More About New Biodiesel Superhero Campaign

Cindy Zimmerman

Biodiesel is on a mission to save the planet from carbon and other evil greenhouse gases and the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotional Council (MSR&PC) has kicked off a new campaign that highlights the super powers of biodiesel with colorful bus wraps and a new website – mnbiodiesel.com.

MSR&PC CEO Tom Sluencka says the intent of the biodiesel bus wraps is to show Minnesotans that renewable fuels are already packing a serious punch when it comes to cutting greenhouse gas emissions. “Biodiesel is reducing greenhouse gas emissions by over 80 percent, reducing particulate matter by over 47 percent, and that’s what we consider smog, and we’re doing it with a fuel that’s raised and produced right here in Minnesota,” said Slunecka.

At a time when there is a strong push for electric vehicles, Slunecka says they are proud that the Metro Transit system chose biodiesel to reduce emissions. “They realized that with the cold temperatures in Minnesota and the length of some of their routes that big, heavy batteries in their buses were just not going to get the job done,” he said. “So, instead they decided to use the original advanced biofuel, which is biodiesel.”

Slunecka discusses the new campaign and the superhero benefits of biodiesel in this interview.

MN Biodiesel Superhero Campaign - MSR&PC CEO Tom Slunecka (9:33)

Learn more about this super new campaign.

Audio, Biodiesel, Soybeans

RFS Integrity Act Introduced in Senate

Cindy Zimmerman

U.S. Senators Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) this week introduced the bipartisan RFS Integrity Act of 2021 to “provide more certainty for rural America by bringing transparency and predictability to EPA’s small refinery exemption process.”

The bill would require small refineries to petition for Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) hardship exemptions by June 1st of each year. This change would ensure that EPA properly accounts for exempted gallons in the annual Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) it sets each November.

“This legislation is necessary because under President Trump, EPA brazenly granted nearly 90 waivers for small refineries, erasing over 4 billion gallons from the RFS volumes established by Congress,” said
American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings.

“While we remain hopeful that the U.S. Supreme Court will soon put this issue behind us once and for all by affirming the Tenth Circuit Court’s decision in RFA et al. v. EPA, introduction of the RFS Integrity Act marks an important step forward toward getting the program back on track,” said Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper.

The Tenth Circuit’s vacatur of three last minute Trump Administratin exemptions last week means RFA was successful in preserving 260 million gallons of renewable fuel blending requirements that would have otherwise been erased if the exemptions had been allowed to stand.

RFA asked both the Tenth and D.C. Circuit Courts to dismiss its challenges to the three midnight-hour exemptions. “Now that the Court has vacated these improperly granted exemptions and is sending them back to EPA for reconsideration, we are gladly requesting the withdrawal of our original objections,” said Cooper.

ACE, EPA, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA

Legislation Would Extend Biodiesel Tax Credit

Cindy Zimmerman

Legislation was introduced this week in both the House and the Senate that would extend the biodiesel tax credit through 2025.

Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) introduced the bipartisan Biodiesel Tax Credit Extension Act of 2021 in the Senate, while Rep. Cindy Axne (D-IA) and Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) put forth the bill in the House. The tax credit is set to expire at the end of 2022 after being revived in December 2019.

“The biodiesel tax credit has proven to work by reducing our dependence on foreign oil and lowering greenhouse gas emissions,” Grassley said. “The biodiesel industry employs more than 60,000 Americans. This extension would provide important, longer-term stability for them and their communities.”

Sen. Grassley on biodiesel tax extension (1:41)

“The biodiesel tax credit continues to be extremely successful in expanding consumer access to cleaner fuels,” said Kurt Kovarik, National Biodiesel Board Vice President of Federal Affairs. “Biodiesel and renewable diesel cut carbon emissions by an average of 74% compared to petroleum diesel and they support job creation and economic opportunity for rural communities across the country. NBB’s members sincerely appreciate Senators Grassley and Cantwell and Representatives Axne and Kelly, along with the 27 original cosponsors.”

Audio, Biodiesel, NBB

MN Soybean Council Promotes Superhero Biodiesel

Cindy Zimmerman

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s … Biodiesel!

This month, the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotional Council (MSR&PC) is debuting a super-powered campaign that highlights the wonder of biodiesel.

