RFA Reviews 2022 Vehicles for Ethanol Use Approval

Cindy Zimmerman

The Renewable Fuels Association analysis of 2022 automobile models finds more approved to use up to 15% ethanol fuel (E15), but less flex fuel models that can use up to 85% (E85).

Based on current market share data, nearly 95 percent of new MY 2022 vehicles sold will carry the manufacturer’s unequivocal approval to use E15. For the 11th year straight, General Motors approves the use of E15 in all of its makes and models, while Ford is entering its 10th straight year of universal E15 approval. BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, Stellantis, Subaru, Tata Motors, and Volkswagen also approve or recommend the use of E15. Notably, BMW and Mini go a step further by approving the use of gasoline containing up to 25% ethanol (E25) in their 2022 models. Only Daimler (Mercedes-Benz), Mazda, Mitsubishi, and Volvo do not include E15 as a recommended fuel in their owners’ manual. However, E15 is legally approved by EPA for use in all vehicles built since 2001, covering almost 97 percent of all vehicles on the road today.

The news is not as positive for FFVs. According to a new brochure from RFA, only Ford and GM will offer FFVs for sale in MY 2022, and GM’s models are available only to fleet purchasers. The two manufacturers will offer just 11 models as FFVs in 2022. That’s down from more than 80 different models from eight manufacturers being available to consumers as recently as MY 2015. RFA continues to strongly advocate for the production of more FFVs and fairness in how alternative fuel vehicles are incentivized under fuel economy and greenhouse gas regulations.

Car Makers, E15, E85, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Renewable Fuels Association, RFA

Defend the Blend Act Introduced in Senate

Cindy Zimmerman

Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) Tuesday introduced bipartisan legislation to prohibit the EPA from reducing the minimum applicable volume of biofuels into transportation fuel after blending levels are finalized for any given year.

The Defend the Blend Act is co-sponsored by Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Joni Ernst (R-IA). Companion legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representatives Ashley Hinson (R-IA), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Angie Craig (D-MN), and Ron Kind (D-WI).

Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper says the bill comes at a critical time. “Just last week, EPA proposed an unprecedented retroactive reduction to the 2020 renewable volume obligations (RVOs) that were finalized more than two years ago. The RFS was created to provide long-term market certainty for our nation’s ethanol producers and farmers. Going back in time to slash RFS volumes—long after they have been finalized—undermines the purpose and intent of program and destabilizes the marketplace. We thank Sens. Klobuchar, Grassley, Duckworth and Ernst for working together to ensure the integrity of the RFS is being maintained and EPA is being held accountable.”

“ACE thanks these bipartisan Senators for introducing the Defend the Blend Act to help ensure EPA and oil refiners follow the law when it comes to the Renewable Fuel Standard,” said American Coalition for Ethanol CEO Brian Jennings. “In light of last week’s proposed retroactive cuts to the 2020 biofuel blending obligations, this bill makes clear that going back in time and revising targets that already self-adjusted not only goes against Congressional intent but is likely illegal. We need EPA to quit playing politics when it comes to administering the program and instead look to it as an important tool to immediately make progress toward decarbonization goals for the transportation sector.”

ACE, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA

B100 Runs Over 600K Miles in Pilot Program

Cindy Zimmerman

B100 is one step closer to being a reality for commercial fleet operations thanks to the results of a pilot program this past year that tested the fuel in five class-8 over-the-road trucks.

The pilot was a collaboration between ADM, Optimus Technologies, Illinois Soybean Association, American Lung Association and the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council, and used the Optimus Vector System which allows engines to run on B100 fuel year-round. It started in February of 2020 and ended in July 2021 with the five trucks driving a total of 623,922 miles during the trial. The trucks used 73,186 gallons of B99.9, all being supplied through ADM’s Mexico, Missouri, soybean crush and biodiesel production facility, and ran in temperatures as low as -10F with zero operational challenges being reported.

“By using B100 in this study, we were able to reduce CO2 emissions by an estimated 1,376,048 lbs and demonstrate the impact biodiesel can have on carbon reductions moving forward,” says Colin Huwyler, CEO of Optimus Technologies. “The results of this study, including the fuel mileage parity observed by the drivers, continues to demonstrate a pathway forward for B100 in the commercial trucking sector.”

The nearly 18-month project evaluated the Optimus Vector System in longer-haul over-the-road fleets. The system, already in use in shorter-mileage, local fleet applications, is expanding into long-haul, commercial fleets moving forward. The technology provides a cost-effective alternative to electrification for decarbonizing commercial fleets.

