Ethanol Industry Relieved Rail Strike Averted

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Since more than 70 percent of the ethanol produced in the United States is transported by rail across the lower 48 states as well as into Canada and Mexico, the industry breathed a collective sigh of relief Friday as President Biden signed legislation passed by Congress to avert a major national rail strike.

Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper said, “Shutting down the rails would have shut down our industry’s ability to provide lower-cost, low-carbon ethanol and other important co-products like distillers grains to customers here at home and across the border to Canada and Mexico. More than 400,000 jobs across America are supported by the ethanol industry, and a long rail dispute would no doubt have put many of them at risk.”

“The American Coalition for Ethanol thanks President Biden for pressing Congress to pass legislation that resolves the rail dispute, as a strike would have had a domino effect on our industry, from the producers of the fuel to midstream partners and ultimately the retailers and motorists who fill up with low-cost fuel at the pump,” said Brian Jennings, ACE CEO.

Over the last five years, U.S. railroads have transported an average of nearly 395,000 carloads of ethanol per year. In addition, roughly 25 percent of grain comes into ethanol plants by train, and an estimated 30 percent of outbound distillers grains, an important livestock feed produced at biorefineries, departs via rail.

ACE, biofuels, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Renewable Fuels Association, RFA, transportation

EPA Finalizes Canola Oil Pathways Rule for RFS

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In addition to proposing new Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volumes and percentage standards for 2023, 2024, and 2025 this week, the Environmental Protection Agency also released a rule finalizing pathways for certain biofuels produced from canola/rapeseed oil.

With this action, these fuel pathways will be eligible to generate Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs), provided they satisfy the other definitional and RIN generation criteria for renewable fuel specified in the RFS regulations. The biofuels covered by EPA’s final rule include diesel, jet fuel, heating oil, naphtha, and liquefied petroleum gas produced from canola/rapeseed oil via a hydrotreating process. EPA is also amending the RFS regulations by adding a new definition of “canola/rapeseed oil”.

aviation biofuels, Biodiesel, biofuels, EPA, RFS

RFA CEO Discusses EPA Proposed RFS Volumes Rule

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Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper held a telephone media call with reporters Thursday shortly after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published its proposed rule to establish required Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volumes and percentage standards for 2023, 2024, and 2025, as well as to propose a series of important modifications to strengthen and expand the RFS program.

Cooper says they are pleased with the standard of 15.25 billion gallons of conventional renewable fuel – corn ethanol – for 2024 and 2025, even if it seems like a very modest increase. “There was some conjecture that EPA may flat line or even reduce the conventional volumes, so to see the proposal today with growth, albeit modest, we think is a positive signal,” he said.

Cooper also said they see the EPA proposal as very bullish for E15. “In order to reach the volumes proposed by EPA, it’s really going to stimulate the marketplace to rapidly expand its offerings of E15,” said Cooper, adding that legislation introduced this week in the Senate would help make that happen.

Listen to the call here:
RFA CEO on EPA Proposed RFS Volumes Rule 20:23

Audio, EPA, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Renewable Fuels Association, RFA, RFS

Clean Fuels Criticizes EPA Biomass Diesel Volumes

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Clean Fuels Alliance America is criticizing the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Renewable Fuel Standard volumes for 2023 and beyond for “undercutting investments in biodiesel and renewable diesel capacity.”

The minor increases for biomass-based diesel volumes in 2023, 2024 and 2025 are below the industry’s existing production and ignore the clean fuels industry’s significant investments in new capacity. The volumes provide no additional space for sustainable aviation fuel and short-circuit the nation’s goals to cut carbon emissions.

“EPA’s overdue set proposal significantly undercounts existing biomass-based diesel production and fails to provide growth for investments the industry has already made in additional capacity, including for sustainable aviation fuel. The volumes EPA is proposing for 2023, 2024 and 2025 ignore the more than 3 billion gallons currently in the market and fail to take into account the planned growth of the clean fuels sector,” said Clean Fuels Vice President of Federal Affairs Kurt Kovarik.

EPA’s data from the RFS program show that the U.S. market reached 3.1 billion gallons of biomass-based diesel in 2021 and already 2.9 billion gallons through October 2022, with two months still to go. The Energy Information Administration’s Short Term Energy Outlook, which informs EPA’s decisions on annual RFS volumes, currently projects a 500-million-gallon increase in biodiesel and renewable diesel consumption for 2023. EIA has also projected 2.4. billion gallons of added renewable diesel capacity coming online by 2024 and calculated another 1.8 billion gallons in announced planned capacity.

“The biodiesel and renewable diesel industry has already made considerable investments in production capacity and distribution infrastructure that will come online by 2025. The soybean and canola industries have invested more than $4 billion to bring additional feedstock capacity online over the next several years,” Kovarik continued. “EPA’s proposed biomass-based diesel volumes undercut those investments.”

