Uncertainty over RFS Hurting Biofuel Investment

Joanna Schroeder

While Florida was debating the future of its Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) many biofuel companies fought hard to keep it in place. One supporter was Brad Krohn with Florida-based United States EnviroFuels. Brad recently spoke with our Chuck Zimmerman following a day of testimony heard by the Florida House. They just had a follow up discussion about how things are going for the company.

US EnviroFuelsUS EnviroFuels has a 30 million gallon a year advanced ethanol project in the works that is based on conventional, well-proven Brazilian style technology. The plant’s primary feedstock is sugarcane and secondary feedstock is sweet sorghum – both of which will be processed into advanced low carbon ethanol and renewable power.

Bradley Krohn Photo Tampa Bay Business JournalKrohn said the the project is designed, and they have raised capital in their first and second funding rounds. In addition, the project has been issued three major permits for construction from Florida and it is very close to construction. However, Krohn said they are still in the process of getting the project fully funded. Hopefully, the company will find support from interested investors to complete their project which will have a significant positive impact to the local community.

Krohn explained that current political uncertainty has made it nearly impossible to get the equity funding his project and others need. “I believe that the oil industry is succeeding in stymieing or chilling the investment into next generation ethanol, whether you call it Gen 1.5 or Generation 2 ethanol, primarily through three-fronts the oil industry is focused on.”

“The first is repeal of the federal RFS, either an all-out appeal of the RFS or significant compromise in Congress. The second is an appeal of EPA’s approval of E15, gasoline that contains 15 percent ethanol. And the third is refusal to flat-out blend percentages of ethanol higher than 10 percent, which effectively is not complying with the mandated volumes under the RFS to go to higher blends of ethanol,” continued Krohn. “All these factors are contributing to the financial community being very, very skeptical or weary of investing in to the ethanol industry no matter how good a project is; no matter how viable a project is for advanced ethanol. The investment community sees tremendous political instability for the future of ethanol.”

Listen to Chuck’s interview with Brad Krohn to learn more about how the oil industry is trying to alter the future of ethanol: Interview with Brad Krohn

advanced biofuels, Audio, E15, Ethanol, RFS