Clean Fuels Help California GHG Drop

Cindy Zimmerman

California’s latest Greenhouse Gas Inventory reports a 16% decrease in transportation carbon emissions for 2020, due in part to increasing use of biodiesel and renewable diesel.

Clean Fuels Alliance America notes that the state’s analysis found the percentage of biodiesel and renewable diesel in the total diesel pool grew from 0.4% in 2011 to 20.8% in 2020 through the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). According to California Air Resources Board data, biodiesel and renewable diesel generated 44% of the LCFS credits in 2020.

“As California aims to continue its progress in reducing carbon emissions, it is relying on increased production, import and blending of clean fuels like biodiesel and renewable diesel,” Clean Fuels’ CEO Donnell Rehagen stated. “Continued growth of the clean fuels sector is vital to maintaining progress in meeting carbon reduction goals and increasing climate benefits across the country.”

Without renewable fuels like biodiesel and renewable diesel, the analysis notes, California’s tailpipe fossil CO2 would have been 15 million metric tons higher in 2020. The reduction is equivalent to taking 3.2 million passenger vehicles off the road for the year.

Clean Fuels Director of State Governmental Affairs Floyd Vergara added, “Heavy duty transportation is a particularly tough sector to decarbonize just like aviation, rail, and marine transportation. California’s analysis demonstrates the critical role low carbon fuels are playing to achieve carbon reductions today. Additionally, using biodiesel and renewable diesel substantially reduces particulate matter emissions and the health impacts and costs associated with them.”

Biodiesel, Clean Fuels Alliance, renewable diesel

Research Reveals Farmer Concerns About Carbon Markets

Cindy Zimmerman

Are farmers ready for carbon markets – or not?

That was the question that Farm Journal’s Trust In Food™ set out to answer in its inaugural “Ready or Not? Ag Carbon Markets and U.S. Farmers” report, highlighting perspectives from 500 U.S. row crop producers on pathways and barriers to participating in carbon ecosystems.

The answer? “Not quite yet,” according to Amy Skoczlas Cole, executive vice president of Trust In Food. “Our initial findings suggest that even the most carbon-curious farmers are signaling that their participation under current market conditions would require prohibitive investments of time, effort and resources without fair financial and market returns,” she said. And that is something everyone in the carbon market value chain should take very seriously with so much being staked on it as a critical tool for addressing climate change.

The majority of farmers surveyed report serious concern about overcoming technical and financial roadblocks to success in carbon markets. In addition to more fundamental warning signs, producers fear that costs will outweigh benefits; that ongoing compliance will require too high a burden; that existing conservation ag practices will not be compensated fairly; that data will not be handled appropriately or will be difficult to collect; or that upfront investments will be a barrier to entry. More than half of farmers surveyed labeled each respective concern a “significant” challenge to carbon market entry.

Learn more in this interview with Cole and read the full report.
Interview with Amy Skoczlas Cole, Trust In Food 20:09

Audio, Carbon, Farming

Clariant Buys BASF’s U.S. Attapulgite Business

Cindy Zimmerman

Specialty chemical company Clariant has completed the acquisition of BASF’s U.S. based Attapulgite business assets for $60 million. The transaction includes the transfer of land as well as mining rights, the processing facility, and inventories, which will be integrated into Clariant’s Functional Minerals business.

Adsorbent clays, such as attapulgite, are an important enabler for growth in the purification of edible oils and renewable fuels. In edible oil they remove contaminants thereby enhancing the shelf-life and oil quality, whereas in renewable fuels they play a key role in removing contaminants during the pre-treatment process, thereby protecting the catalyst. This enables a particularly stable and economically viable process. Clariant offers unique technologies for the purification of biodiesel to reduce greenhouse gases in road transportation and for the purification of pyrolysis oil to enable the chemical recycling of plastics.

North America is a strategic region for Clariant with numerous growth opportunities in the edible oil and renewable fuel markets.

Biodiesel, biofuels

Clean Fuels Help Enhance Tight Diesel Supplies

Cindy Zimmerman

The latest report from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) has set off fears of a looming diesel shortage by Thanksgiving, but clean fuels are helping to augment supplies.

EIA reports that, as of Oct. 14, the U.S. had only 25 days of reserve diesel supply, the lowest since 2008. In addition, distillate fuel, which includes heating oil inventories, is about 20% below the five-year average and some areas in the Northeast are already rationing heating oil as temperatures drop.

In a statement, Clean Fuels Alliance America said, “The clean fuels industry is working hard to provide better, cleaner transportation and heating fuels as petroleum supplies fall short. The U.S. supply of biodiesel and renewable diesel increased by 400 million gallons during the first three quarters of 2022 compared to the same time period in 2021, according to EPA data. Without the additional supply, prices would be about 4% higher than they are right now, per a recent study by WAEES. Our industry is continuing to grow and innovate to meet Americans’ needs for affordable, essential energy supplies.”

