corn ethanol

Less corn land is needed than soy to satisfy SAF goal

Soybean plantings would have to increase nearly 50 percent if soybean oil became the only feedstock for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), said two analysts from UC-Davis. With its higher yields per acre, corn ethanol as the sole feedstock would result in an increase in area of around 9 percent.

Ethanol is just inefficient solar energy. Time to bring the real thing to Iowa.

In FERN’s latest story, published with The New Republic, Tom Philpott makes the case for replacing corn grown for ethanol, in Iowa and elsewhere, with fields of solar panels. “For all the backbiting and vitriol, the main candidates in the recent Iowa GOP presidential caucus agreed on a lot …

Ethanol stands out in nationalized campaigning in Iowa

Republican presidential candidates pledged allegiance to corn ethanol ahead of the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses in a contest dominated by former president Donald Trump and his personality. There was little room for any farm policy debate in an effectively nationalized campaign.

A bee researcher’s bees kept dying. The culprit was a nearby ethanol plant.

In FERN's latest piece, and the last from our special food issue with Switchyard magazine, reporter Dan Charles takes us through an agricultural mystery that leads, disturbingly, to a regulatory failure that threatens bees and other pollinators still today.

Navigator cancels Midwest carbon pipeline

Navigator CO2 said it canceled its 1,350-mile carbon pipeline because of "unpredictable ... regulatory and government processes" in the five Midwestern states the pipeline would cross. The Heartland Greenway pipeline was among three projects proposed to capture carbon dioxide, mainly from ethanol plants, and transport it through pipelines for injection thousands of feet underground.

Playing corn ethanol as Trump card in Iowa

Former president Donald Trump, ignoring his own mixed record on biofuels, said at a rally in western Iowa that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, his most viable challenger for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, "totally despises Iowa ethanol and ethanol generally."

With eye on second-generation biofuels, EPA proposes 10 percent increase in RFS

The EPA proposed a 10 percent increase, mostly reserved for cleaner-burning “advanced” biofuels, over three years in the federal mandate to mix biofuels into the U.S. gasoline supply, and said it would expand the Renewable Fuel Standard to include electricity generated from biogas and used in electric vehicles. The proposal, announced Thursday, would mean greater use of E15 and other blends of corn ethanol above the traditional 10 percent, said ethanol groups.

Are Iowa’s proposed CO2 pipelines a legitimate climate mitigation tool?

Iowa environmentalists say the plan to build three pipelines to move liquified carbon dioxide — collected from the smokestacks of ethanol refineries — to North Dakota and Illinois, where the carbon would be pumped underground, will simply prop up the fossil fuel industry and shower their agribusiness investors with tax credits.

Highest-ever ethanol mandate will boost homegrown biofuels, says EPA

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.

Cellulosic ethanol plant is retooled for renewable natural gas

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.

To reduce carbon emissions, use more ethanol, says biofuel group

The EPA should rewrite the Renewable Fuel Standard to give corn ethanol a larger share of the gasoline market in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks quickly, said the head of the Renewable Fuels Association on Tuesday. "As the only existing federal law on the books today that requires the use of lower-carbon renewable fuels, the RFS should continue to serve as the bedrock for our nation's decarbonization efforts," said Geoff Cooper, RFA chief executive.

Iowa Sen. Grassley runs for eighth Senate term

While many Republicans were swamped by the Watergate tide, Republican Chuck Grassley won election to the House in 1974 and will surpass half a century in Congress if elected to his eighth Senate term in 2022. Grassley announced for re-election on Friday and is regarded as the heavy favorite by political handicappers.

Opinion: The sustainable-energy future has room for biofuels as well as electric vehicles

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)

Higher blends and exports to carry ethanol out of pandemic

U.S. ethanol production plunged 13 percent last year due to the pandemic, costing the industry around $4 billion in sales. But it may recover fully by 2023, on the strength of larger exports and rising domestic use of higher blends of ethanol into gasoline, said the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute.

Ethanol and China are flash points for Trump and Biden campaigns

President Trump "sold out ethanol to Big Oil" by handing out dozens of exemptions from the ethanol mandate, said Iowa farmer Pam Johnson, speaking for the Biden campaign, during a discussion of the agricultural platforms of the presidential candidates on Tuesday. "We haven't abandoned the RFS and we aren't going to — ever," retorted Trump representative Sam Clovis.

Siding with farmers, Trump tells EPA to deny retroactive biofuel waiver requests

With an eye toward shoring up Farm Belt support less than two months before the election, President Trump directed the EPA to deny dozens of oil refiner requests for retroactive waivers from U.S. biofuel laws, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

Worst may be over, says ethanol leader

Ethanol production fell to record lows during April due to the coronavirus but is showing modest signs of recovery, said Geoff Cooper, chief executive of the Renewable Fuels Association. "It seems that the worst may be behind us," Cooper said during a teleconference.(No paywall)

USDA offers $100 million to boost higher blends of biofuels

Grants totaling $100 million will be available to install or retrofit fuel pumps and storage tanks to handle higher blends of corn ethanol and biodiesel than now commonly offered, said the USDA, with details to be available by mid-spring. "USDA will continue to do its part to encourage the use of home-grown energy," said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.

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