Tag Archives: ethanol

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced the exemption of 31 refineries from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) biofuel-blending requirements. Yesterday, Congressman Roger Marshall, M.D., sent a bipartisan letter to the Government Accountability Office formally calling for an investigation into the granting of the Small Refinery Exemptions (SRE) and issued the following statement:

“As Co-Chair of the House Biofuels Caucus, I have a firm commitment to the Kansas farmers, renewable fuel producers, and rural communities which rely on the biofuels industry. I’ve heard from many constituents and local communities about these exemptions, and I share their concerns about the negative impact they will have on our state,” Dr. Marshall said. “Eight of Kansas’ ten ethanol plants are in the Big First District, and combined produce more than 500 million gallons of renewable fuel using corn and sorghum. This move also hurts biogas production facilities, which qualify as a cellulosic renewable fuel. Exempting these 31 small refineries from their RFS obligations – especially if they do not reallocate the renewable fuel gallons to other obligated parties – will be devastating to communities across Kansas.”

“In defense of these farmers and rural communities, yesterday, I joined a number of my Congressional colleagues in writing to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, requesting they examine and review the EPA’s approval of exemption waivers for these 31 refineries. We’re also requesting a review of the Department of Energy’s viability scores, a determination of the economic hardship on a small refinery’s compliance with the RFS, which are considered by the EPA when making exemption determinations,” Dr. Marshall said. “We need a comprehensive review of the EPA’s process for determining refinery exemptions in order to provide transparency. The biofuels industry is vital to the economic health of rural communities in Kansas. We must, at the very least, understand how these exemption determinations were reached.”

LINCOLN, Neb. – The Nebraska Corn Board (NCB) is now accepting applications to participate in its Blender Pump Grant Program. Through this program, fuel retailers have an opportunity to receive up to $50,000 to help with the installation of blender pumps capable of offering higher ethanol blends.

“With the allowance of year-round sales of E15, frequently known as Unleaded88, retailers have the unique opportunity to invest in infrastructure to offer consumers a more economical and environmentally-friendly option at the pump,” said Jeff Wilkerson, director of market development with the Nebraska Corn Board.

Blender pumps make it possible for retailers to offer multiple blends of American Ethanol. The grants can be used on the costs of the pumps themselves or other necessary equipment or hardware needed to offer higher blends of ethanol fuel. By offering increased ethanol blends, fueling stations have a competitive advantage in the marketplace and are able to better serve motorists driving flex fuel vehicles. This program does not require the retailer to upgrade all pumps in order to qualify. Awarded stations must offer two higher blends of ethanol and maintain these pumps for at least two years.

Common blends of higher ethanol include Unleaded88 (E15) which can be used year-round in all vehicles model year 2001 and newer, E30 (a 30% ethanol blend) or E85 (an 85% ethanol blend). Higher blends of ethanol above E15, such as E30 to E85, are approved for flex fuel vehicles only.

“A retailer’s cost to install a blender pump can vary dramatically, but with this grant program, we can help offset some of the costs, making the conversion process much more economical,” said Wilkerson.

More information on NCB’s Blender Pump Grant Program can be found online at nebraskacorn.gov/grantprogram. Preference will be given to areas underserved by higher ethanol blends and potential traffic flow. Applications are due by 5:00 p.m. CT on Friday, Oct. 11. Approved applicants will be notified by the end of November.

The Nebraska Corn Board is funded through a producer checkoff investment of ½-cent-per-bushel checkoff on all corn marketed in the state and is managed by nine farmer directors. The mission of the Nebraska Corn Board is to promote the value of corn by creating opportunities.

 

President Donald Trump this week asked cabinet members to appease farmers angry over small refinery waivers. Following a rash of blowback from ethanol and commodity groups, Trump held a meeting to find a solution.

Representatives from the Departments of Energy and Agriculture, along with the Environmental Protection Agency attended a two-hour meeting Monday on the subject, according to Reuters. However, no clear action has been identified so far. The EPA has received 42 requests for small-refiner exemptions for 2018, while there are only 48 classified small refineries in the United States. The waivers exempt refineries from provisions in the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Farmers argue that reallocating the exempted gallons of biofuel would be a good start in addressing the issue. The National Corn Growers Association says the waived volume now accounts for 4.04 billion ethanol gallons. NCGA President Lynn Chrisp says, “waivers reduce demand for ethanol, lower the value of our crop and undermine the President’s support for America’s farmers.”

