RFS Revisit Rumors Resurface

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Rumors that the Biden Administration is looking at lowering biofuel blending obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) resurfaced this week, prompting the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) to send a letter to the White House explaining why that would be a bad idea.

“To be clear, lowering biofuel blending requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) would not reduce the cost of gasoline for American households,” wrote RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper in a letter to National Economic Council Director Brian Deese. “In fact, cutting RFS volumes would most assuredly have the exact opposite effect on consumer gas prices. Reducing the domestic usage of low-cost renewable fuels like ethanol would increase demand for petroleum at a time when global oil inventories are already strained and prices are at seven-year highs.”

Instead, Cooper encouraged him to follow through on President Biden’s pledge to “double down on the liquid fuels of the future,” which includes “immediately proposing strong RFS volumes for 2021 and 2022, and taking swift regulatory action to facilitate the rapid expansion of E15 availability nationwide.”

RFA noted that ethanol presently extends the U.S. gasoline supply by nearly 1.1 million barrels per day, equivalent to the combined crude oil production from Alaska, California, Utah, and Wyoming.

Read the letter.

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

ACE Supports Policies to Help Ethanol Reach Net-Zero

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Board of Directors voted this month to support new policies that credit farmers and ethanol producers for activities helping ethanol reach net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050.

The resolution supports the adoption of policies at both the state and federal level that “recognize ethanol is part of the climate and health solution while crediting farmers and ethanol producers for these activities, which will help ethanol reduce lifecycle GHG emissions by at least 70% on average compared to gasoline by 2030 and reach net-zero lifecycle GHG emissions by 2050.”

This resolution aligns with ACE’s ongoing work to highlight how climate-smart farming practices, efficiencies at ethanol plants, and the capture and sequestration of biogenic CO2 from facilities puts ethanol on a unique trajectory to reach both net-zero and net-negative emissions. It also aligns with ACE’s advocacy of new technology-neutral clean fuel policies at the state and federal level that will ensure a growing market for low carbon ethanol even as overall petroleum use declines.

ACE, Carbon, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Farming

Hearing Looks at Rural Renewable Economy

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

A House Agriculture Subcommittee hearing on the “Renewable Economy in Rural America” provided a forum for lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to urge the Biden administration to keep its promises to the biofuels industry, particularly when it comes to issuing Renewable Volume Obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

“The administration should immediately issue robust RVO numbers for 2022,” said Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN). “I’m hearing from farmers who are wondering about all these rumors swirling about the RVOs the administration is considering. They thought they could expect robust numbers, not more relief for refiners.”

Hearing questioning from Rep. Craig (D-MN) (4:56)

Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL) noted that he sent a letter the White House in June asking about rumors that “the administration was considering a nationwide waiver of the RFS to cut demand for more combined gallons than all those cut due to the small refinery exemptions issued by the prior administration.”

Both Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor, speaking on behalf of the ethanol industry, and Missouri Soybean Association Executive Director Gary Wheeler for the biodiesel industry, agreed that the rumored administration plan to retroactively cut volume obligations would be unprecedented.

Hearing questioning from Rep. Davis (R-IL) (4:36)

Lawmakers also brought up the fact that the administration has yet to provide promised aid to biofuel producers impacted by COVID restrictions last year, the court ruling invalidating year round sales of E15, and the importance of accurate greenhouse gas modeling for biofuels.

Ranking Member Michelle Fischbach (R-MN) asked about what impact the uncertainty cause by delayed RVOs and the loss of E15 sales in the summer months is causing. “When we have year round access to E15, when we have the Renewable Fuel Standard upheld as Congress intended, that’s how we start to unleash the power of biofuels,” said Skor in reply.

Hearing questioning from Rep. Fischbach (R-MN) (2:24)

Reps. Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Cindy Axne (D-IA), and Randy Feenstra (R-IA) all had questions about the role of biofuels in a low carbon future, and how infrastructure funding and the Next Generation Fuels Act could help the industry.

Hearing questioning from Rep. Bustos (D-IL) (3:44)

Hearing questioning from Rep. Axne (D-IA) (5:06)

Hearing questioning from Rep. Feenstra (R-IA) (4:11)

Audio, Biodiesel, Ethanol, Ethanol News

Ethanol Report RFA 40th Anniversary – Kelly Davis

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 who were there at the beginning, like Kelly Davis.

