ethanol

Biofuel groups push EPA to maximize RFS levels

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.

USDA offers $100 million for biofuel infrastructure

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).

EPA finally sets date for RFS reset

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.

Carbon pipelines face continued resistance in Iowa

A group of farmers and climate change activists attended the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) meeting in Des Moines last week and demanded the board vote against using eminent domain to acquire land for several proposed carbon pipeline projects.

Global demand for biofuels to slow in decade ahead, says forecast

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.

House votes to create USDA meat investigator

Over the objections of Republicans, the House passed legislation on Thursday to create a USDA special investigator to enforce fair-play rules in the highly concentrated meatpacking industry. It was the most significant livestock marketing reform to advance in Congress this session.

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.

EPA to propose 2023 ethanol mandate within four months

The trade group Growth Energy sued the EPA last month because it was far behind schedule in setting the ethanol mandate for 2023, the first year the agency has a free hand in drafting the regulation. A consent decree, if approved, would resolve the complaint and oblige the EPA to propose the renewable fuel program by Sept. 16 and finalize it by April 23, 2023.

Biden restores summer sales of E15, a farm-state goal

The EPA will issue an emergency waiver allowing sales of E15 — gasoline that is 15 percent corn ethanol — this summer, announced President Biden on Tuesday, ahead of a trip to Iowa, the No. 1 corn- and ethanol-producing state. The step will save motorists up to 10 cents a gallon on surging gasoline prices and aid the rural economy, said the White House.

EPA rejects 36 small-refiner exemptions from biofuel mandate

Facing a court-ordered deadline for action, the Environmental Protection Agency denied on Thursday 36 requests by small refiners for "hardship" exemptions from the U.S. ethanol mandate. Biofuel and farm groups lamented the decision "fails to remedy the economic harms" of reduced demand for corn ethanol.

Sales of E15 surge by 62 percent, says trade group

The recovering U.S. economy, aided by wider availability of the fuel, helped boost sales of E15 — gasoline that contains 15 percent ethanol — to a record 814 million gallons in 2021, said the Renewable Fuels Association on Wednesday. Sales were 62 percent higher than the 504 million gallons sold in 2020, according to RFA estimates.

Ethanol likely worse than gasoline for carbon emissions, say researchers

The Renewable Fuel Standard, which guarantees corn ethanol and other biofuels a share of the U.S. gasoline market, results in the release of at least as much carbon "and likely at least 24 percent higher" greenhouse gas emissions than the petroleum it displaced, say scientists who studied the program's first eight years.

Ethanol producers to electric car makers: We’re greener than you are

With automakers shifting toward the production of electric cars and trucks, the ethanol industry said on Wednesday that biofuels will be an important tool against global warming, and arguably create less pollution than battery-powered vehicles. The comparison was based on life-cycle costs for the power sources, starting at power stations for electricity and corn fields for ethanol.

Supreme Court rejects bid for year-round E15 sales

The Supreme Court, without comment, refused to hear an ethanol industry appeal to reinstate year-round sales of E15, gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol. A federal appeals court ruled last July that the EPA, acting at the direction of then-President Trump, exceeded its authority in approving summertime sales of E15 in 2019.

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.

Ambitious ‘biofuel America’ plan faces overhaul in 2022

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.

Biofuels sector rankled although EPA proposes highest ethanol mandate ever

The Biden administration said it would set the ethanol mandate at its highest level ever in 2022 and reject 65 requests from small refineries for exemptions from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Both were welcome steps for biofuel backers, but they rebelled at companion proposals to retroactively set the RFS for 2020 and this year below the maximum possible — "a betrayal" of rural America, said a Nebraska senator.

Vilsack says USDA and White House close to deal on biofuel aid

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the administration appeared "very close" to releasing a long-promised $700 million in pandemic aid to biofuel producers. The aid was announced in March as part of a remodeling of coronavirus relief programs by the incoming administration.

USDA awards $26 million for higher-blend biofuel infrastructure

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.

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