The American Coalition for Ethanol held its annual conference in Omaha, Neb., Aug. 14-17. A DTN report says ACE CEO Brian Jennings made an interesting proclamation to the rest of his industry, which is currently on the ropes. Jennings asked members of the ethanol industry to look to the future and to not stand on the sideline while the Environmental Protection Agency continues to grant small refinery waivers to Renewable Fuels Standard requirements.

The EPA has now granted enough waivers to total more than four billion gallons of lost ethanol demand in just three years. While all that is happening, a potential 3-billion-gallon export market in China is closed to U.S. producers. That’s going on while doubt about the future of the RFS continues to grow outside the ethanol industry.

“The ethanol industry isn’t doing enough in response to quell some of those concerns. We have to turn up the volume,” he said.

The president directed USDA and EPA to review the waiver program this year, making ethanol believe Trump was aware of the problem. However, the EPA recently announced it had granted another 31 small-refinery exemptions and denied only six for 2018.

Jennings added now is the time for the industry to “get angry” and speak up about the harm the EPA is doing to an industry that would be in a much better place without the EPA’s actions.

LINCOLN, Neb. — On Aug. 9, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced they granted 31 small refinery biofuel waivers for 2018. This follows the 54 waivers the Trump Administration granted in 2016 and 2017, which caused 2.6 billion gallons of demand destruction. These new waivers add another loss of 1.4 billion gallons, for a total loss of 4 billion gallons.

“Over the past two years, the EPA has granted hardship waivers to refineries owned by companies like Exxon Mobil and Chevron,” said Roger Berry, Nebraska Ethanol Board administrator. “Their continued handouts to the oil industry comes during a time when heartland farmers are really struggling due to depressed commodity prices, flooding and trade wars. Securing access and demand for homegrown, cleaner-burning biofuels should be top priority from an economic and environmental standpoint, not destroying the marketplace program the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was created for.”

Berry urges everyone to show their continued support for the RFS. American Coalition for Ethanol highlights the many benefits of the RFS: it’s a program that saves American families hundreds of dollars a year in gasoline purchases; has deterred more than $40 billion in foreign oil purchases thus far; reduces lifecycle greenhouse gases emissions by 42 percent; and serves as a catalyst for technology innovation and private-sector investment in advanced biofuels.

The EPA released proposed 2020 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) for the RFS and is accepting comments on the proposal until Aug. 30, 2019. The public is invited to engage and make their voices heard regarding the proposed rule here.

“Exempting refiners from blending their obligated share of ethanol directly undermines demand for the quality fuel produced by our hard working farmers and the 1,400 Nebraskans directly employed in the ethanol industry,” Berry said. “I urge all who care about access to cleaner-burning fuel to contact your members of Congress to call for immediate action and submit your comments by Aug. 30. State the need to reallocate the 4 billion lost gallons in the 2020 RVOs.”

U.S. ethanol exports increased to 128.4 million gallons (mg) in June, according to data issued by the government and analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA). This was a 29% jump from May.

Canada was the top destination for the second consecutive month, with a 28% increase in sales at 29.5 mg of ethanol. Shipments to Brazil nearly tripled in June to 28.0 mg, up 164% after sales plummeted 74% in May. India was the third-largest destination at 21.9 mg, a 52% gain over the prior month. Other top importers of American ethanol included South Korea (6.8 mg, down 24%), Colombia (6.8 mg, down 25%), Oman (6.3 mg), and Peru (6.1 mg). Total exports for the first half of the year stand at 759.9 mg—19% lower than the first six months of 2018. This implies an annualized export volume of 1.52 billion gallons which, if realized, would be the second-largest volume on record.

June shipments of U.S. undenatured fuel ethanol were 64.0 mg, a gain of 31% following a drop in May. Sales to our two largest customers, Brazil (25.6 mg, up 15 mg) and India (18.9 mg, up 4.5 mg), improved by an average of 78% in June and accounted for 70% of our global market for undenatured fuel. Other key destinations were Spain (5.8 mg) and Mexico (3.5 mg).