Heating oil prices hit $4.09 a gallon in New York last week, compared to $2.46 last year at this time and the EIA estimates home heating costs will jump 27 percent this winter. Bioheat® fuel is a blend of biodiesel and ultra-low sulfur heating fuel and an alternative to both traditional heating fuel and natural gas that can be used in existing home heating fuel systems.

Legislation placing a 5% Bioheat® fuel mandate (B5) was set to go into effect in the state of New York on July 1, 2022, and increases to B10 blends effective in 2025 and B20 blends by 2030. While the B5 mandate is in effect in New York City and Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties (accounting for 70% of the state’s heating oil market by volume), enforcement of the 5% bioheating fuel mandate in parts of upstate New York are delayed for another year.

New York has long championed the use of biodiesel and Bioheat® fuel to meet its clean energy goals, and the clean fuels industry remains poised and ready to continue delivering substantial carbon reduction benefits to New Yorkers. In fact, from 2013 – 2020, New York City municipal buildings used 222.9 million gallons of Bioheat® fuel, and more that 75% of all No.2 heating oil used by NYC municipal buildings is blended with Bioheat® fuel.

Biodiesel, biofuels, Bioheat, Clean Fuels Alliance

Ethanol Report with New RFA Chair

Cindy Zimmerman

The Renewable Fuels Association elected officers at its recent annual membership meeting and Erik Huschitt, CEO of Badger State Ethanol in Monroe, Wisconsin, was elected Chairman of the organization. Huschitt has been with Badger State for more than 20 years and also currently serves as president of the Wisconsin BioFuels Association.

In this edition of The Ethanol Report, we have a conversation with Huschitt about some of the most pressing industry issues and get a preview of the 2023 National Ethanol Conference to be held in Orlando, February 23-March 2.

Ethanol Report 10-28-22 20:30

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

EPA Approves Expanded Nebraska E30 Research

Cindy Zimmerman

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved the continuation of ground-breaking research being done in Nebraska on the long-term adaptability and feasibility of E30 fuel.

Results of the State’s initial pilot program, launched in 2019, showed that E30 is safe and reliable fuel for use in conventional vehicles. Under EPA current guidelines, only flex fuel vehicles (FFVs) can use ethanol blends higher than E15, but the State intends to underscore its initial findings in order to support regulatory change to make E30 accessible to all drivers.

“Promoting higher ethanol blends should be a centerpiece of our national strategy to lower gas prices,” said Gov. Pete Ricketts. “Nebraska has already demonstrated that E30 can be used in regular vehicles without reducing performance or requiring extra maintenance. With our expanded study, we’ll be in an even stronger position to advocate regulatory change to make E30 accessible to everyone.”

Nebraska Ethanol Board executive director Reid Wagner said, “Through the first phase, we found a few parameters we want to look at closer to provide a more robust demonstration of the performance of ethanol. The E30 demonstration is academically and scientifically grounded and will be a key driver in continuing our efforts to show ethanol’s superiority in performance, cost, and health versus gasoline.”

The second phase of the E30 demonstration will begin in the fall 2022 and include up to 825 State vehicles. While further demonstrating the safety and reliability of E30, the State will also significantly reduce its fuel costs and carbon footprint through the program.

Read more from the Nebraska Ethanol Board

blends, Ethanol, Ethanol News

MN Governor Urged to Keep Pushing for E15

Cindy Zimmerman

The Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association (MN Bio-Fuels), along with other biofuel and agriculture stakeholders in the state, are asking Gov. Tim Walz to remain committed to a regulatory solution that will ensure the year-round availability of E15.

Besides MN Bio-Fuels, the other signatories on the letter were the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation, the Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU), POET LLC and Green Plains Inc.

Earlier this year, Walz joined seven other Midwest governors in asking EPA to begin a rulemaking process to remove unnecessary and outdated regulations that prevent the sale of E15 during the summer driving season.
Specifically, the governors are requesting EPA remove the 1-PSI Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) waiver for E10 blends, which would eliminate the current disparity between E10 and E15 and place both fuels on equal regulatory footing in the summer months.

According to the Minnesota Department of Commerce, E15 sales in Minnesota from June to August this year was 27.25 million gallons, 12 percent higher than the volume sold in the preceding three months.

E15, Ethanol, Ethanol News

Scholarships Available for 2023 National Ethanol Conference

Cindy Zimmerman

The Renewable Fuels Association and Renewable Fuels Foundation (RFF) are once again partnering to offer scholarships for college students interested in attending the 28th annual National Ethanol Conference, scheduled for Feb. 28 – March 2 in Orlando. Members of RFA’s Young Professionals Network (YPN) are also eligible to apply.

