th largest and its adoption of higher biofuel blends marks a major milestone for renewable fuel availability, especially across rural America where demand for higher ethanol blends is at an all-time high.

“We like the potential that E15 and E85 could bring to Casey’s and are excited to provide our customers with a wide variety of fueling options,” said Terry Handley, President and CEO of Casey’s.

blends, E15, E85, Ethanol, Ethanol News

Senators Introduce Biodiesel Tax Credit Reform

Cindy Zimmerman

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash) have introduced a new biodiesel tax credit bill.

Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) joined 14 other senators to introduce bipartisan legislation that would reform the biodiesel tax credit and extend the new policy for three years.

The American Renewable Fuel and Job Creation Act of 2017 reforms the incentive by transferring the credit from the blenders to the producers of biofuels in order to incentivize domestic production over imported fuel.

“U.S. tax policy should support U.S. products and U.S. jobs,” Grassley said. “This bipartisan bill would end a system that gives many foreign producers a leg up over U.S. producers and give certainty to the biodiesel industry, which is responsible for employing thousands of Americans. U.S. producers shouldn’t be put at a disadvantage by foreign producers that in many cases are double dipping by benefiting from U.S. tax incentives on top of their own significant government subsidies. These reforms supporting domestic producers would also save U.S. taxpayers money. Policies ought to encourage the production of domestic renewable fuels to meet consumer demand and support the creation of American jobs.”

“The biodiesel tax credit already has a track record of reducing emissions, creating 50,000 jobs, and greening our economy, removing the equivalent of 16 million cars from the road,” Cantwell said. “This legislation will remove millions more cars while promoting energy independence, saving taxpayer dollars, and accelerating by up to 45 percent the creation of new clean energy jobs in the domestic biodiesel production industry.”
Read more from Sen. Grassley

Biodiesel

New Executive Order Includes Renewable Fuels

Cindy Zimmerman

President Trump holds farmers roundtable with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue (USDA photo)

President Trump welcomed new Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue on his first day in office for a White House “Farmers Roundtable” with 14 farmers and ranchers from around the country.

During the roundtable event, the president signed an Executive Order establishing an Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity “to promote economic development and revitalization, job growth, infrastructure, innovation, and quality of life issues for rural America.”

The executive order includes an emphasis on renewable fuels, stating that, “It is in the national interest to promote American agriculture and protect the rural communities where food, fiber, forestry, and many of our renewable fuels are cultivated.” One of the stated objectives of the task force is to “further the Nation’s energy security by advancing traditional and renewable energy production in the rural landscape.”

One of the farmer roundtable participants was Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey who told the Des Moines Register that he brought up ethanol during the session and said the president was very supportive.

Listen to Trump’s comments here: President Trump at White House farmers roundtable

Audio, biofuels, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Government

Perdue Confirmed as Agriculture Secretary

Cindy Zimmerman

The U.S. Senate has formally confirmed the nomination of George Ervin “Sonny” Perdue III to serve as the 31st Secretary of Agriculture. The final vote Monday was 87 to 11. Perdue, an agribusinessman, veterinarian, state legislator, and former governor of Georgia, grew up working on his family farm in central Georgia, making him the fourth agriculture secretary who has worked as a farmer.

Ethanol organizations joined the agriculture community in welcoming Perdue. “Governor Perdue appreciates the challenge facing farmers today, knows that building demand will be essential to rural economic stability, and certainly understands the importance of value-added markets like ethanol,” said Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen.

“The USDA has played an integral role in this success and we are excited to see Secretary Perdue’s plans to continue leading the way in protecting the economic wellbeing of America’s farmers, while giving consumers the choice for homegrown biofuels at the pump,” added Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor.

“I’m pleased that the U.S. Senate was able to work in a bipartisan fashion to confirm Governor Perdue,” said Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS). “I have faith that Governor Perdue will put the needs of farmers and ranchers first, and I know that rural America is thankful to have such a qualified Agriculture Secretary on their side.”

Listen to comments of senators supporting Perdue’s confirmation on the floor Monday:
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) – McConnell/Perdue
Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) – Roberts/Perdue
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) – Stabenow/Perdue
Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) – Tester/Perdue
Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) – Isakson/Perdue

Audio, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Government, RFA, USDA

Biofuels Stakeholders Comment on Oral Arguments

Cindy Zimmerman

The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) presented oral arguments to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Monday on the petition for review of the Renewable Volume Obligations for 2014-2016 filed by Americans for Clean Energy, et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in January 2016. The NBB challenged EPA’s interpretation and use of its waiver authority under the RFS statute and defended higher advanced-biofuel volumes.

“There is room for more aggressive growth; the U.S. biodiesel industry can do more. We hope that the court will be persuaded by our arguments and that EPA will put in place more aggressive advanced-biofuel requirements moving forward,” said NBB vice president of federal affairs Anne Steckel. “We look forward to working with the Trump administration to realize the potential to support additional jobs and investment in rural economies.”

Stakeholders in the case, including the American Coalition for Ethanol, BIO, Growth Energy, National Corn Growers Association, National Sorghum Producers, and the Renewable Fuels Association commented that the proceedings showed “renewable fuel targets for 2014 through 2016 were legally and factually indefensible, as well as wholly inconsistent with Congressional intent” for the RFS.

The statutory basis for granting a waiver based on an ‘inadequate domestic supply’ of ‘renewable fuels’ does not allow EPA to take into account “factors that affect the consumption of renewable fuels,” as the Agency has suggested. Moreover, since the RFS program allows obligated parties to use carryover renewable identification numbers (RINs) to demonstrate compliance with the annual volume obligations, it would be hypocritical for the Agency to exclude such carryover RIN credits when determining whether the amount of available renewable fuel is adequate to achieve compliance.

