Jason Barton

Professional Information and Energy News

Archive for the ‘Renewable Fuel Standards’ tag

EPA Proposes Increased Bureaucracy

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Is this proposed legislation going to improve working conditions or environmental impact at sugarcane and ethanol production facilities, or is it just more paperwork? I’ve written extensively on this site and in my doctoral dissertation about these issues, as well double fuel pumpsas related policies, but it’s not clear the intent of the proposed legislation. Whatever it is, demand for imported ethanol has taken various swings over the last few years, not due to natural factors, but due to the EPA’s decisions.

When the US EPA allowed Brazilian sugarcane ethanol to meet the “advanced biofuels” requirement in 2010, it certified, according to their analysis, that cane ethanol reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 50% (61%) over traditional, petroleum gasoline. This comes after much debate regarding the actual GHG emissions from sugarcane, corn, and cellulosic ethanol.

When the EPA made their decision on this debate, it significantly increased demand for Brazilian cane ethanol as US refiners worked to meet the advanced biofuel mandate. The EPA, however, lowered the volume on this mandate due to lagging development of domestic, cellulosic ethanol that would also satisfy the advanced mandate.

Now, according to the article below, that increased demand could be dampened, and the number of producers reduced to only the largest players, as meeting the new reporting requirements increases transactions costs. Policy fluctuations like these have made it very difficult for investors in Brazil since the prices they earn for their product are not subject to natural factors of supply and demand, but due to the whims of bureaucrats in Washington.

Reuters

 

 

 

By Cezary Podkul

NEW YORK, July 12 | Fri Jul 12, 2013 10:13pm BST

 

(Reuters) – Importing cheap Brazilian ethanol into the United States could become much less profitable next year if a proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency to expand tough documentation and transportation rules to non-U.S. producers takes effect.

The proposal, made on June 14, could seriously disrupt a signature Latin American energy trade, triggering auditing, documentation and transportation requirements, including physically separating U.S. ethanol imports from each other until those requirements are met.

Read the entire article here.

 

 

New Biofuels Strategy and EPA Policy: Promote Clean Energy & Green Jobs

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I agree with Mr. Dineen that there is great promise in second generation technologies such as cellulosic biofuels, and other technologies on the horizon, such as the drop in replacements for gasoline that he mentions later in the article. But I do not agree that the current, high-input, industrial production of corn in the U.S. is a system that should continue, for biofuels or any other purpose. Runoff from nitrogen fertilizers in the Midwest causes tremendous damage to the Gulf of Mexico, creating a hypoxic zone that hurts fishing industries there as well as human health along the Mississippi River Basin. Not only is its production causing considerable damage, its main end uses–as feed for cattle that are not meant to eat grain, or processed into high fructose corn syrup and other products for people–are not healthy in their consumption.

While some have argued that corn serves as a necessary bridge to biofuels feedstocks that do not compete with food or even agricultural land, I see no reason why those technologies cannot continue to be developed in the absence of a corn ethanol industry. The Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) Dineen discusses mandate increasing amounts of ethanol from these advanced feedstocks, though it is doubtful that we will be able to meet the 2010 standards, the first year that they take effect, of 100 million gallons. Those involved in the corn ethanol supply chain would be more than happy to have that standard waived, allowing those 100 million gallons to be supplied with their product. This does nothing to move us closer to thoseĀ  biofuels that do not compete with the food supply or even prime agricultural land, are much healthier for the environment, and create more jobs in rural America.

Bob Dinneen

President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA)

Posted: February 4, 2010 06:42 PM

With two important policy announcements, the Obama Administration is putting the nation on track to increase its production and use of clean-burning, American-made biofuels.

That’s good news for all Americans who care about protecting the environment, combating climate change, generating good-paying jobs, reviving rural communities, and reducing our dependence on imported petroleum.

[…]

Second, the Administration understands that the nation needs every proven or promising biofuels technology, from existing corn ethanol to the newer cellulosic (non-grain-based) technologies and the most visionary “next generation” technologies. New or old, we need them all. Yes, it is essential that all the newer technologies – from those closest to fruition to those that are still years from commercialization – have every opportunity to succeed.

Read the entire article here.

EPA biofuels guidelines could spur production of ethanol from corn

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Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 4, 2010

An employee checks a storage tank at a biodiesel plant in Aberdeen, Wash. EPA standards could lift production of corn-based ethanol. (Carlos Javier Sasnchez/bloomberg News)

The nation’s farmers got a big boost Wednesday when the Obama administration issued new biofuels guidelines that could open the way for large increases in the production of corn-based ethanol.

The Environmental Protection Agency said new data showed that, even after taking into account increased fertilizer and land use, corn-based ethanol can yield significant climate benefits by displacing conventional gasoline or diesel fuel.