RFA Submits Comments on Export Competitiveness

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The Renewable Fuels Association provided input to the International Trade Administration regarding a U.S. Clean Technologies Export Competitiveness Strategy. These comments were issued in addition to joint comments submitted earlier by RFA, the U.S. Grains Council and others.

The RFA comments, written by Vice President for Regulatory Affairs Kelly Davis, noted the importance of sound science and a level playing field when it comes to lifecycle assessments as other countries consider their own clean standards.

“U.S. ethanol can play a critical role towards global decarbonization goals,” wrote Davis. “Many countries are now developing or revising their renewable energy policies and typically require renewable fuel substitutes for gasoline to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. While the ethanol industry has experienced significant volume expansion, it has also reduced the carbon intensity dramatically utilizing technology adoption and improved efficiencies.”

Davis also stressed the need for greater interagency collaboration between the International Trade Administration and the Foreign Agricultural Service and recommended a working group on bioenergy trade issues. She noted that RFA in the past has successfully worked with the Department of Commerce to offer the International Buyers Program in conjunction with the National Ethanol Conference. This program sunsetted at the end of 2019.

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

Meet the New GREET

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The U.S. Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) has just released its latest update to the Greenhouse gas and Regulated Emissions and Energy use in Transportation (GREET) model, the standard tool used to audit the energy and environmental effects of transportation fuels such as ethanol and gasoline.

The 2021 GREET model includes a number of significant updates, especially for corn ethanol. Recognizing that the corn ethanol industry has significantly evolved in the past two decades, they conducted a retrospective analysis evaluating the changes from 2005 to 2019.

The results show that corn grain yield has increased while fertilizer inputs per acre have remained constant, which led to a decrease in fertilizer intensities per bushel of corn harvested. In addition, increased corn grain ethanol yield and reductions in energy use have reduced the life-cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per megajoule (MJ) of corn grain ethanol produced and used. Based on the results of this study, we have updated the time-series values of relevant parameters for the corn ethanol pathway in GREET 2021.

American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings thanked Dr. Michael Wang and his team at Argonne for making updates to the GREET model which will help farmers, ethanol producers, and government agencies better understand how farming practices play a pivotal role in reducing the overall carbon intensity of corn ethanol. “Given the growing support for new clean fuel markets at the state and federal level, particularly among Midwestern states, these timely updates to the GREET model should help us advocate for policies that give credit to farmers for practices which further reduce corn ethanol’s carbon footprint.”

The 2020 version of GREET created a new Feedstock Carbon Intensity Calculator (FD-CIC) to help quantify the soil carbon sequestration benefits of corn and other biofuel feedstocks. In response, ACE, along with corn grower groups, provided recommendations to modify the calculator to measure crop-specific impacts on soil carbon and reduce nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from fertilizer use. The 2021 update included our request to account for the nitrous oxide reducing impacts of 4R (Right rate, Right form, Right place, Right time) nitrogen management methods, and enhanced efficiency nitrogen fertilizer (EEF) use. The information ACE provided to Argonne showed full implementation of 4R management along with EEF could reduce N2O emissions by up to 40 percent relative to GREET estimates.

ACE board member Ron Alverson with Dakota Ethanol says the FD-CIC has been extremely helpful in evaluating the effect farming practices have on ethanol’s GHG emissions because it accounts for corn yield and energy, fertilizer, and chemical use factors for individual farms instead of relying on default values and can be used by biofuel feedstock producers to determine how best to reduce their carbon intensity. “We look forward to continuing to collaborate with Dr. Wang and the Department of Energy scientists to incorporate additional updates to GREET in the future, specifically regarding corn transportation distances, energy use factors for corn ethanol facilities, lime use rates, and crediting the use of biofuels by biofuel feedstock producers,” said Alverson.

ACE, Carbon, corn, Environment, Ethanol, Ethanol News

Ethanol Report on 13 Years of Sturgis Promotions

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The Renewable Fuels Association began promoting ethanol at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in 2009 as a way of reaching motorcycle riders with the facts about ethanol in gasoline. Since that time, the organization’s sponsorship at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip Campground has grown to include a permanent fueling station that sells 10% ethanol fuel (E10) year-round. The 2021 Sturgis Rally showed how much progress RFA has made in 13 years to educate bikers about ethanol.

In this edition of The Ethanol Report, RFA Vice President of Industry Relations Robert White talks about some of the highlights of the Sturgis Buffalo Chip partnership over the years and how he believes they have made a difference.