Throughout the spring and summer, biodiesel’s carbon-reduction message will be splashed across dozens of Metro Transit buses in a comic book-themed campaign sponsored by MSR&PC. The Council has also launched a new website – mnbiodiesel.com – touting the muscle behind this homegrown fuel.

Earlier this spring, the Metropolitan Council approved a measure to invest $122 million in adding 143 new biodiesel buses to the Metro Transit’s fleet. The new buses account for about 15% of the fleet. 46 buses in total will carry MSR&PC’s superhero message.

The intent of the biodiesel bus wraps is to inform Minnesotans that – despite calls for more electric vehicles – renewable fuels are already packing a serious punch when it comes to cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Learn more about this super new campaign.

Biodiesel, Soybeans

Report Shows How U.S. Farmers Can Fight Climate Change

Cindy Zimmerman

A new report commissioned by Farm Journal Foundation finds U.S. farmers have the potential to significantly reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and become part of the global solution to climate change.

U.S. agriculture contributes about 10% of the total greenhouse gas emissions of the entire national economy, but farmers could greatly reduce those emissions if they were provided with the right government incentives, according to the report, which was co-authored by Dr. John Reilly of MIT’s Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change and Dr. Stephanie Mercier, senior policy adviser at Farm Journal Foundation.

Joining Farm Journal Foundation in releasing the report Thursday were Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Bill Hohenstein, director of the USDA’s Office of Energy and Environmental Policy.

Sen. Stabenow addressed how the report ties in with the Growing Climate Solutions Act and the importance of increased funding for conservation programs.
Farm Journal Foundation climate report - Sen. Stabenow (2:52)

Bill Hohenstein discussed what USDA is doing to address climate change priorities and the latest progress report on Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry.
Farm Journal Foundation climate report - Bill Hohenstein, USDA (8:18)
Hohenstein also commented on how policies such as California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard help incentivize farmers and biofuel producers to reduce GHG emissions.
Bill Hohenstein, USDA, comments on LCFS and biofuels (1:08)

Report co-author Dr. John Reilly explained how agriculture has the greatest stake in climate change, but also the greatest ability to reduce emissions in a variety of ways.
Farm Journal Foundation climate report - Dr. John Reilly, MIT (7:04)

Dr. Stephanie Mercier talked about policies that can help agriculture be part of the climate change solution.
Farm Journal Foundation climate report - Dr. Stephanie Mercier (8:46)

Audio, biofuels, carbon capture, Environment, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Farming, USDA

Ethanol Report – RFA 40th Anniversary Feature on Ron Miller

Cindy Zimmerman

The Renewable Fuels Association was born in 1981 and RFA is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year by spotlighting some of the pioneers in the ethanol industry.

In 1981, Ron Miller was head of marketing for the new Pekin Energy plant, which is now one of the oldest in the ethanol industry and goes by the name of Alto Ingredients. At the time, Pekin was one of only about five players in the ethanol industry, so Miller also found himself involved in the start up of RFA. He chaired the organization twice, from 1997-2001 and 2006-2007, making him RFA’s longest-serving chairman.

Listen to Ron Miller’s story and his thoughts on the growth of the ethanol industry and RFA’s 40th anniversary in this edition of The Ethanol Report.

Ethanol Report 5-21-21 (17:11)

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

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

USDA Report Notes Role of Biofuels in Carbon Reduction

Cindy Zimmerman

USDA’s 90-Day Progress Report on Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry which includes stakeholder input on how to best use programs, funding and financing capacities to encourage the voluntary adoption of climate-smart agricultural practices. The report also supports the role of agriculture in de-carbonizing the transportation sector.

The growth of the U.S. biofuels sector, driven in part by the Renewable Fuels Standard, has reduced GHGs and strengthened the rural economy. Ethanol produced from corn reduces GHG emissions relative to gasoline. Market opportunities such as California’s Low Carbon Fuels Standard and the 45Q Federal Tax Credit for carbon capture and sequestration can further drive down the GHG footprint of the biofuels sector. USDA should identify opportunities for agriculture and forestry to play a role in the production of low-carbon biofuel feedstocks, and for innovative technologies such as Bioenergy with Carbon Capture (BECCS) to reduce emissions associated with biofuel production while spurring rural economic development.