Three cities straddle the curve at the very south of Ohio: Huntington, W.Va.; South Point, Ohio; and Ashland, Ky. To Kelly Davis, this confluence of the Big Sandy River into the Ohio is not only home, but where she got started in the ethanol industry nearly 40 years ago. A Huntington native, Davis attended Marshall University in the city, earning a degree in chemistry. She found herself at Ashland Oil for 13 years, starting in 1980 when she was the only woman in the refinery, and eventually moving to its startup South Point Ethanol.

Listen to Davis’ reflections and memories of the past 40 years in this edition of The Ethanol Report.

Ethanol Report 11-12-21 (11:28)

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, Renewable Fuels Association, RFA

Weekly Ethanol Production Maintains Million Barrels Per Day

Cindy Zimmerman

Ethanol production dropped last week, but still was above a million barrels per day (b/d), according to the latest EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association.

RFA reports that ethanol production was down 68,000 barrels per day (b/d) for the week ending November 5, or 6.1%, to 1.039 million b/d.

This is equivalent to 43.64 million gallons daily. Production was 6.3% above the same week last year, which was affected by the pandemic, and 0.9% above the same week in 2019. The four-week average ethanol production volume increased 0.2% to 1.087 million b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 16.66 billion gallons (bg).

Ethanol stocks rose 0.8% to a nine-week high of 20.3 million barrels. Stocks were 0.6% above the year-ago level but 3.3% lower than the same week in 2019.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, Renewable Fuels Association, RFA

SCS Global Services Approved as Verifier for Oregon

Cindy Zimmerman

SCS Global Services has been approved as an independent verifier for the Oregon Clean Fuels Program (CFP). The CFP’s main objective is to encourage cleaner fuel usage using electricity, ethanol, biodiesel, renewable diesel and renewable natural gas based on incentives and requirements that create demand for such fuels in the marketplace.

SCS Global Services, an international leader in third-party certification and verification of environmental and sustainability achievements, is a global verification body for the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) and other low carbon fuels programs The company provides fuel pathway validations, annual verifications of fuel pathway reports, annual verifications of quarterly fuel transportation reports, and quarterly reviews of fuel transaction reports. It has nearly 20 lead verifiers in the US and internationally with direct experience in ethanol, biodiesel, and renewable natural gas.

As an approved verifier for the Oregon Clean Fuels Program (Approval ID# CFPVB‐015), SCS Global Services can now conduct verification activities for Fuel Pathway Applications and Annual Fuel Pathway Reports, and for CFP Quarterly Fuel Transaction Reports.

Biodiesel, biofuels, Ethanol, Ethanol News, renewable diesel

ACE Communications Director Takes on Public Affairs Role

Cindy Zimmerman

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) has elevated Communications Director Katie (Fletcher) Muckenhirn to a new role of Vice President of Public Affairs at the organization’s office based out of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Muckenhirn will continue to manage the organization’s media relations, while assuming a larger role in ACE’s public policy efforts and planning of ACE’s Washington, D.C. fly-in and annual conference.

ACE CEO Brian Jennings says employing Muckenhirn’s experience as the organization’s communications director for nearly five years, to take on these additional activities is a natural transition as the organization restructures and seeks new staff roles. “We are ecstatic Katie is taking on this new and elevated role to showcase her work ethic and skill in continuing to oversee ACE’s communication strategy, while planning for our two main industry events each year,” Jennings said.

“I’m thrilled to grow in my role on the ACE team and continue building upon ACE’s superior reputation of hosting must-attend fly-ins and conferences,” Muckenhirn said. “As Vice President of Public Affairs, I hope to leverage the experience I’ve gained over the past five years to continue broadening ACE’s reach amongst its constituencies, bolster ACE’s political influence, and provide top-notch events for ACE membership and the industry.”

Muckenhirn joined the ACE staff in 2017 after nearly three years of writing and editing for BBI’s Ethanol Producer Magazine, Biomass Magazine and Pellet Mill Magazine and providing event support for the International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo.

As Muckenhirn transitions into this new role, ACE is seeking a full-time Communications Manager to join their team. Interested applicants should contact Shannon Gustafson at the ACE office at sgustafson@ethanol.org.

ACE, Ethanol, Ethanol News

REG and Booster Partner for Sustainable Fuels Delivery

Cindy Zimmerman

Renewable Energy Group (REG) has announced a partnership with Booster, a tech-enabled energy delivery service, to provide mobile delivery of renewable diesel, biodiesel and blended fuels to fleets. The service started in California in August and has the potential to grow nationally.