“Our U.S. supply chain depends on long-haul trucks and we don’t see that changing anytime soon,” says Steve Finn, VP of ADM trucking. “This study helps give us and other fleets the data they need to feel secure in implementing new fuel blends to add to their sustainability efforts without sacrificing efficiencies.”

The official results from the pilot will be released in 2022.

Biodiesel, NBB, Soybeans

“All In” for the 2022 Biodiesel Conference

Cindy Zimmerman

The National Biodiesel Board is “All In!” for the 2022 National Biodiesel Conference and Expo coming up January 17-20 in Las Vegas.

It’s the 30th year for the NBB, the 19th year for the conference, and the second year it has been held in Vegas, appropriately as the industry is coming up aces in the age of decarbonization with not only biodiesel, but also renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel. “During the event we’re going to remember some of our milestones, and give attendees the first peak at our new logo as we become Clean Fuels Alliance America,” said Brad Shimmens, NBB Director of Operations and Membership.

Carbon is the main attraction for many of the sessions at the conference, from Empowering Stakeholders to Seek Better Carbon Policies to Best Bets for Carbon Reduction Now at the Vehicle Technology Showcase.

Learn more about what’s on the table at the 2022 Biodiesel Conference from Shimmens in the interview below and find registration information at biodieselconference.org.

Biodiesel conference preivew with Brad Shimmens, NBB (3:05)

Audio, Biodiesel, Biodiesel Conference, NBB

New Administrator Picked for Nebraska Ethanol Board

Cindy Zimmerman

Reid Wagner

A new administrator has been chosen for the Nebraska Ethanol Board (NEB) to replace Roger Berry, who is leaving the agency December 10.

Reid Wagner will join NEB on Jan. 3, 2022. Wagner graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he earned his degree in chemical engineering. His professional experience thus far has led to positions at Evonik as a process engineer; ExxonMobil as a process design engineer; and Cargill as a production management engineering team member in the starches and sweeteners sector.

“Roger is a tremendous asset to the Nebraska ethanol industry, and we all benefited from his guidance and passion for agriculture and biofuels,” said NEB chair Jan tenBensel. “We look forward to Reid coming on board with our team, and we know his background and knowledge will take us, and the ethanol plants we work on behalf of, to new heights as the future of the biofuels industry evolves.”

Ethanol, Ethanol News

Groups Urge EPA to Resolve Summertime E15 Barrier

Cindy Zimmerman

Six national farm and biofuel organizations are asking Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan to enact regulations requiring lower-volatility conventional gasoline blendstock in the summertime in order to facilitate year-round sales of E15 nationwide.

The Renewable Fuels Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, Growth Energy, National Corn Growers Association, National Farmers Union, and National Sorghum Producers sent the joint letter saying that reducing the volatility of gasoline by just 1 pound per square inch (psi) would yield significant environmental benefits.

Regarding air quality, the six organizations referenced and attached a new study using EPA modeling tools, showing that reducing the vapor pressure of conventional gasoline blendstock by 1 psi “…would be beneficial to air quality, as emissions of carbon monoxide (CO), oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) would be reduced.” The study further concluded that “if the elimination of the 1-psi waiver [for E10] leads to the replacement of E10 with E15, it will also decrease greenhouse gases and particulate emissions.”

The organizations also wrote that the move would “simplify engineering of emissions control systems and help facilitate compliance with Renewable Fuel Standard requirements, with no noticeable impact on fuel costs.” They attached a new economic study showing that lowering the volatility of gasoline blendstock would impact the cost of the fuel by just 1-2 pennies per gallon.

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

EPA Biofuels Proposals Reaction

Cindy Zimmerman

Biofuel supporters are having mixed reactions to the two proposals released this week by the Environmental Protection Agency related to the Renewable Fuel Standard.

On the good side, EPA proposed to deny 65 pending small refinery exemption (SRE) petitions based on the Tenth Circuit court decision in Renewable Fuels Association et al. v. EPA.

