ACE Announces Conference Agenda

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The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) has announced the agenda for the upcoming 37th annual event taking place August 14-16, at the Omaha Marriott Downtown at the Capitol District.

“Our conference agenda is packed with dynamic sessions, insightful speakers and networking opportunities, making it the premier destination for anyone passionate about advancing biofuels,” said Katie Muckenhirn, Vice President of Public Affairs. “You’ll see our conference theme ‘The Gold Standard’ reflected in the topics that showcase the ingenuity, productivity and bold innovation of this industry.”

Among the highlights of the two-and-a-half-day agenda:
– A keynote address on Creating New Opportunities for Agriculture, Ethanol and the Environment: CO2 Pipeline Project Update by Lee Blank, Summit Carbon Solutions
– Setting the Standard: The Current State of GHG Modeling and Unlocking New Markets and Tax Credits with Climate-Smart Agriculture – Jonathon Lehman, Cultivating Conservation; Ron Alverson, Dakota Ethanol; Tristan Peitz, Talus Renewables Inc.
– Fueling Market Growth: Ethanol Equipment Incentives and Ingenuity – Jeff Carpenter, U.S. Department of Energy Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program; Randy Gard, Bosselman Enterprises
– Implementation of Key Inflation Reduction Act Incentives – Donna Funk, Pinion; RSM US LLP; Faith Larson, Mickelson & Company

Click here to see more information about the ACE Conference.

ACE, ACE Ethanol Conference, Ethanol, Ethanol News

NREL Releases BQ-9000 Biodiesel Assessment for 2023

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The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has released the seventh in a series of reports documenting the quality of biodiesel from North American producers participating in the BQ-9000 program based on monthly data collected throughout the calendar year 2023.

The 2023 report, authored by Robert L. McCormick, features significant advancements highlighting new parameters that offer a more comprehensive analysis on biodiesel quality and mineral content. New data includes kinematic viscosity, sulfated ash, distillation temperature, carbon residue, and cetane number, as well as individual levels of sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium levels.

“The BQ-9000 program’s commitment to quality assurance is evident in the continued improvement and expansion of the parameters we assess,” said Scott Fenwick, Technical Director at Clean Fuels Alliance America. “This year’s report not only reinforces the high standards maintained by biodiesel producers but also provides valuable insights that can drive further advancements in the industry.”

Biodiesel, Clean Fuels Alliance

Clean Fuels Intends to Sue EPA Over RFS Rule Delay

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Clean Fuels Alliance America this week delivered a formal notice of intent to sue the Environmental Protection Agency for its failure to issue timely 2026 Renewable Fuel Standards.

By statute, EPA is required to finalize volumes 14 months before the start of the compliance year; for 2026, that deadline would come at the end of October this year. On June 28, the White House Office of Management and Budget released the Spring 2024 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions, setting out a timeline for EPA to propose the 2026 RFS volumes by March 2025 and finalize the rule by December 2025.

Clean Fuels stated in the letter, “EPA’s failure to timely issue the 2026 RFS volumes compounds another issue: EPA set the volumes for 2023 through 2025 too low….While EPA can and should reconsider and revise its 2024 and 2025 volumes, it should at a minimum set a timely 2026 volume.”

“The biodiesel, renewable diesel, and SAF industry needs EPA to get the program back on track to support our growth,” said Kurt Kovarik, Vice President of Federal Affairs for Clean Fuels Alliance America. “Clean Fuels provided EPA a great deal of data on our growth to support our petition to revise the 2024 and 2025 RFS volumes for biomass-based diesel and advanced biofuels. There isn’t any practical reason that would prevent the agency from meeting the legal deadline for the 2026 RFS rule.”

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

Chevron Reversal Could Impact EPA Clean Air Rules

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One of the federal agencies likely to be most impacted by the recent Supreme Court decision that reversed the Chevron deference is the Environmental Protection Agency, which was the one responsible for the original case decision in 1984.

Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Geoff Cooper says it’s still too early to tell exactly what the reversal could mean for the ethanol industry, but EPA’s tailpipe emissions standards are a good example of why the case was brought in the first place.

“We were arguing long before this Supreme Court decision that EPA stepped over its bounds by a long shot and grossly exceeded its authority with these tailpipe standards,” said Cooper. “There’s no law on the books anywhere from Congress that directs EPA to use tailpipe emission standards to effectively create a mandate for electric vehicles….So we do think that that’s one particular regulation that that is likely to come under fire, given this new decision from the Supreme Court.”