Biodiesel, biofuels, Clean Fuels Alliance, EPA, renewable diesel

EPA Proposes RFS Biofuel Standards for Three Years

Cindy Zimmerman 1 Comment

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published its proposed rule to establish required Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volumes and percentage standards for 2023, 2024, and 2025, as well as to propose a series of important modifications to strengthen and expand the RFS program.

The proposal sets next year’s (2023) total RFS requirement at 20.82 billion gallons, including 5.82 billion in advanced biofuels and 15 billion from conventional renewable fuels like corn ethanol. In addition, EPA proposes to add a supplemental volume of 250 million gallons on top of the 2023 standards to address a 2017 D.C. Circuit Court decision. The total RFS volume proposed for 2024 is 21.87 billion gallons, with 6.62 billion advanced and 15.25 billion conventional; and for 2025, EPA increases the total volume to 22.68 billion gallons, 7.43 billion of advanced biofuel and 15.25 billion of conventional renewable fuel.

Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Geoff Cooper reacted to the proposal:
“EPA’s proposed rule solidifies a role for the Renewable Fuel Standard in future efforts to reduce carbon emissions and enhance our nation’s energy security. Once finalized, this rule will significantly accelerate growth and investment in the low-carbon renewable fuels that will help decarbonize our nation’s transportation sector, extend domestic fuel supplies, and bolster the rural economy. By including three years’ worth of RFS volumes, EPA’s proposed rule will finally provide certainty and stability for the entire supply chain. EPA Administrator Michael Regan put the RFS program back on track with the 2022 volume obligations, and today’s proposal builds upon that solid foundation. RFA thanks Administrator Regan and the Biden administration for continuing to make good on their commitment to grow the marketplace for lower-carbon, lower-cost renewable fuels.”

American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings issued the following reaction:
“This proposed rule is a critical opportunity for EPA to leverage the greenhouse gas reducing benefits of increasing biofuel blending targets by getting the RFS back on track, and we’re pleased the Agency is taking steps in the right direction by setting conventional biofuel blending at 15 billion gallons or more for 2023 through 2025 on paper, in addition to including the 250 million gallons of supplemental volume to carry out the 2017 DC Circuit Court order. Multi-year targets help provide clarity the market needs to lean into climate benefiting transportation fuels such as ethanol. The Inflation Reduction Act is poised to boost investments in clean fuel technologies that support the Agency increasing the use of clean fuels like ethanol through RFS targets moving forward.”

EPA will hold a virtual public hearing by Zoom on January 10, 2023, for the proposed rule. An additional session will be held on January 11, 2023, if necessary, to accommodate the number of testifiers that sign-up to testify. There will be no in-person hearing.

ACE, EPA, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Renewable Fuels Association, RFA, RFS

RFA’s Davis Reappointed to Commerce Advisory Committee

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Renewable Fuels Association Vice President of Technical and Regulatory Affairs Kelly Davis has been reappointed for a fifth term to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee (REEEAC), which advises the agency on issues related to the exportation of U.S. renewable energy and energy efficiency products and services.

“Since 2014, I have been proud to serve on this valuable committee to expand the competitiveness of U.S. exports of renewable energy, specifically ethanol for fuel use,” Davis said. “I am looking forward to the next Charter with a renewed enthusiasm towards our exportable climate-friendly solutions.”

Established in 2010, the REEEAC is composed of senior private sector representatives that provide advice to the Secretary of Commerce on the development and administration of programs and policies to expand the export competitiveness of U.S. renewable energy and energy efficiency products and services.

Davis will serve on the committee in this term through May 2024. To learn more about the committee and Davis’ role, read this May 2022 report from Davis about the committee’s activities.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, Exports, Renewable Fuels Association, RFA, Trade

ACE Provides Feedback on IRA Biofuel Infrastructure Funds

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In written comments submitted this week, American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Chief Marketing Officer Ron Lamberty provided expert feedback with the Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBCS) and the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) on implementation of funds for biofuel infrastructure under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The legislation provides for $500 million in grants for infrastructure for blending, storing, supplying, or distributing biofuels and may provide a federal share at up to 75% of the total project cost.

Lamberty’s comments centered around 1) how to ensure funds are more accessible to small retail marketers and incentivize conversions beyond those directly funded, and 2) how progress can be measured to meet greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals when expanding infrastructure for renewable, clean biofuels.

Previous HBIIP grants have been awarded mainly to large retailers and Lamberty points out while those chains have added hundreds of E15 locations, they own and operate nearly 10,000 stations, and appear to be converting only locations for which they’ve received grants. Lamberty says small retailers are not following the big chains’ example because they are used to seeing large retailers offering products they don’t offer and often assume competitors have those products because they’re better funded. “To the contrary, when small retailers get funds and build or convert sites to become the first in their market to offer higher blends, the new fuels become part of the station’s identity, and historically, the larger chains add the same fuels to regain market share, using their own money,” Lamberty said.