ACE, advance biofuels, biofuels, EPA, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Growth Energy, RFA, RFS

RFA Tells EPA to Keep RFS on Track

Cindy Zimmerman

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) sent a letter today to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt urging him to keep the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) on track in 2018.

“The ethanol industry was highly encouraged by your commitment to ‘administer the [RFS] program according to the intent of Congress’ and to keep the program’s rulemakings on schedule,” RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen wrote to Administrator Pruitt. “When affected parties under the RFS are provided with regulatory certainty and sufficient lead time for planning, they have consistently demonstrated an ability to adapt their operations and comply with the standards.”

Dinneen encouraged Pruitt to ensure the RFS renewable volume obligation (RVO) rulemaking stays on schedule and maintains the conventional renewable fuel requirement at the statutory level of 15 billion gallons. Along with the letter, RFA also sent a new analysis to EPA showing that gasoline in the United States contained more than 10% ethanol in 2016 to prove that the so-called “blend wall” is no barrier to RFS compliance.

“Over the past 18 months, obligated parties have shown that they can readily achieve compliance with RFS requirements if EPA’s annual RVO rulemakings remain faithful to Congressional intent, are published on schedule, and provide certainty to the marketplace. Accordingly, we respectfully ask that EPA ensures the 2018 RVO rulemaking process remains on schedule, and that the 2018 conventional renewable fuel volume requirement remains at the statutory level of 15 billion gallons,” Dinneen concluded.

Read the entire letter from RFA

EPA, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA, RFS

Biodiesel to Present Arguments Against EPA

Cindy Zimmerman

The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) will present oral arguments before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit today challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s interpretation and use of its waiver authority regarding the 2014-16 Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS).

David Salmons of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP will present NBB’s case, arguing against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) interpretation of its waiver authority and its actions to reduce the advanced-biofuel volume requirement in recent years. While joining various ethanol groups on arguments related to EPA’s general waiver authority, NBB also raised numerous arguments related to EPA’s advanced biofuel volumes. Additionally, NBB supported EPA against the claims by obligated parties with respect to the biomass-based diesel volumes from 2014-17.

NBB is one of a number of industry organizations including ethanol, agriculture, and petroleum interests that filed briefs with the court in February over several issues regarding EPA’s interpretation of the RFS under a lawsuit originally filed by Americans for Clean Energy.

advance biofuels, Cellulosic, Ethanol, Ethanol News, NBB, RFS

Global RFA Urges Renewed Pledge to CO2 Reduction

Cindy Zimmerman

On Earth Day 2017, the Global Renewable Fuels Alliance (GRFA) called for a renewed global commitment to reducing CO2 emissions in the year ahead.

GRFA president Bliss Baker notes that nearly 200 countries have signed on to the world’s first binding agreement on climate action. “What needs to happen next is the implementation of policies across the globe aimed at reducing national CO2 emissions,” said Baker. “The GRFA is excited to work with governments and international NGO’s to continue to build on the exciting progress made in the last two years and to develop workable solutions to keep global temperature rise this century within the targets laid out in the Paris agreement.”

According to GRFA, the global transport sector is estimated to represent close to 45% of direct CO2 emissions while having the lowest renewable energy share among all sectors, making it a priority sector for policy action to reduce emissions.

Environment, Ethanol, Ethanol News, International

Enerkem Earns Lowest BC Carbon Intensity Value

Cindy Zimmerman

Enerkem Inc., a waste-to-biofuels and renewable chemicals producer based in Canada, has received the lowest carbon intensity value ever issued by the British Columbia Ministry of Energy and Mines for its ethanol product.

The confirmed carbon intensity of Enerkem’s waste-based ethanol is set at -55 gCO2e/MJ. As a comparison, gasoline has an intensity of +88 gCO2e/MJ. This approval under the British Columbia Renewable and Low Carbon Fuel Requirements Regulation opens up the door for Enerkem to sell its advanced ethanol in the province, in addition to the local Alberta market where its world’s first full-scale facility in operation is located.

Enerkem’s proprietary technology converts non-recyclable, non-compostable household waste into advanced biofuels. The company also announced this month that its first full-scale commercial facility, located in Edmonton, Alberta, is fully operational and officials say they are expanding their footprint in North America and Europe.

In less than five minutes, Enerkem’s technology turns household waste into 99.9 per cent pure liquid chemicals and biofuels. Since the start of production, the Enerkem Alberta Biofuels facility has been meeting the highest quality standards set by the International Methanol Producers and Consumers Association (IMPCA) for the production and sale of methanol. Last year, Enerkem’s biorefinery also became the first ISCC certified plant (International Sustainability and Carbon Certification) in the world to convert municipal solid waste into biomethanol.

advance biofuels, Cellulosic, Ethanol, Ethanol News

Ethanol Production Drops

Cindy Zimmerman

After six months of daily ethanol production topping a million barrels a day, the streak finally came to an end two weeks ago, according to the latest analysis of EIA data from the Renewable Fuels Association.

Ethanol production dropped below a million barrels to its lowest level since October to 986,000 barrels in the week ended on April 7. Last week, ethanol production recovered some, averaging 993,000 barrels per day or 41.71 million gallons daily. The four-week average for ethanol production slipped to 1.01 million b/d for an annualized rate of 15.53 billion gallons.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA