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State Renewable Energy Growth Rankings Released (Ind. Report)
Smart Asset
Date: 2019-10-21
In a recent state-by-state report on renewable energy activity, Smart Asset found the overall nationwide growth in renewable energy production has generally increased.

More specifically, the report found While West Virginia's renewable energy production decreased from 2013 to 2017 -- one of only nine states for which that is the case. The remaining 41 states all increased renewable energy production over that time period, and the average increase in production across all states is greater than 25 pct.

California, Rhode Island, Oregon, Arizona, North Carolina, New York, Iowa, Minnesota, Massachusetts and Nevada are the top 10 in that order while southern states -- Arkansas, Delaware, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, Alabama and West Virginia -- dominate the bottom 10.

In determining its ranking, the report considered: renewable output as a percentage of total energy production; 5-year change in renewable energy output; per-capita carbon emissions; 5-year change in carbon emissions; number of policies and incentives encouraging renewable energy development; total USDA energy investments; and average USDA funding per program. (Source: Smart Asset 10.14.2019, VermontBiz, 16 Oct., 2019)Contact: Smart Asset, www.smartasset.com

More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Energy,  


Trump administration reaches regulatory deal on Renewable Fuel Standard
EPA,RFS
Date: 2019-10-09
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue announced that President Donald Trump is promoting a new Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Under the agreement, the following actions will be undertaken by EPA and USDA. In a forthcoming supplemental notice building off the recently proposed 2020 Renewable Volume Standards and the Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2021, EPA will propose and request public comment on expanding biofuel requirements beginning in 2020. EPA will seek comment on actions to ensure that more than 15 billion gallons of conventional ethanol be blended into the nation’s fuel supply beginning in 2020, and that the volume obligation for biomass-based diesel is met. This will include accounting for relief expected to be provided for small refineries; the EPA intends to take final action on this front later this year. In the most recent compliance year, EPA granted 31 small refinery exemptions. Building on the president’s earlier decision to allow year-round sales of E15, EPA will initiate a rule making process to streamline labeling and remove other barriers to the sale of E15; EPA will continue to evaluate options for RIN market transparency and reform; and USDA will seek opportunities through the budget process to consider infrastructure projects to facilitate higher biofuel blends. (Source: Talk Business & Politics , 7 Oct., 2019)

More Low-Carbon Energy News Trump. RFS news,  Renewable Fuel Standard news,  "Hardship" Waiver news,  


WSU Research Contributes to Aviation Biofuel Project (Ind. Report)
Washington State University,GEVO
Date: 2019-10-07
Northwest Advanced Bio-Fuels, LLC (NWABF) reports it is working with Washington State University's Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA), a project that established the availability and sustainability of woody biomass/forest residues as a feedstock for the production of aviation biofuels using Boulder, Colorado-based GEVO technology, The planned biorefinery, which is expected to go into production in 2023, would be constructed at Aberdeen, Washington.

As previously reported, Delta Air Lines, in partnership with NWABF, is investing $2 million to assess the biofuel refinery project's feasibility. Additionally, the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture funded NARA with $39.5 million over 5-years. (Source: Northwest Advanced Bio-Fuels, LLC (NWABF), Washington State Univ. Evergreen, 3 Oct., 2019) Contact: Washington State University, NARA, Ralph Cavalieri, (509) 335-5581, cavalieri@wsu.edu, www.nararenewables.org; Northwest Advanced Bio-Fuels, LLC Chris Whitworth,Dir. Project Dev., www.facebook.com/NWABiofuels; Gevo, Patrick Gruber, CEO, 303-858-8358, pgruber@gevo.com, www.gevo.com

More Low-Carbon Energy News GEVO,  Aviation Biofuel,  Woody Biomass,  


EPA, USDA Agree to 15Bn Gal. Ethanol Blend Minimum (Ind. Report)
US EPA, USDA, Renewable Duel Standard
Date: 2019-10-07
On Friday in Washington, the Trump administration U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a long awaited agreement on the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) and will now request public comment on expanding biofuel requirements beginning in 2020.

The agreement will ensure the blending of 15 billion gallons of ethanol with fuel supplies starting in 2020 and will also ensure the biomass-based diesel volume is met. EPA will also start the process for streamlining labeling and removal of other barriers for the sale of E15 fuel.

Among other changes, the EPA will begin to account for projected numbers of gallons exempted when coming up with Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) for refiners, which means greater certainty for farmers and producers. It will ensure that more than 15 billion gallons of conventional ethanol are blended into the nation's fuel supply starting in 2020. Additionally, the USDA will invest in infrastructure projects to facilitate higher blends of biofuel, such as E85. (Source: US EPA, McDonough County Voice, Various Other Media, 4 Oct., 2019)

More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Biofuel,  Ethanol Blend,  USDA,  US DOE,  


WIU Funded for Pennycress Biofuel Research (Ind. Report, Funding)
Western Illinois University
Date: 2019-09-18
Western Illinois University (WIU) reports agriculture professor Win Phippen has been awarded a $10 million USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant to investigate the use of pennycress as a new cash cover crop and biofuels feedstock.

Researchers from Illinois State University, the Ohio State University, the University of Wisconsin at Platteville and the University of Minnesota will join Phippen's team.

The integrated pennycress crop program will focus on improving pennycress genetics for plant breeding and preservation, agronomic management, ecosystems and supply chain management for post-harvest seed control, with the goal of commercially launching pennycress as a cash cover and biofuels crop in 2021. St. Louis-based CoverCress Inc. is working closely with Phippen and his team for some of the breeding and post-production side of the research.

The end goal is to produce 50 billion gallons of biofuel in the next 25 years. (Source: Western Illinois University, Journal-Courier, 18 Sept., 2019) Contact: Western Illinois University, Prof. Win Phippen, (309) 298-1251, WB-Phippen@wiu.edu; CoverCress Inc., Funded for www.covercress.com; USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, https://nifa.usda.gov

More Low-Carbon Energy News Pennycress news,  Biofuel news,  


Delta Invests $2Mn in Forest Biomass Biofuel Study (Ind. Report)
Delta Air Lines,Northwest Advanced Bio-fuels
Date: 2019-09-18
U.S. air carrier Delta Air Lines reports it is partnering with Northwest Advanced Bio-fuels (NWABF) for a $2 million study to determine the feasibility of building a facility in Washington State to produce sustainable aviation fuel and other biofuel products.

The facility would utilize forestry waste and wood "slash" to produce sustainable fuels. The result would qualify under an approved carbon-reducing pathway recognized by the American Society of Testing and Materials.

Delta expects the study to be completed by the middle of 2020, at which time it will "evaluate the next steps in moving forward with the project's development" with the expectation that the project would be in production by the end of 2023. Biofuels produced at the facility could provide around 10 pct of the airline's annual jet fuel consumption in the West Coast region.

As previously reported, Delta operated its first carbon-neutral delivery flight, using biofuels on a new A321. The airline also purchases offsets for domestic flights into and out of seven high-traffic airports. (Source: Delta, Air Travel, Sept., 2019) Contact: Delta, Graeme Burnett, VP Fuel Management, www.delta.com; Northwest Advanced Bio-fuels, Dave Smoot, www.nifa.usda.gov

More Low-Carbon Energy News Woody Biomass,  Biofuel,  Aviation Biofuel,  Delta Air Lines,  


USDA REAP Announces Rural Energy Grant Funding (Funding)
USDA, REAP
Date: 2019-08-30
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) reports it will award a total of $9.3 million in grant funding for energy costs reduction to farmers, ag producers, rural-based businesses and institutions in 49 states and Puerto Rico.

Congress appropriated $50 million for REAP grants and loan guarantees in fiscal year 2019. REAP funding can be used for energy audits, renewable energy systems including biomass, geothermal, solar, hydropower biomass and others as well as energy efficiency upgrades such as HVAC energy efficiency improvements, insulation, lighting and refrigeration. (Source: USDA, Farm & Dairy, 29 Aug., 2019) Contact: USDA, (202) 690-4730, (f) 202-690-4737, www.rd.usda.gov; REAP, www.rurdev.usda.gov

More Low-Carbon Energy News USDA,  Renewable Energy,  Energy Efficiency,  REAP,  


Sonny Says Trump Will Take Action on Ethanol Waivers -- Whatever That Means? (Ind. Report)
RFS,Sonny Perdue
Date: 2019-08-30
Speaking Wednesday in Decatur, Illinois -- corn country -- U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said President Trump will "take action to soften the effects of oil refinery exceptions for blending corn-based ethanol in motor fuel." It is "disappointing" that the Trump EPA granted the waivers, Sec. Perdue added.

Perdue either couldn't or wouldn't say what action the president will or might take, but noted that Trump believes the EPA waivers were "way overdone." Ethanol advocates contend that oil refinery waivers have reduced ethanol production by 2.6 billion gallons since Trump moved into the White House.

When grilled on the Trump administration's biofuels, trade and Renewable Fuel Standard and related policies Perdue replied "EPA will continue to consult with our federal partners on the best path forward to ensure stability in the Renewable Fuel Standard. The president will always seek to engage with stakeholders to achieve wins for the agriculture and energy sectors." So sayeth Sonny!(Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, CBS, Various Media, 28 Aug., 2019) Contact: Office of US Sec of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, (202) 720-2791, feedback@oc.usda.gov, www.usda.gov, twitter.com/SecretarySonny

More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  "Hardship" Waivers,  Ethanol,  Sonny Perdue,  Trump,  


USDA Invests in Energy Efficiency Improvements ... Seven Businesses In New Mexico Among Recipients
USDA Rural Development
Date: 2019-08-25
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rural Business-Cooperative Service Administrator Bette Brand has announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is awarding grants for projects in all states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to reduce energy costs for farmers, ag producers and rural-based businesses and institutions. Under today’s announcement, USDA is investing $9.3 million through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects across the nation. Congress appropriated $50 million for REAP grants and loan guarantees in fiscal year 2019. USDA will make additional funding announcements in the REAP program in coming weeks. Recipients can use REAP funding for a variety of needs, such as conducting energy audits and installing renewable energy systems such as biomass, geothermal, hydropower and solar. Funds also can be used to make energy efficiency improvements to heating, ventilation and cooling systems; insulation; and lighting and refrigeration. This announcement includes, seven businesses in rural New Mexico that received funding to purchase energy saving systems. Listed below are the REAP investments made for seven rural businesses in rural New Mexico: • CIA Inc. an insurance company in Ruidoso will receive $9,236 to install a solar array system at that company's building, which will save $1,849 in the company's electric bill every year. • Conley's Lumber Mill in Española will receive $7,897 to install a solar array system at the lumber mill. By installing the solar power system, the company will save $1,857 per year in electricity, which is a 100 percent of the electricity used by the lumber mill for its business. • Four Peaks Energy LLC of Sunland Park will receive $20,000 to upgrade its lighting, HVAC system, and Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) (connected to motors) insulation upgrades, and an environmental shade screen at the Camino Real Landfill Facility. This project will save $17,638 per year in electricity costs. • Pamela N. MacArthur of Rancho De Taos will receive $2,811 to install a solar array system for her horse boarding facility. The solar array will save $529 per year in electricity costs, which is equal to 103 percent of the yearly energy usage for the business. • Joseph J. Mathieu of Deming will receive $7,500 to install LED lighting and energy efficient windows at his Denny’s Restaurant. By installing the energy efficient systems $9,987 in electricity will be saved yearly. • Roxie Properties LLC of Santa Rosa will receive $18,711 to install a solar array system at the El Rancho Motel. The new solar power array will save $5,122 per year in electricity costs for the business. • Taos Veterinary Clinic PC of Taos will receive $ 11,021 to install a solar array system. By installing the solar panels, the business will save $3,796 per year in electricity or a 103 percent of the electricity used by the veterinary clinic.

To view the report in its entirety, view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB). USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. (Source: USDA, 25 Aug., 2019) Contact: USDA Rural Development, www.rd.usda.gov

More Low-Carbon Energy News USDA Rural Development news,  Energy Efficiency news,  


USDA Reports on Argentinian Ethanol, Biodiesel Production (Int'l.)
USDA
Date: 2019-08-09
The USDA is reporting Argentina's fuel ethanol production and consumption remains stable with 2019 forecast at 1.1 billion liters with no trade expected and the E12 mandate blend near 11.5 pct.

Biodiesel production in 2019 is projected to drop 9 pct year-over-year to 2.5 billion liters, following a 15 pct drop in 2018 with declining exports and production capacity use falling to 50 pct. Domestic consumption reflects little change at 1.3 billion liters, a near record high since 2017 but with no sustained upward movement since the B10 mandate was essentially met.

Exports are forecast at 1.2 billion liters, down 400 million liters from last year. Argentina's duty-free quota of 1.36 billion liters with a minimum set price to the EU is not expected to fill this year. No biodiesel exports are expected in 2019 to the US despite its preliminary lowering of countervailing duties due to remaining anti-dumping duties. (Source: USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, GAIN Network, 7 Aug., 2019) Contact: USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, gain.fas.usda.gov

More Low-Carbon Energy News Fuel Ethanol,  Argentina Ethanol,  


China's Ethanol Policy Remains Muddled, says USDA (Int'l. Report)
USDA Foreign Agricultural Service
Date: 2019-08-09
Although Beijing's push to improve air quality is emerging as the major driver for expanded fuel ethanol production and use, Chinas ethanol policy in 2019 remains a patchwork of provincial and municipal-level policies, according to a USDA report.

China's central and provincial authorities have not renewed subsidies for ethanol production. Without clear incentives and enforceable compliance measures, the country's ethanol industry will struggle to raise the level of biofuels use in transportation fuels to meet China's E10 goal by 2020. As a result of restrictive ethanol investment and trade policies, China will most likely achieve a blend rate of only 3.0 to 3.5 pct by 2020. Biodiesel remains neglected except for a limited program in Shanghai, the USDA report claims. (Source: USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, GAIN Network, 7 Aug., 2019) Contact: USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, gain.fas.usda.gov


EU Woody Biomass,Wood Pellet Demand Rising (Int'l Report)
Woody Biomass,Wood Pellet
Date: 2019-08-07
According to a recent report from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service's Global Agricultural Information Network, the European Union (EU) market for wood pellets will likely grow this year but future expansions could be limited by sustainability requirements introduced by the 28 individual EU member states.

The report notes nearly half of the EU's renewable energy is presently generated from the combustion of solid biomass -- wood chips and pellets -- not including municipal solid waste. The EU consumed an estimated 27.35 million metric tons of wood pellets in 2018, with consumption projected to rise to 30 million metric tons this year. According to the report, the EU's 656 wood pellet plants are expected to produce 18.1 million metric tons of wood pellets this year and imports are expected to rise from 10.355 million metric tons in 2018 to 12.2 million metric tons in 2019.

Report details are HERE. (Source: USDA Foreign Agricultural Service's Global Agricultural Information Network, July, 2019) Contact: USDA Foreign Agricultural Service's Global Agricultural Information Network, gain.fas.usda.gov

More Low-Carbon Energy News Woody Biomass,  Wood Pellet,  


USDA REAP Announces New Renewable Energy Funding (Funding)
Rural Energy for America Program
Date: 2019-07-15
The USDA Secretary for Rural Development, Joel Baxley, reports the agency's awarding of 58 grants for projects in 17 states to help reduce energy costs and increase energy efficiency for small rural businesses, farmers and agricultural producers. The grants are being issued through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) for which Congress appropriated $50 million in fiscal year 2019.

Under the present announcement, USDA is investing $1 million in renewable energy projects. The REAP grant funding can be used for energy audits and renewable energy systems such as biomass, geothermal, hydropower and solar, or for energy efficiency improvements to HVAC systems; insulation; and lighting and refrigeration, and others. (Source: USDA, Elko Daily Free Press, 11 July, 2019) Contact: USDA Rural Energy for America Program, www.rurdev.usda.gov

More Low-Carbon Energy News Rural Energy for America Program,  Renewable Energy,  Energy Efficiency,  


Senators Want Ag Sec. Out of RFS "Hardship Waiver" Decision Process (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
RFS
Date: 2019-07-03
Following up on our June 12 coverage, DTN Progressive Farmer is reporting thirteen Republican senators from oil-producing states are calling for President Trump to keep Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue out of EPA Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) small refinery "hardship waiver" decision-making process which the Senators claim the Agriculture Secretary has no authority. Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA administrator decides, after consulting with the Energy secretary, which refiners receive or are denied a hardship waiver, the Senators note.

"We strongly oppose giving the Secretary (Perdue) any role in the decision-making process over the petitions. We would view any decisions to further delay, reduce, or deny hardship relief to small refineries, or reallocate the obligations of small refineries to other refineries, as the result of the Secretary of Agriculture's impermissible interference. We are confident that others, including the federal courts, would do the same," the thirteen Senators wrote.

The small-refinery exemptions have reduced ethanol use by about 2.6 billion gallons, and 38 refiners are waiting for EPA to decide on new exemptions.

Senators writing the letter included Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) as well as senators representing Louisiana, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.

As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. In 2017, the number of small refineries filing for exemptions retroactively for 2016 jumped from 14 the previous year to 20. The rate in which EPA granted these petitions also increased dramatically from 53 pct to 95 pct (Source: Various Media, DTN, Progressive Farmer, July, 2019) Contact: Office of Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue,(202) 720-2791, feedback@oc.usda.gov, www.usda.gov/contact-us

More Low-Carbon Energy News Hardship Waiver,  Ethanol,  Ethanol Blend,  RFA,  Sonny Perdue,  


REAP Helps Rural Enterprises Cut Energy Costs (Funding)
Renewable Energy for America Program
Date: 2019-06-26
In Washington, the USDA Renewable Energy for America Program (REAP) has announced $266,490 in grant funding to eight Oregon applicants, $40,589 to Idaho applicants and $16,981 to Washington projects to help farm applicants for energy efficiency measure to help cut energy costs. Nationwide, the USDA awarded $1 million through REAP across 17 states and Puerto Rico.

REAP grants are divided into two categories. The Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvement Program awards money for renewable energy developments and efficiency improvements, while the Energy Audit and Renewable Energy Development Assistance Program allows recipients to conduct energy audits and provide assistance for farms and rural businesses. Congress appropriated $50 million for REAP grants and loan guarantees in fiscal year 2019. (Source: USDA Rural Dev., Capital Press, 25 June, 2019) Contact: USDA REAP, rurdev.usda.gov

More Low-Carbon Energy News USDA REAP,  Energy EfficiencyRenewable Energy for America Program,  


EPA Admonished to Update Ethanol, GHG Emissions Science ( Ind. Report, Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
EPA,Ethanol
Date: 2019-06-26
In response to the Trump administration EPA's rejection of calls to update GHG calculations based on technological advancements in ethanol production, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators led by Chuck Grassley (R. Iowa) and Dick Durbin (D. Ill.) -- both members of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry -- issued the following statement urging the EPA to update an outdated environmental analysis on ethanol in order to "improve foreign sales opportunities."

"During the past five years, ethanol has been the fastest-growing agricultural export. As more nations adopt policies for lower-emission vehicle fuels, domestically produced ethanol can provide an immediate solution for their goals. We assert that there is little justification for EPA to maintain such an outdated calculation that otherwise could be easily corrected with existing, available analysis -- and straightforwardly address an unnecessary obstacle to international trade," the Senators wrote.

"Peer-reviewed science conducted by the USDA has affirmed that U.S. ethanol lowers greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 39-43 pct versus gasoline. EPA has rejected all calls to update these calculations, instead using nearly 10-year-old data, which ignores the technological advancements in ethanol production", the Senators said.

The Senators called for the EPA to adopt the scientific model Greenhouse Gas & Regulated Emissions & Energy Use in Transportation (GREET) developed by the DOE Argonne National Laboratory, after studying 100 fuel production pathways and 85 vehicle systems to measure the life-cycle carbon emissions of vehicle fuels. More than 30,000 organizations worldwide use the updated GREET model, including the FAA, NASA, Ford and GM, BP and others. EPA does not use the updated model. (Source: Office of Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa),Feedstuffs, 25 June, 2019) Contact: Office of Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), www.grassley.senate.gov

More Low-Carbon Energy News EPA,  Chuck Grassley,  GHGs,  Ethanol,  


USDA Funds Hoosier Farms, Ag Producers Energy Efficiency (Funding)
USDA
Date: 2019-06-12
In Indianapolis, the USDA State Director for Indiana is reporting a total of $109,195 in grant funding fto eight businesses for projects that will reduce energy costs in the Hoosier state. Among the recipients:
  • Commercial real estate leasing firm Home Sweet Home Properties, LLC will receive $1,669 for LED lighting upgrades and $14,109 for the purchase and installation of a 22.44 kwh solar array

  • Premier Roofing & Construction, LLC $14,476 for a 12.6 kW solar array.

  • The 18-member Hoosier Energy Rural Electric Cooperative will receive $25,000 for various energy efficiency projects throughout central and southern Indiana.

  • N & L Pork, Inc. will receive $20,000 for a 111-kW solar array.

  • The Darrel G. Erb farm will receive $12,441 to make energy efficiency improvements and Bowman & Bowman Farms, Inc. will receive $20,000 for a 37-kW solar array.

    The grants are funded through the 2002 U.S. Farm Bill Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). (Source: USDA, www.rd.usda.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News USDA,  


  • Ohio State Tests Ag Waste-to-Ethanol Process (R&D, Funding)
    Ohio State University
    Date: 2019-05-29
    In Columbus, Associate Professor Ajay Shah, an agricultural engineer with The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) is testing a method that could cut the cost of collecting and delivering corn plant material corn stover) for ethanol production by up to 20 pct..

    Shah received $1 million in USDA grant funding to test the effectiveness of a new method that harvests and transports corn plants intact, the ears together with the stalks, and will work with farm equipment companies to develop machinery that could be commercialized.

    The system testing involves harvesting the corn plant so the ears and a portion of the stalks are not separated in the field but are transported as a single package to the biorefinery. Separating the corn kernels from the rest of the plant requires a combine, which is expensive and currently used in the field only a few months of the year. If, instead, farmers collected and baled the cobs and stalks at the same time, they could be stored and a stationary machine that separates the grain from the rest of the plant could operate throughout the year, maximizing its use. (Source: Ohio State Univ., AgCUE Online, 28 May, 2019) Contact: Ohio State Univ., College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), Assistant Prof., Ajay Shah, (330) 263-3858, shah.971@osu.edu; CFAES, (614) 292-6125, https://cfaes.osu.edu

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Corn Stover,  Ethanol,  Cellulosic Ethanol,  


    NFU Encouraged by First Step to Address Climate Crisis (Ind. Report)
    National Farmers Union
    Date: 2019-05-27
    In recent U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry hearings on climate change and the agricultural sector, climate change and the agricultural sector. National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson thanked the committee for addressing the deleterious effects of climate change on the agricultural industry and emphasized the need for federal policies that assist farmers with the implementation of practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, sequester carbon, and build resilience to extreme weather events:

    "Climate change is not a future or hypothetical issue for family farmers and ranchers -- they are already suffering its effects every day. Higher average temperatures, altered precipitation patterns, and more frequent and severe natural disasters have added several more layers of uncertainty to the already difficult job of food production. As the climate continues to change, we can only expect the challenges to multiply. This serious and immediate problem requires serious and immediate action -- and we are glad that the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry is taking the first steps by holding this hearing.

    "Though the agricultural sector is among the most directly impacted by climate change, it is also among the most capable of mitigating and adapting to its effects. Farmers and ranchers are not only able to cut greenhouse gas emissions on their operations, but they can also offset greenhouse gas emissions from other sectors by sequestering carbon in the soil, growing biofuels, and engaging in on-farm energy production. Many of the USDA's existing conservation programs support these important efforts with financial and technical assistance. We encourage Congress to continue providing farmers with the tools they need by expanding and enhancing these programs. Additionally, we recommend robust investments in public agricultural research as well as the creation of market-based incentives for climate-smart practices.

    "Farmers Union members understand the urgent threat that climate change poses to agriculture, and they want to do everything they can to lessen the damage. But this work isn't free or easy -- it often requires significant time, money, and expertise. We look forward to working with you to identify policies and solutions that help family farmers and ranchers achieve their sustainability goals."

    The NFU advocates on behalf of nearly 200,000 American farm families and their communities. (Source: National Farmers Union, Website, May, 2019) Contact: National Farmers Union, Hannah Packman, (202) 559-9890, hpackman@nfudc.org, www.nfu.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Change,  National Farmers Union,  


    Woody Biomass Feedstock Logistics Study Funded (Funding)
    Woddy Biomass,USDA
    Date: 2019-05-13
    Researchers at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture (UTIA) are reporting receipt of $1 million in USDA grant funding to investigate the key parameters for high-quality, year-round woody biomass feedstock logistics systems for commercialized biorefineries in the Southeastern U.S.

    The 3-year study is intended to expedite the development of a commercialized cellulosic biofuel sector by improving the efficiency of the logistics systems of woody biomass feedstock required for biofuel production.

    The study will determine woody biomass quality in the Southeast and identify the relationship with conversion performance. Additionally, the cost and energy use for woody biomass feedstock size reduction through both conventional and advanced technologies will be obtained at an industrial scale, and the cost and quality of the feedstock will be incorporated to address the challenges of balancing cost and quality in feedstock logistics for scaling up biofuel production.

    The study includes the evaluation of alternative pre-processing technologies in feedstock logistics systems for hardwood logging residues and an energy crop -- hybrid poplar -- to supply biofuel production.

    The UTIA multidisciplinary research team includes agricultural economists, forest scientists, chemists, and biosystems engineers, with collaboration from a bioenergy company, Proton Power, Inc., and a biomass research and development company, Forest Concepts, LLC. (Source: University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, Bioenergy Insight, 13 May, 2019) Contact: University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, (865) 974-6756, https://ag.tennessee.edu/Pages/default.aspx

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Woody Biomass,  Biofuel,  


    USDA Forest Service 2019 Wood Innovation Grants Announced (Funding)
    USDA,USFS
    Date: 2019-05-10
    On May 7, the USDA Forest Service awarded over $8.9 million in matching funds through the Wood Innovations Grant program to 39 business, university, nonprofit and tribal partners in 20 states.

    This year the Forest Service received 140 proposals, demonstrating the expanding interest in using wood in traditional and unconventional ways as an innovative building material or a renewable energy source. Of the 41 projects selected, 29 focus upon expanding markets for wood products and 12 seek to increase markets for wood energy. Some of the proposed projects will help fuel small-scale, combined heat and power projects and biochar market development.

    Projects will take place in 20 states including Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Virginia, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.

    The Forest Service notes that over the past decade, low harvest rates, aging forests, mortality from insect and disease infestations, and extreme weather events have combined to create conditions prime for catastrophic wildfires. These grants support the development of consumer products that use the excess forest material.Download information on the Forest Service Wood Education and Resource Center HERE. (Source: U.S. Forest Service, PR, 8 May, 2019) Contact: U.S. Forest Service, www.fs.usda.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News U.S. Forest Service,  Woody Biomass,  Biomass,  


    Brightmark Touts Dairy Anaerobic Digestion Biogas Project (Ind Report)
    Brightmark Energy
    Date: 2019-04-08
    San Francisco-headquartered Brightmark Energy is touting the launch of its recently completed biogas project in Yakima County, Washington. The anaerobic digester project will convert 150,000 gpd of dairy cattle manure waste from up to 7,000 cows into 160,000 MMBtu of renewable natural gas (RNG) and other products each year.

    Collaborating as Augean Renewable Natural Gas (RNG), Brightmark Energy, Promus Energy, and DeRuyter Dairies developed the project. Brightmark Energy will manage the joint venture and Promus Energy, the original developer, will serve as the project manager.

    he Augean biogas project is supported by a $1.4 million in grant funding from Yakima County and a $500,000 Rural Energy for American Program (REAP) grant from the USDA.

    Brightmark is currently developing similar biogas projects in New York, Wisconsin, Florida, and Minnesota, and is seeking feedstock suppliers with an interest in collaborating on waste to energy projects. The company develops, owns and operates waste and energy projects.

    Promus Energy LLC, based in Washington State and New Mexico, was launched in 2010 to convert organic wastes into low carbon intensity, high-value renewable products, focusing specifically on dairy-derived renewable natural gas (RNG) and recovery of nutrients and fiber. (Source: Brightmark Energy, PR, 6 April, 2019) Contact: Brightmark Energy, Bob Powell, CEO, (415) 689-8395, info@brightmarkenergy.com; http://brightmarkenergy.com; Promus Energy LLC, www.promusenergy.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Brightmark Energy,  Biogas,  Anaerobic Digestion,  


    USDA Study Shows Significant GHG Benefits of Ethanol Compared with Gasoline (Report Attached)
    USDA
    Date: 2019-04-03
    The Greenhouse Gas Benefits of Corn Ethanol -- Assessing Recent Evidence, a new study from the USDA finds greenhouse gas emissions from corn-based ethanol are about 39 pct lower than gasoline. The study also states that when ethanol is refined at natural gas-powered refineries, the GHG emissions are even lower, around 43 pct below gasoline.

    "These new findings provide further evidence that biofuels from America's heartland reduce greenhouse gases even more than we thought, and that our farmers and ethanol plants continue to become more efficient and effective," said Secretary Sonny Perdue. "Expanding the sale of E15 year-round will provide consumers with more choices when they fill up at the pump, including environmentally friendly fuel with decreased emissions. I appreciate EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler moving expeditiously to finalize the E-15 rule before the start of summer driving season," Perdue added.