During a call announcing a new Farm Journal Foundation report on how U.S. farmers can be part of the climate change solution, the director of the USDA’s Office of Energy and Environmental Policy commented on California’s LCFS. “Biofuel producers have a strong incentive to reduce the greenhouse gas intensity of the fuel’s they are producing, whether it be renewable diesel, biodiesel or ethanol,” said Bill Hohenstein.
Bill Hohenstein, USDA, comments on LCFS and biofuels (1:08)

The report is in response to President Biden’s Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad which states, “America’s farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners have an important role to play in combating the climate crisis and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, by sequestering carbon in soils, grasses, trees, and other vegetation and sourcing sustainable bioproducts and fuels.”

Audio, biofuels, carbon capture, Climate Change, Ethanol, Ethanol News, USDA

Court Vacates Last Minute Refinery Exemptions

Cindy Zimmerman

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit has issued an order vacating three small refinery exemptions granted by EPA in the waning moments of the Trump Administration. The court’s decision came promptly after EPA petitioned for the vacatur and remand of the exemptions on April 30 and Sinclair responded on May 18 that it did not oppose EPA’s request.

The court order states that any further administrative proceedings on these exemptions must be “consistent with this court’s decision in Renewable Fuels Association v. EPA,” where the Tenth Circuit ruled that EPA may only extend pre-existing refinery exemptions, that EPA’s exemption decisions must reconcile the agency’s consistent findings that all refineries recover the costs of compliance with the Renewable Fuel Standard, and that EPA may only use hardship caused by the RFS to justify granting exemptions.

“We’re pleased that the court has vacated these improperly granted waivers and is sending them back to EPA for reconsideration,” RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper said. “If these exemptions had been allowed to stand, they would have erased RFS blending requirements for 260 million gallons of low-carbon renewable fuels, destabilizing rural communities and taking a step backward in the fight against climate change. EPA did the right thing in April by requesting that these spurious exemptions be vacated, and we applaud the agency for honoring President Biden’s commitment to putting an end to the surge of illegitimate refinery waivers.”

EPA, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA

FEW Looking for Industry Award Nominations

Cindy Zimmerman

The 3th annual International Fuel Ethanol Workshop will be held in Des Moines July 13-15 and one of the event’s longtime traditions is the presentation of the industry’s High Octane Award and Award of Excellence. Nominations for both awards are now being sought, with a deadline of June 4.

The Award of Excellence, established by BBI International in 2000, recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the fuel ethanol industry through their research, technical advisory and/or development activities. Last year’s winner was Douglas Tiffany, University of Minnesota.

The High Octane Award acknowledges a person who has helped the ethanol industry mature and progress over the years. This award, established in 2000 by BBI International, recognizes a person whose passion and unstoppable pursuits have significantly benefited the ethanol industry. Previous winners include such well-known industry pioneers as Ray Defenbaugh, Steve Vander Griend, and last year’s winner Doug Durante.

Click here to learn more and nominate.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, FEW

Ethanol Exports Up in March

Cindy Zimmerman

Exports of U.S. ethanol increased to 133 million gallons (mg) in March, the second-largest volume in a year and up 31% from February’s dip, according to the latest summary from the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).

Exports to China spiked from 4.7 mg to 48.3 mg for the country’s second-largest monthly imports of American ethanol on record (and narrowly missing the April 2016 high). Similarly, shipments to Canada accelerated by 85% to a four-month high of 34.2 mg, and India’s imports were up 13% over February to 16.8 mg. These three countries received three-fourths of all ethanol shipped in March. Other substantial markets include South Korea (7.1 mg, -67%), Brazil (5.3 mg, -32%), the Philippines (4.6 mg, -5%), and Peru (4.5 mg, +3%). Total U.S. ethanol exports for the first three months of the year totaled 399.3 mg, or 18% less than last year at this time.

U.S. exports of dried distillers grains (DDGS) were up 13% in March to 882,553 metric tons (mt). Shipments to Mexico rebuilt following a sizeable slump in February to 174,928 mt, 20% of total U.S. exports in March and a 42% increase over the prior month. Shipments to Vietnam nearly doubled to a seven-month high of 130,985 mt.

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