The Renewable Fuel Standard is the most successful clean energy tool available to the government, which should make full use of it when setting the biofuel mandate for 2023 and future years, said farm and biofuel trade groups on Thursday. “What we’re really looking to take place with EPA is that they maximize the full potential of the RFS,” said Emily Skor, chief executive of Growth Energy.
The government will pay up to half of the cost of installing pumps, tanks and other equipment at gas stations and other retailers that want to sell higher blends of biofuels, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Tuesday. Projects would receive cost-share grants drawn from $100 million available through the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIPP).
Farm-state lawmakers would have the funds to write a climate-focused farm bill if Congress enacts a broad-ranging package that President Biden on Thursday called “the most significant legislation in history to tackle the climate crisis.” The package includes $20 billion for voluntary conservation practices on the farm to sequester greenhouse gases in soils, plants, and trees.
The EPA has a free hand in writing the Renewable Fuel Standard for 2023, but the agency could be 18 months late and operating under a court order when it finally issues its proposal this fall. A biofuel trade group says nailing down the release date is a milestone in the campaign for expanded use of the alternative fuels.
Biofuels are far more responsible for high vegetable oil prices than Russia's invasion of Ukraine, said agricultural economist Aaron Smith of UC-Davis, and the biofuel industry will drive up vegetable oil prices further. Ukraine and Russia produce more than half of the sunflower oil in the world but the oil accounts for only 10 percent of global production of vegetable oils.
Corn will become less important and sugarcane will become the dominant feedstock for making ethanol in the coming decade, said an agricultural outlook published jointly by the OECD and FAO on Wednesday. The report forecast a relatively slow growth rate for biofuels, averaging 0.6 percent a year worldwide, with growth in the United States constrained by declining gasoline consumption.
As part of an effort to "re-set and strengthen" the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), the EPA set the corn ethanol mandate at its highest level ever, 15.25 billion gallons, for this year. Ethanol is cheaper than gasoline at present, so biofuel backers said consumers would benefit at the fuel pump with more ethanol in the gasoline supply.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine focused world attention on wheat prices and disruptions of supplies to poor countries that rely on imported grain. Now analysts at the IFPRI think tank say there is “another important emerging food security issue: the war’s impact on vegetable oils.”
Verbio North America says it will more than double the capacity of its plant in central Iowa to produce renewable natural gas from corn stover, and it plans to begin production of corn ethanol in the final months of the year. The facility was the first of three plants in the nation to return to biofuel production after faltering as a producer of cellulosic ethanol, made from grasses, woody plants and crop residue.
During the ethanol boom of the early 2000s, Congress set an ambitious target of quadrupling the amount of renewable fuel mixed into gasoline for America's cars and pickup trucks. But while corn ethanol has lived up to its part of the plan, cleaner-burning "advanced" biofuels have been slow to come to market — two factors for the EPA to consider as it faces a regulatory reset of the Renewable Fuel Standard in the new year.
Amid reports the EPA might scale back the ethanol mandate, biofuel groups said on Tuesday there was no U.S. path to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions or lower prices at the fuel pump without homegrown ethanol. In testimony before Congress and in a letter to the White House, the trade groups …
Bakers are experiencing a "soybean oil supply crisis" of soaring prices and limited availability due in part to the land rush of investors into renewable diesel fuel, said an Ohio baking executive on Wednesday. Soy oil is a key ingredient in baked goods as well as the feedstock for making renewable diesel.
Farmers have received $4.8 billion in long-promised payments of $20 an acre on crops that range from corn, soybeans, and wheat to sorghum and sugar beets, said USDA data on Monday. It was the largest disbursement of coronavirus relief funds since the Biden administration took office.
Thanks to a rush in investment, the renewable diesel industry is in a building boom in the United States and abroad "that is very comparable, I believe, to the ethanol boom of the mid-2000s," said economist Scott Irwin of the University of Illinois on Thursday.
After slowing with the collapse of the commodity boom nearly a decade ago, the conversion of grassland to row crops is accelerating in the Great Plains of the United States and Canada, said the World Wildlife Fund.
Since it revamped its pandemic relief programs in March to "reach a broader set of producers," the Agriculture Department has committed $8.75 billion in assistance to farmers and ranchers, including $750 million for the dairy sector and up to $1 billion for contract growers of pigs and poultry. Only a few items remained on its list for implementation on Tuesday, among them $700 million for biofuel producers.
With the Biden administration and the major U.S. automakers investing heavily in electric vehicles, rural Americans — especially those connected to farming — are concerned about the future of biofuels. Given that ethanol, primarily made from corn, is blended with the gasoline that powers the vast majority of the nation’s vehicles, the prospect of replacing gasoline with electricity has enormous implications for the rural economy. In 2019, the global biofuels market amounted to over $136 billion.(No paywall)
Projects in 23 states across the nation will receive a combined $26 million to install pumps, tanks, and other equipment for selling higher-blend biofuels, said the USDA on Thursday. The projects are expected to expand the availability of higher-blend fuels by 822 million gallons annually.
The average gallon of gasoline sold during 2020 was 10.23 percent ethanol, the highest blend rate ever, said the Renewable Fuels Association. At the same time, 12.63 billion gallons of the biofuel were mixed into gasoline, the smallest amount in 11 years, declining in tandem with the reduction in travel and fuel sales that accompanied the pandemic, said the trade group.