However, the proposed package setting Renewable Volume Obligations for three years, including resetting the already approved 2020 level, is getting less favorable reviews. “While we are pleased to see that EPA’s proposal for 2022 is consistent with Congressional intent to require 15 billion gallons of conventional renewable fuels like corn ethanol, it would be completely unprecedented and contrary to EPA’s past policies and practices for the agency to go back in time and revise the 2020 RFS requirements. We don’t believe a retroactive reduction of this nature is legally permissible,” said Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Geoff Cooper. (Listen to Cooper’s full reaction in The Ethanol Report podcast)

Not only is it potentially illegal, American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty says a retroactive reduction is unnecessary because it is already built into the law. “Each year’s volume is converted to a percentage, so renewable fuel volumes automatically rise or fall based on actual fuel sales. By reducing the 2020 percentage and 2021 volumes EPA is essentially shifting more of the pandemic burden from refiners to ethanol producers and farmers, and allowing gallons already sold to be counted against 2022 volumes, extending the pain into another year.”

The National Biodiesel Board is pleased that EPA’s proposal would increase 2022 advanced volumes and restore improperly waived volumes from prior years. However, NBB Vice President for Federal Affairs Kurt Kovarik said, “EPA is setting a bad precedent by recalculating the 2020 obligations. The retroactive lowering of volumes creates uncertainty about future growth.”

In 2020, the U.S. biodiesel and renewable diesel market grew to 3 billion gallons – its highest volume ever – and generated more than 4.5 billion advanced biofuel credits (Renewable Identification Numbers or RINs). Through the first ten months of 2021, the industry maintained a sustainable production rate comparable to 2020. EPA is proposing sustainable growth opportunities consistent with industry expectations along with a statutorily required increase of 500 million gallons in the overall advanced biofuel category.

ACE, Audio, Biodiesel, Ethanol, Ethanol News, NBB, RFA, RFS

Ethanol Report Reviews EPA Announcements

Cindy Zimmerman

The ethanol industry got some long-awaited announcements from the Biden Administration this week on COVID aid from USDA and biofuel blending obligations from the Environmental Protection Agency.

It’s a mixed bag of good news and bad news for ethanol producers and in this edition of The Ethanol Report we get the details from Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Geoff Cooper.

Ethanol Report 12-9-21 (15:09)

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, EPA, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Ethanol Report, USDA

Project Carbonview Launched for Ethanol Producers

Cindy Zimmerman

Bayer, Bushel and Amazon Web Services (AWS) today unveiled Project Carbonview – a first-of-its-kind technology solution to help farmers drive more sustainable supply chains by aggregating the carbon footprint of end products, starting with ethanol.

Beginning as a pilot program, Project Carbonview is focused on creating awareness and acceptance for low-carbon fuel markets. Eligible farmers who enroll in the pilot will receive compensation for participation. Ultimately, once these markets are broadly established, we anticipate growers will be compensated based on the implementation of sustainable farming practices and will share in the financial incentives created by low-carbon fuel markets.

“This is designed currently for the ethanol supply chain and specifically for..ethanol processing facilities and the information they need to make good procurement decisions,” said Elizabeth Fastiggi, Head of Worldwide Agriculture BD at Amazon Web Services (AWS), speaking Wednesday morning at the ASTA CSS & Seed Expo.

Elizabeth Fastiggi, Amazon (6:34)

Project Carbonview focused on the United States will initially enable U.S. ethanol producers (corn is a key ingredient in ethanol production) to track carbon emissions across the entire supply chain – from planting through production – and implement more sustainable business practices by providing the data needed to make more informed purchasing decisions and reduce their carbon emissions. For farmers who opt into the program, Project Carbonview streamlines on-farm data collection with Bayer’s Climate FieldView™ application and connects it with delivery and transportation data captured from the 54,000 U.S. active users of Bushel’s platform. Through the Climate FieldView™ platform, farmers continue to own their data and choose who to share their data with.

Learn more from Bayer

Audio, Carbon, corn, Ethanol, Ethanol News

Iowa VERBIO BioRefinery Starts RNG Production

Cindy Zimmerman

The first U.S. industrial scale renewable natural gas facility using agricultural residues as its feedstock began production Tuesday in Nevada, Iowa.

VERBIO AG, the German parent company, purchased the former DuPont Cellulosic ethanol plant in late 2018. With the commissioning of the Nevada plant, VERBIO will produce seven million ethanol gallons equivalent (EGE) of RNG with the completion of Phase I; upon completion of Phase II in the 4th quarter of 2022, the site will begin operating as a biorefinery, producing 19 million (EGE) of RNG and 60 million gallons of corn-based ethanol. The integration of RNG and ethanol production incorporates advanced operational technology as currently practiced at the company’s facilities in Germany.

biofuels, Cellulosic, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Natural Gas