‘Focus on the future’ of ethanol, leaders say

As has so often been the case, the biofuels industry is facing some good news and some bad news from Washington, D.C., according to industry leaders gathered for the Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit.

“We cannot focus on that frustration (with Washington, D.C.),” said Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association. “We have to focus on the future.”

That future could include items such as wider use of E15 blends for ethanol and B20 blends for biodiesel. It could include sustainable aviation fuel or renewable fuel for trains and ships.

And at the present, the fact that people are driving again after doing very little driving in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic is good news.

Still, there are challenges. The Biden administration, like others before, has presented a mixed bag on biofuel issues.

The COVID relief bill provided dollars for renewables. In early December, the administration issued its proposal for the Renewable Fuels Standard and it included a 15 billion gallon figure for 2022, the first time any administration had proposed sticking to the RFS number.

But it proposed a lower number for 2021, a minor disappointment. And it proposed lowering the 2020 figure which was already supposed to be final.

The administration did make one very good move, biofuel supporters say, by denying small refinery waivers across the board. That was a departure from the Trump administration approach. But it also continually stressed electric vehicles, and the infrastructure bill didn’t include money for renewables. The proposed Build Back Better bill did not originally include money for renewables, but farm state lawmakers pushed to include $1 billion for renewables in that bill.

Lawmakers from Iowa and neighboring Midwestern states provided strong, bipartisan support, Shaw and other industry leaders said they think it is possible the Build Back Better Act is not dead and that there could be some compromise on it in 2022. That compromise likely would include the renewable money.

“It will be pared down,” said Donnell Rehagen, chief executive officer of Clean Fuels Alliance America (formerly the National Biodiesel Board).

Ideas such as carbon sequestration also hold some promise, according to Devin Mogler, president of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, who said the idea had “huge potential.”

And the idea of sustainable aviation fuel also has potential.

“We can’t do that today,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. “But to get there we need to have a strong industry today.”

Source: https://www.agupdate.com/

Tags: Biofuels, Blends, Renewable, RFA
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