Cooper says the ruling means “Congress needs to be far more prescriptive and and far more detailed and far more thorough in the legislation that they hand over to to the agency” but failing that, the courts still have the final say about the intentions of the law. “Any challenges to Clean Air Act programs, including the RFS, must go through the DC Circuit Court of Appeals….which historically has been pretty deferential and and respectful of EPA’s decision making process and EPA’s expertise,” said Cooper. “And so we’ll see if that continues or exactly how this is going to go moving forward.”

Listen to Cooper’s comments from a recent interview here.
RFA's Cooper comments on Chevron reversal 3:16

Audio, EPIC, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Renewable Fuels Association, RFA

Agency Seeks Tech to Lower Emissions for Ethanol

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The Energy Department is looking for ways to cut the carbon intensity of ethanol production in half by lowering use of synthetic nitrogen (N) fertilizer on crops, and they are putting up $36 million to develop the technologies to do that.

DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) announced the funding in the effort to lower nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions by 50% from the cultivation of corn and sorghum used for United States ethanol production.

The Technologies to Emend and Obviate SYnthetic Nitrogen’s Toll on Emissions (TEOSYNTE) program will emphasize strategies that lower the application of synthetic nitrogen (N) fertilizer on corn and sorghum fields. Lowering the application of synthetic N fertilizer would reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as significantly lower farmers’ operating costs while maintaining crop yields.

There are various categories of projects under the funding opportunity that are designed to work toward:

Reduce imports of foreign synthetic N fertilizer by reducing the N fertilizer usage in U.S. agriculture;
Improve efficiency by saving billions in operational cost for U.S. farmers, and reduce carbon intensity for ethanol and ethanol-derived sustainable aviation fuel (SAF); and
Lower emissions of CO2 generated during N fertilizer production and N2O after N fertilizer application.

According to the ARPA-E Exchange the “Concept Paper Submission Deadline” is August 13, 2024 while the “Full Application Submission Deadline” is TBD.

aviation biofuels, biofuels, biojet fuel, corn, Ethanol, Ethanol News

Ethanol Report on California and E15

Cindy Zimmerman 1 Comment

It has been nearly 15 years since the Environmental Protection Agency approved the sale of 15% ethanol blended fuel (E15) for 2001 model year cars and older, and nearly every state in the nation now sells it, often at a discount to regular gasoline. The only state that bans the sale of E15 is California, despite the fact that the Golden State sells more E85 than any other state, and suffers from the highest gas prices in the country.

The Renewable Fuels Association just released a new study, conducted by economists at UC Berkeley and the U.S. Naval Academy, that found California drivers could expect to save 20 cents per gallon if the state allowed sales of E15 – and the potential savings for California consumers could reach $2.7 billion a year.

In this edition of the Ethanol Report, RFA Chief Economist Scott Richman explains the results of the study, and RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper talks about how they are continuing to work with California regulators to help them meet air quality standards and save consumers money at the same time.

Ethanol Report 7-12-24 25:16

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, E15, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Ethanol Report, Renewable Fuels Association, RFA

Study Shows E15 Could Save California Drivers

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According to a new study by economists at UC Berkeley and the U.S. Naval Academy and sponsored by the Renewable Fuels Association, California drivers could save up to 20 cents per gallon if the state allowed gas stations to sell 15% ethanol blended fuel or E15.

The potential savings for California consumers could reach $2.7 billion annually, according to the study authored by David Zilberman, PhD, a distinguished professor in the Agricultural and Resources Economics Department at UC Berkeley, and Scott Kaplan, PhD, assistant professor in the Economics Department at the United States Naval Academy.

“Consumers have the potential to gain significantly from the introduction and purchase of E15,” according to the study. “In particular, our estimates suggest an approximately 20 cents per gallon discount for E15 compared with E10 after adjusting for energy content.” The authors also highlighted the benefit of E15’s lower carbon emissions. “In California, price savings for lower GHG intensity fuels are larger, likely due to California-specific policies incentivizing low carbon fuels.”

California is currently the only state that sells E10 and E85, but not E15. State regulators are considering approval of E15 after extensive vehicle testing showed the fuel offers important emissions benefits. E15 is federally approved for use in all cars, pickups, SUVs and vans manufactured in the last 24 years.

“Based on this study’s results, a typical California household could save $200 per year on their gas bill if state regulators would simply allow drivers to fuel up on E15,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper, noting that more than 24 million registered vehicles in California are already approved to use E15, but stations are not allowed to sell it. “It’s time for California to catch up to the other 49 states that already allow consumers to choose lower-cost, lower-carbon E15. The state’s failure to approve the use of E15 essentially amounts to a gas price hike at a time when hardworking Californians can least afford it.”