Ethanol Report 10-18-21 (13:46)

2021 RFA Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Promotion photo album

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, Ethanol Report, Motorcycle, Renewable Fuels Association, RFA, Sturgis

REG Breaks Ground on Renewable Diesel Expansion Project

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Renewable Energy Group (REG) held a groundbreaking ceremony last week to celebrate the start of construction on the company’s improvement and expansion project at REG Geismar in Louisiana. The project will take total site production capacity from 90 million gallons per year to 340 million gallons per year, and bring more than 60 permanent jobs and up to 500 construction jobs to the area.

REG Geismar was the first renewable diesel production facility in the U.S. and was acquired by REG in 2014. The project involves upgrades to the existing site, as well as an adjacent expansion. Improvements will include enhanced marine logistics that will enable global trading of feedstocks and fuel. The estimated project cost is $950 million, and is expected to be fully operational in 2024.

The groundbreaking event included state and local lawmakers, as well as project partners and community members. “It’s an honor to have such a forward-thinking business like Renewable Energy Group right here in the state of Louisiana,” said Louisiana Governor, John Bel Edwards. “REG has been an exceptional partner for this community and our state, and we were proud to be able to provide an incentive package for this improvement and expansion. This team is helping our world achieve lower-carbon goals, all while providing a great benefit to our local economy.”

REG, renewable diesel

RFA Offers President Solution for Rising Gasoline Prices

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According to AAA, the national average price for a gallon of gas was $3.27 on October 11, the highest price since October 2014. It is 10 cents more than a month ago, $1.09 more than a year ago, and 63 cents more than pre-pandemic in 2019. With gas prices forecast to continue rising, there are reports that the White House is meeting with oil industry officials to discuss solutions.

The Renewable Fuels Association has a solution for President Biden. “Instead of pursuing actions that will lead to increased crude oil production, we again urge your administration to pursue a real and immediate solution to higher pump prices—increased production and use of low-carbon renewable fuels like ethanol,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper in a letter sent to the President this week. “We encourage your administration to expeditiously finalize robust RFS volume requirements for 2021 and 2022, take action to ensure consumers have year-round access to gasoline continuing 15% ethanol (E15), and work with Congress to ensure upcoming legislation includes the incentives necessary to support increased FFV production and expanded infrastructure for higher ethanol blends like E15 and E85.”

According to the latest EIA data analyzed by RFA for the week ending October 8, ethanol production was back up to the million barrel per day level, increasing 5.5% to a 13-week high of 1.032 million b/d (43.34 million gallons.) However, the latest EIA Short Term Energy Outlook lowered the fuel ethanol production average to 960,000 barrels per day for this year, an increase from 2020, but not back up to the million gallon per day level until maybe next year.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, Renewable Fuels Association, RFA

Trade Panel Highlights Barriers for U.S. Ethanol

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Farmers for Free Trade held a virtual roundtable Thursday to focus on the current trade landscape, the Biden administration’s trade agenda, and how ag exports are critical to workers throughout America.

Among the panelists was Bart Pieper, VP of Global Strategies for Marquis Energy in Hennepin, Illinois, who says exports are increasingly important to the ethanol industry but trade barriers in several markets are stalling growth. “Even though the United States exported about 1.3 billion gallons of ethanol in 2020 and more than 11 million tons of DDG, we continue to face continuous barriers in Asia and in Europe and into Mexico.” He noted China and Brazil as two examples.

Listen to his comments here:
Farmers for Free Trade panel - Bart Pieper, Marquis Energy (2:24)

Audio, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Exports, Trade

Gevo and Axens Partner for Ethanol-to-Jet Technology

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Gevo, Inc. and Axens North America, Inc. have established a strategic alliance aimed at accelerating the commercialization of sustainable ethanol-to-jet (ETJ) projects in the United States.

As part of the alliance, Axens brings technologies with over 60 related patents; engineering packages; proprietary catalysts; and certain proprietary equipment required to convert ethanol into jet fuel. Axens would also provide process guarantees for commercial ETJ projects. Gevo expects to develop, own, and operate ETJ plants to produce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), utilizing its expertise in renewable alcohol production and technologies; Net-Zero business model; project financing expertise; customer relationships, and contracts.

It is now possible to make olefins from ethanol and butanol instead of petroleum, so the companies says the same commercially proven technologies can be deployed to make renewable hydrocarbon fuels. “Gevo’s approach makes it possible to decarbonize the ethanol supply chain and thus utilize technologies originally developed and well-proven for fossil-hydrocarbon production to produce renewable, drop-in fuels,” said Axens CEO Jean Sentenac.

The collaboration between Gevo and Axens is expected to allow Gevo to rapidly partner with existing ethanol producers to deploy proven technologies at commercial scales consistent with the airline industry’s sustainability goals.