Read more from ACE.

ACE, biofuels, Ethanol, Ethanol News

Year-Round E15 Legislation Introduced with Diverse Support

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Legislation to allow year-round, nationwide sales of ethanol blends higher than 10 percent was introduced in the U.S. Senate Tuesday by Senators Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), with an additional 13 bipartisan co-sponsors.

The Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act of 2022 would increase the availability of biofuels like E15 and would also end years of regulatory uncertainty and prevent a patchwork of uneven state regulations.

Additional cosponsors of the bill include Sens. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Tina Smith (D-MN), John Thune (R-SD), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Ben Sasse (R-NE), and Mike Rounds (R-SD).

The bill also has support from farm, ethanol and oil interests, including the National Corn Growers Association, Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), and the American Petroleum Institute.

“For the first time in history, ethanol producers, oil refiners, fuel retailers, equipment manufacturers, and farmers have all come together to support legislation that ensures American families can choose lower-cost, lower-carbon E15 at the pump every single day of the year without interruption,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “We thank Sens. Fischer, Klobuchar, and other renewable fuel supporters in the Senate for introducing this legislation, which brings much-needed consistency and stability to the marketplace. It provides a simple, straightforward solution that will finally remove a burdensome and nonsensical barrier to broader deployment of cleaner, more affordable fuels. We are highly encouraged by the broad and diverse support that this effort is receiving, and we urge Congress to move quickly to adopt this commonsense legislation.”

Additional organizations supporting the bill include:
National Farmers Union, America Farm Bureau Federation, National Sorghum Producers, Association of Equipment Manufacturers, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, Growth Energy, American Coalition for Ethanol, SIGMA, National Association of Truck Stop Operators, and National Association of Convenience Stores.

ACE, Ag group, corn, E15, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Renewable Fuels Association, RFA

Columbia Economist Wrong on Ethanol

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Dr. Noah Kaufman is an economist who has worked on energy and climate change policy in both the public and private sectors. Under President Biden, he served as a Senior Economist at the Council of Economic Advisers. He also just published a commentary about ethanol earlier this month in Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) website called “A Chance to Phase Out Support for Corn Ethanol in the Renewable Fuel Standard.”

He claims that the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) “has failed to achieve its goals of materially reducing greenhouse gas emissions or improving energy security for Americans,” based on flawed science instead of facts. He repeats the worn out lie that “Corn ethanol produced in the United States is referred to as a ‘first-generation’ biofuel, which provides few emissions benefits and competes with food crops… also puts upward pressure on food prices.”

And then there is, “The country’s fuel supply infrastructure and vehicle engines are not universally compatible with gasoline that consists of more than about 10 percent ethanol, which is the composition of most gasoline sold in the United States today. … [D]omestic ethanol production has roughly stalled since this 10 percent ‘blend wall’ was approached a decade ago.” conveniently ignoring E15, a fuel comprised of 15% ethanol and 85% gasoline, is legally approved for use in model year 2001 and newer cars, light-duty trucks, medium-duty passenger vehicles and flex-fuel vehicles.

At the end this commentary of false accusations, Kaufman admits there is little to no cost to the RFS. “When producers have been allowed to increase or decrease how much ethanol they blend into gasoline in recent years, they have chosen to continue blending ethanol around current levels.[6] That is because producers use ethanol to add oxygen to gasoline (it is a “fuel oxygenate”), which improves performance and reduces certain pollutants (CARB 1998). While it’s possible the country would be better off using the land that is used to produce ethanol for more societally productive purposes,[7] under current conditions, weakening the RFS mandates probably would not cause a large immediate change in ethanol use, or in fuel or food prices in turn (EPA 2022a).”

For a more detailed rebuttal of Kaufman’s commentary, check out this blog post by Renewable Fuels Association Chief Economist Scott Richman, who calls it “superficial and misguided” and “reiterated myths about ethanol that might be found through a simple internet search.”

Commentary, Opinion, RFA, RFS

Ethanol Report on Carbon Pipeline Projects

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New pipeline projects in the Midwest utilizing Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Sequestration (CCUS), also called Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), technology offer the opportunity for the ethanol industry to lead the way to a net zero energy future and the Renewable Fuels Association is supporting that pathway for its members.

In this episode of the Ethanol Report podcast we hear from a number of stakeholders in the carbon pipeline space. RFA chairman Erik Huschitt with Badger State Ethanol, RFA president and CEO Geoff Cooper, Summit Carbon Solutions Chief Commercial Officer Jim Pirolli, Navigator CO2 vice president of government and public affairs Elizabeth Burns Thompson, Wolf Carbon Solutions senior vice president for corporate development Nick Noppinger, South Dakota farmer and ethanol plant founder Ron Alverson, and Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation president Mark McHargue.

Ethanol Report 11-23-22 27:43

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.

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Carbon, carbon capture, corn, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Ethanol Report, Renewable Fuels Association, RFA