U.S. exports of denatured fuel ethanol experienced a 16% upturn in June at 53.5 mg. This includes a 30% bump in sales to Canada at 28.1 mg, which accounted for half of American product exported. Oman (6.3 mg), Peru (6.1 mg), and Colombia (6.0 mg) were other major markets.

U.S. sales of ethanol for non-fuel, non-beverage purposes rallied in June as 10.9 mg entered the global marketplace, over 6 mg above May volumes. U.S. shippers exported 7.1 mg of undenatured product, with the bulk distributed to Brazil (2.4 mg), Saudi Arabia (2.1 mg), South Korea, Colombia, and Canada. India (3.0 mg) sourced most exported denatured product for non-fuel, non-beverage purposes.

The U.S. imported 24.0 mg of undenatured fuel ethanol from Brazil in June. This was the largest monthly volume of foreign ethanol to enter the U.S. since Aug. 2018. Total imports for the first half of the year stand at 47.9 mg, compared to 1.6 mg the first six months of 2018. This implies an annualized import volume of 95.7 mg for 2019 which, if realized, would represent the largest volume in six years.

U.S. exports of dried distillers grains (DDGS), the animal feed co-product generated by dry-mill ethanol plants, pared back 6% to 962,592 metric tons (mt) in June after experiencing a jump the prior month. Mexico was again the top customer despite a 29% decline in sales, purchasing 162,887 mt. DDGS exports to Vietnam shot 37% higher to a seven-month high of 125,523 mt. Other key customers were South Korea (114,564 mt, up 4%), Indonesia (82,334 mt, up 10%), Canada (71,384 mt, up 20%), and Turkey (71,326 mt, down 39%). Shipments to these six top markets represented two-thirds of all global sales, with remaining volumes distributed among another 30 countries. U.S. distillers grains exports for the first half of 2019 stand at 5.35 million mt—5% lower than the first six months of 2018. This implies an annualized export volume of 10.70 million mt.

 

 

Sioux Falls, SD (July 31, 2019) – The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Communications Director Katie Fletcher testified today during the public hearing in Ypsilanti, Michigan, on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) for the 2020 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

Fletcher’s testimony highlighted some points which will be detailed in ACE’s written comments to the proposed rule, including (1) the difference between EPA’s proposed 2020 RVO and the real-world effect small refinery exemptions (SREs) have on RFS blending obligations; (2) the need for EPA to reallocate gallons waived for SREs and restore the 500 million gallons unlawfully waived from 2016; and (3) the economic hardship facing farmers and U.S. ethanol facilities.

“The proposed 2020 RVO marks the second compliance year EPA is professing to follow statutory volumes on paper but, in reality, is allowing refiners to escape their lawful responsibility to blend renewable fuel with the petroleum products they make.

“The severity of demand destruction from EPA’s use of SREs is a topic of debate, but it is without question year-over-year domestic ethanol use declined in 2018 for the first time since 1998, falling from 14.49 billion gallons in 2017 to 14.38 billion gallons in 2018. The national ethanol blend rate retreated from 10.13 percent in 2017 to 10.07 percent in 2018. ACE members are convinced EPA refinery waivers contributed to these historic setbacks.

“We are grateful EPA finalized the rule extending the 1-psi Reid vapor pressure waiver for E15, but the net effect of this final rule without reallocating waived gallons means we are still “in the hole” from an RFS demand perspective.

“For EPA’s proposal to blatantly ignore the court order based on the ‘retroactive nature of an increase in the volume requirement’ and the ‘additional burden that such an increase would place on obligated parties’ undermines the integrity of the RFS and flies in the face of Congressional intent.

“EPA’s mismanagement of the RFS has placed an artificial lid on domestic ethanol demand causing dozens of ethanol plants to consider slowing production or shutting down.”

EPA’s refusal to address the SRE issue in this proposed rulemaking, or in the 13 months prior to ACE’s and other parties’ June 2018 petition to EPA to account for lost volumes of renewable fuel resulting from the unprecedented number of retroactive SREs, is why late yesterday we asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to lift a stay it placed on our joint 2018 petition and restart the proceedings.

EPA’s comment period on the proposed RVOs closes on August 30, and ACE encourages industry advocates to utilize its Legislative Action Center to submit comments.