The Booster / REG collaboration makes low-carbon fuels more accessible to clients, with convenient mobile fueling services provided by Booster. As businesses and fleets look for more sustainable solutions, REG’s bio-based diesel is easy to adopt and immediately begins reducing fossil carbon emissions. Under the new partnership, REG UltraClean Blend™ and other renewable and biodiesel fuels will be delivered to customers via Booster’s proprietary trucks, last-mile technology platform and certified drivers.

“This new service will let companies seamlessly transition their fleets to much lower-emission fuels with no equipment or infrastructure costs,” said Frank Mycroft, CEO and co-founder, Booster. “Our partnership with REG will provide fleet operators with an ‘easy button’ to solve their sustainability, energy reliability and operational efficiency needs. Combining Booster and REG capabilities also offers fleet managers the data and intelligence required to meet increasingly ambitious environmental standards and business optimization targets.”

As part of the partnership, REG will be an exclusive supplier of bio-based diesel to Booster, and has become an investor in the company. Booster will also be an exclusive mobile fueler to REG and will partner with REG to explore expansion opportunities together.

Learn more.

Biodiesel, biofuels, REG, renewable diesel

Elite Octane Ethanol Plant Receives USDA Grant

Cindy Zimmerman

Elite Octane president Nick Bowdish shows Axne and Torres Small around the plant

Congresswoman Cindy Axne and USDA Under Secretary of Agriculture for Rural Development Xochitl Torres Small visited the Elite Octane dry-mill ethanol plant in Atlantic, Iowa this week to announce a $250,000 energy efficiency grant funded by the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).

The REAP grant will be used by Elite Octane to install a Dryer Exhaust Energy Recovery (DEER) system, which will capture and reuse the energy from the plant’s dryer – allowing the plant to recapture and use 89 million kilowatt hours per year, enough electricity to power close to 6,000 homes. The DEER system is projected by USDA to save the Atlantic plant more than $1.2 million a year in energy costs.

The Build Back Better Act, which Rep. Axne has been helping craft in the House, allocates an additional $2 billion in funding for REAP grants.

The updated draft text of the Build Back Better Act also includes $1 billion in funding for USDA to provide grants over the next 10 years to expand biofuel pump infrastructure, upgrade existing tanks and pumps, and increase usage of higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel.

Biodiesel, Ethanol, Ethanol News, USDA

U.S. Ethanol and DDGS Exports Down in September

Cindy Zimmerman

U.S. ethanol exports were down six percent in September with most of the 76 million gallons going to just two countries, according to the latest analysis by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).

Canada remained the top destination for U.S. ethanol exports for the sixth straight month with imports of 36.2 mg, up 7%. This marks the largest monthly shipments to cross the border in over three years and accounts for nearly half (48%) of the September U.S. ethanol export market. Exports to South Korea jumped 81% to a five-month high of 17.9 mg (accounting for 24% of September exports). Mexico (4.8 mg, +20%), Peru (4.7 mg, -24%), and the United Kingdom (4.1 mg, -38%) were other larger customers. Once again, former key destinations Brazil, China, and India were nearly absent from the market. Shipments over the first nine months of the year were 872.2 mg, down 10% from the same period in 2020.

The U.S. imported 12.9 mg of undenatured ethanol from Brazil, the largest monthly volume to enter our borders this year.

RFA reports that exports of dried distillers grains (DDGS) were down 31% in September to a seven-month low of 853,751 metric tons (mt) after hitting a six-year high in August. Five countries accounted for two-thirds of total DDGS exports in September.

Exports to Mexico, our top customer for the last year, declined by 22% to 159,658 mt (representing 19% of all shipments in September). U.S. DDGS sales to Vietnam scaled back by 40% to 116,725 mt. Exports to South Korea perked up by 35% to 108,086 mt, a high for the year. Canada imported 93,449 mt DDGS, up 8% for the largest volume in over a decade. Shipments also increased to Indonesia, up 6% to 68,724 mt. Additionally, substantial volumes landed in China (49,977 mt, -12%), Turkey (28,489 mt, -67% to a 17-month low), Ireland (28,038 mt, +51%), New Zealand (22,000 mt, -56%), and Spain (19,378 mt, -54%). Total DDGS exports through September were 8.59 million mt, which is 5% ahead of last year at this time.

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