Now in its 14th year, the program is named in honor of Robert “Bob” Sather, an educator who helped found RFA member company Ace Ethanol in Wisconsin. Sather was a past Chair of the Renewable Fuels Foundation. The aim of the Bob Sather Memorial Scholarship is to reach young adults aspiring to a career related to ethanol and open doors and present new perspectives on ethanol’s place in our world today and beyond. The program provides eligible applicants with opportunities to hear from, and engage with, top industry leaders, policymakers, and academic and technical experts.

The scholarships fully cover the registration fee, hotel, and up to $500 in airfare. A total of five will be awarded. Interested college students are asked to submit a 500-word essay explaining how their attendance at the NEC will help them achieve future goals. They should also submit two letters of recommendation and an up-to-date resume and current college transcript. Interested members of YPN need to complete the application questions and provide a resume and letter of recommendation from a supervisor or someone else familiar with their qualifications.

Applications are due January 17, 2023.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, National Ethanol Conference, Renewable Fuels Association, RFA

Trade Teams Visit Farms and Ethanol Plants

Cindy Zimmerman

A group of feed grain and DDGS buyers from South Korea visited Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy (SIRE)

Before and after Export Exchange 2022 last week, international trade teams consisting of agricultural product importers, government officials and agribusiness leaders had the opportunity to visit farms, ethanol plants, and export facilities around the U.S.

The trade teams represented more than 50 countries interested in U.S. corn, distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and sorghum. They traveled to a variety of locations from Washington D.C., throughout the Midwest, and states such as Louisiana and Arkansas.

One group of grain and DDGS importers from Mexico spent time in Iowa, seeing firsthand U.S. corn production areas, ethanol plants and learning about DDGS production and new technology entering the market. A group of feed grain and DDGS buyers from South Korea spent time in Washington, Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois, visiting the Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy (SIRE) ethanol plant in Council Bluff, IA, to learn more about the operation.

Eleven pre-event teams did visits prior to Export Exchange, while another ten teams traveled after the event. The trips were organized by the U.S. Grains Council.

corn, Distillers Grains, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Export Exchange, Exports

Senators Ask EPA for RFS “Set” Rulemaking

Cindy Zimmerman

Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) this week led a bipartisan group of colleagues in a letter urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish renewable volume obligations that are additive for all fuel types in the upcoming “set” rule under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The senators also highlighted additional actions EPA should take in order to maximize the use and benefit of biofuels, including updating lifecycle analysis for biofuel emissions and approving additional fuel registrations and pathways under the RFS.

“We request that EPA take supportive actions to provide regulatory certainty and afford new opportunities for these homegrown fuels to deepen their contribution to America’s evolving energy landscape,” said the senators in the letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan. “Through this rulemaking, EPA has a historic opportunity to not only reinforce its efforts to restore integrity to the RFS, but chart a new course for biofuels that will help meet America’s diverse energy demands while further decarbonizing numerous sectors of our economy.”

Biofuels organizations thanked the senators for their support of the RFS.

“With the forthcoming ‘set’ rule, EPA has a golden opportunity to stimulate further growth in low-carbon fuel use and build on the successes of the Renewable Fuel Standard,” said Geoff Cooper, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association. “We appreciate the efforts of Senator Thune, Senator Durbin, and other stalwart renewable fuel supporters to ensure EPA issues a ‘set’ rule that furthers the environmental and economic objectives of the original RFS program.”

“As we near EPA’s announcement on the proposed Set rule, ACE applauds Senators Thune and Durbin for their leadership on a timely, bipartisan letter urging the Agency to utilize this historic opportunity to increase biofuel blending targets and take other important steps to leverage the role low carbon biofuels can and should play to address our nation’s energy demands and meet the Administration’s decarbonization goals,” said Brian Jennings, CEO of American Coalition for Ethanol. “New incentives enacted by Congress will boost investments in clean fuel technologies that support action by EPA to expand the use of clean fuels like ethanol through future RFS targets.”

“We thank Senators Thune, Durbin, and others for highlighting the bipartisan support for continued growth in the Renewable Fuel Standard volumes,” said Kurt Kovarik, vice president of Federal Affairs for Clean Fuels Alliance America. “We appreciate the Senators’ request that EPA build on the foundation of advanced biofuels and provide additional space for emerging volumes of renewable diesel, sustainable aviation fuel, and other potential new biomass-based fuels.”

The letter was also signed by Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), and Tina Smith (D-Minn.).

ACE, Clean Fuels Alliance, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA, RFS