“We see that there is great potential to convert ethanol into SAF and other hydrocarbons. Additionally, there is synergy with Gevo proprietary isobutanol production technology that is expected to result in unique product blending synergies for producing low-carbon gasoline, SAF, and renewable diesel. We know from our work on the Net-Zero business model that it is possible to drive the fossil-based GHG and related emissions footprint very low or even negative while producing drop-in hydrocarbon fuels like SAF and we think the model can apply to ETJ too,” said Dr. Patrick R. Gruber, Chief Executive Officer of Gevo.

To any ethanol plant owners out there who want to change their game and get into Net-Zero type SAF and hydrocarbons, please give us a call,” continued Dr. Gruber.

aviation biofuels, Ethanol, Ethanol News

New Grants Support RFA Ethanol Safety Training Programs

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Two grant awards totaling a record $175,000 will help the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) continue its award-winning ethanol safety programs into the next year. The grants were received via TRANSCAER, a voluntary national outreach effort that focuses on assisting communities to prepare for and respond to a possible hazardous material transportation incident.

A $150,000 grant from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s ALERT program, will fund the creation of two safety videos, including a 20-minute video on “Responding to Ethanol Incidents” that provides the information first responders—and firefighters in particular—need if they are called to an ethanol incident. This grant also includes translating RFA’s ethanol emergency response training package into Spanish. Separately, a $25,000 grant from the Federal Railroad Administration will continue RFA’s training work into the new fiscal year by supporting 10 ethanol emergency response safety training seminars and four train-the-trainer webinars.

“RFA’s efforts over the past decade have helped the ethanol industry achieve an outstanding safety record, and we are excited to continue this important work in 2022 and beyond,” said Missy Ruff, RFA’s Director of Safety and Technical Programs. “RFA’s member companies, their employees, and our partners in the transportation industry are committed to being good neighbors and responsible members of the communities in which we operate. We’re committed to ensuring that ethanol producers, shippers, blenders, and emergency response personnel have the latest and best information regarding the safe handling of ethanol and responding to incidents. We appreciate and value our long-standing partnership with TRANSCAER and other allied organizations. We thank them for awarding these grants and we could not do this important work without them.”

This year more than 1,500 attendees representing 49 U.S. states and 28 other countries were trained through 34 training opportunities supported by RFA. Since 2010, RFA’s safety program has conducted some 350 training events for nearly 14,000 individuals For more information, visit the Ethanol Emergency Response website at www.ethanolresponse.com.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, Renewable Fuels Association, RFA, safety

Biodiesel Conference Scholarships Available

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University science students with a passion for biodiesel and renewable diesel are invited to apply to the National Biodiesel Board for a scholarship to the 2022 National Biodiesel Conference & Expo to be held Jan. 17 – 20 in Las Vegas.

Students can also apply to present a poster on their biodiesel-related research or outreach projects. A few poster presenters will be invited to present in a live session. In addition to presenting in the poster session and breakout session, opportunities include a preconference biodiesel educational overview and a private mentoring mixer with prominent biodiesel scientists.

The scholarship includes a $600 travel scholarship and complimentary registration (a $1,200 value).

Application deadline is November 15, 2021.

Biodiesel, Biodiesel Conference, NBB

MN Working Toward Clean Fuel Standard

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Minnesota Governor Tim Walz last week directed state agencies to explore ways to reduce climate change impacts from transportation fuels through a Clean Fuel Standard (CFS) in the state.

The state Departments of Agriculture and Transportation will lead the process to engage a broad cross-section of stakeholders statewide to identify shared goals and opportunities. The agencies will provide a report summarizing the results and recommendations in February 2022. “We have tremendous agricultural and forest resources and potential for renewable energy in Minnesota that could benefit from new market opportunities that a Clean Fuels Standard would bring,” said Department of Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen.

American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings thanked Governor Walz and the state of Minnesota for moving in the right direction. “A properly crafted CFS will increase the use of E15 and higher blends in the state and reward farmers for climate-smart practices that help reduce the lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of corn ethanol,” said Jennings.

Jennings noted that actions being taken in Minnesota are partly based on the Midwest Clean Fuels Policy Initiative, a diverse coalition of agriculture, environmental, scientific, electric vehicle, and biofuel organizations in support of a technology-neutral and market-based approach to decarbonize transportation fuels. “Rather than having the government pick winners and losers, our coalition supports a portfolio of low carbon fuels, a level playing field, and fair competition for the benefit of all,” Jennings said.

ACE, Biodiesel, biofuels, Ethanol, Ethanol News