E15, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Renewable Fuels Association, RFA

Scientists Urge Court to Reject Land Use Claims

Cindy Zimmerman 1 Comment

Eight of the nation’s leading experts in agricultural economics and biofuels lifecycle analysis are urging the D.C. Circuit Court to reject claims made by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) in its lawsuit challenging EPA’s 2023-2025 Renewable Fuel Standard volumes.

In its challenge to EPA’s so-called “RFS set rule,” CBD relied on debunked studies by University of Wisconsin researcher Tyler Lark, and others, to wrongly suggest the RFS has caused habitat loss and conversion of grasslands into cropland. In their detailed amicus brief submitted last week, eight scientists informed the court that the Lark studies and CBD’s claims are “divorced from scientific evidence and reality” and “based on outdated, flawed, and disproven research.” They pointed out that “there is simply no valid scientific evidence behind claims that RFS-driven demand for ethanol production leads to the conversion of grasslands not previously farmed.”

“Neither biofuel production nor the RFS has been scientifically linked to the conversion of ‘natural’ lands, such as native prairies, forests, and wetlands, to crop production,” the researchers said in the brief.

They also noted ethanol producers are on a pathway to net zero lifecycle emissions. “Members of the Renewable Fuels Association have announced a commitment to further reduce the carbon intensity of corn ethanol, aiming to achieve a 70-percent reduction compared to petroleum gasoline by 2030 and net neutral status by 2050,” according to the brief.

“As we pointed out last week, the walls are closing in around the Center for Biological Diversity, Tyler Lark, the National Wildlife Federation, and other anti-biofuel activists who perpetuate the ridiculous land use change myth,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “In his newest work, even Lark is now admitting that U.S. cropland continued to shrink as biofuels production expanded.”

EPA, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Indirect Land Use, Renewable Fuels Association, RFA

U.S. Ethanol and DDGS Exports Strong in May

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U.S. exports of both ethanol and the co-product dried distillers grains were strong during the month of May, according to the latest analysis from the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).

Ethanol exports actually hit their highest level ever for the month of May at 154.4 million gallons (mg), but this was 28% decline from a near-record in April.

Canada was the largest importer for the 38th consecutive month, despite a 4% decrease to 59.7 mg. The Philippines imported the largest monthly volume since October 2018 with an 82% jump to 16.0 mg. Exports also expanded to the European Union (14.2 mg, +3%), South Korea (13.0 mg, +8% to a 15-month high) and Singapore (9.1 mg, +452%). The remaining fifth of U.S. ethanol exports landed in the United Kingdom, Colombia, Brazil (for the second consecutive month), Mexico, Vietnam, Peru, and Jamaica. Year-to-date U.S. ethanol exports totaled 816.9 mg, up 43% from the same period last year.

U.S. exports of dried distillers grains (DDGS) were yo 4% to 1.01 million metric tons (mt) on mixed markets.

Shipments to Mexico declined by 15% to 198,438 mt, yet volumes were sufficiently strong to remain our top DDGS customer for the fifth straight month. Exports also decreased to South Korea (114,029 mt, -8%), Indonesia (84,884 mt, -33%), Vietnam (78,183 mt, -22%), Canada (55,799 mt, -8%), and Turkey (35,807 mt, -0.3%). Offsetting these reductions was a sizeable export expansion to the European Union (108,420 mt, +128% to a 28-month high), Colombia (40,035 mt, +89%), and China (39,962 mt, +99% to a 28-month high). The remaining quarter of U.S. DDGS shipments were spread across 30 countries. Year-to-date DDGS exports reached 4.93 million mt, up 18% compared to the previous year.

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

Members of Congress Oppose Heavy Duty EV Mandate

Cindy Zimmerman

More than 150 members of both houses of Congress joined Rep. Randy Feenstra (R-IA) and Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) in a letter to Environmental Protection Agency administrator Michael Regan demanding that the Biden administration end its de facto EV mandate on trucks, tractors, buses, and semis.

“The Biden administration’s mandate that impacts all trucks, tractors, buses, and semis would strain our supply chains, hurt our farmers, harm our economy, and increase costs for every single American. On top of inflation, poor economic conditions, and other regulations, this de facto EV mandate on our truckers, manufacturers, farmers, and dealers will hike the cost of groceries, utility bills, and everyday goods that American families rely on. It’s also a deliberate attack on liquid fuels – including homegrown Iowa biofuels – that are vital to our energy, economic, and national security,” said Rep. Feenstra.

Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Executive Director Monte Shaw commented, “As this rule ignores cost-effective emission reductions, like biodiesel, in favor of a federal mandate for technology that is either unproven or nonexistent in this space, IRFA members applaud Rep. Feenstra for leading this effort. Nearly everything Americans touch and taste on a daily basis has spent time on a truck. We cannot afford to mess that up.”

Biodiesel, EPA