    The study, led by Dr. Jan Lewandrowski of USDA's Office of the Chief Economist, and published in the journal Biofuels, supports findings of other research that ethanol has a significantly better GHG profile than previously estimated.

    The study attributes much of these additional benefits to revised estimates of the impacts of land-use change as a result of demand for ethanol. Where previous estimates anticipated farmers bringing additional land into production as a result of increased corn prices, recent analysis finds only modest increases in crop acreage. Additional improvements at ethanol refineries, combined with on-farm conservation practices that reduce GHG emissions, such as reduced tillage and cover crops, have further decreased emissions associated with corn ethanol. The study projects that with added improvements in refineries and on farms, a reduction of over 70 pct in lifecycle emissions is possible by 2022.

    The study is available for download HERE. Additional information on the greenhouse gas profile of biofuels is available at www.usda.gov/oce/oeep. (Source: USDA, 2 April, 2019) Contact: USDA, www.usda.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News USDA,  Ethanol,  Corn Ethanol,  Carbon Emissions,  GHGs,  


    2018 U.S. Ethanol Exports Rise to Record High (Ind. Report)
    USDA
    Date: 2019-03-08
    According to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) recently 2018 total export numbers, US ethanol exports topped 1.70 billion gallons in 2018 -- a 23 pct increase over 2017 figures -- while ethanol co-products like distiller's dried grains (DDGs) with solubles (DDGS) exports grew 7 pct.

    Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor notes the increase in ethanol exports over the past three years is due in part to expanded role that ethanol-blended fuels play in helping countries around the world achieve their economic and environmental goals.

    Growth Energy expects the global demand for the cleaner, more affordable fuel blend will continue to rise in 2019.(Source: Growth Energy, USDA, Various Media, HoosierAg, 6 Mar., 2019) Contact: Growth Energy, Emily Skor, CEO, (202) 545-4000, www.growthenergy.org; USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, www.fas.usda.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Ethanol,  USDA,  Growth Energy,  


    USGC Wins $14Mn for Feed Grains, Ethanol Promotion (Funding)
    U.S. Grains Council
    Date: 2019-02-25
    The Washington, D.C. headquartered U.S. Grains Council (USGC) is reporting receipt of almost $14 million in funding from USDA's Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) Program to help expand the organization's global footprint and dramatically increase its promotion for ethanol and other feed grains products. The program is part of a larger "trade aid" package in the wake of new tariffs and global market uncertainty.

    The Council was awarded just under $14 million from the one-time program, which granted a total of $200 million for organizations working in overseas market development for U.S. agriculture and food products Much of the funding will be used to dramatically expand the Council's ethanol programs, which it coordinates with corn and sorghum checkoff organizations, Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association, as well as USDA.

    The funding will build upon existing market development and marketing programs operated with support from Council members and USDA through the Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development program. (Source: US Grains Council, PR, 23 Feb., 2019) Contact: U.S. Grains Council, (202) 789-0789, (202) 898-0522, www.grains.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News U.S. Grains Council,  Ethanol,  


    USDA Commits to $125Mn Aemetis Riverbank Biorefinery (Funding)
    Aemetis
    Date: 2019-02-13
    Following up on our 24th January coverage, Cupertino, California-based Aemetis, Inc. is reporting the USDA has issued a Conditional Commitment under the 9003 Biorefinery Assistance Program to guarantee a $125 million, 20-year loan to company's cellulosic ethanol plant to be built in Riverbank, California. The Riverbank plant is designed to convert orchard, forest and other biomass waste into cellulosic ethanol with below zero carbon emissions.

    The Riverbank biorefinery project recently won a $12 million California state tax waiver and a $5 million California Energy Commission Notice of Proposed Award. Preliminary engineering for the project has been completed and construction is expected to get underway in mid-2019. (Source: Aemetis, PR, 12 Feb., 2019) Contact: Aemetis, Eric McAfee, CEO , Todd Waltz, (408) 213-0940, investors@aemetis.com, www.aemetis.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Riverbank ,  Aemetis,  USDA,  Cellulosic Ethanol,  


    American Coalition for Ethanol Presses Senate on EPA Acting Administrator Wheeler's Confirmation (Opinions, Editorial & Asides)
    American Coalition for Ethanol
    Date: 2019-02-01
    The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) submitted the following letter to US Senators regarding acting EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler's confirmation:

    " As the Senate proceeds to consider the nomination of Andrew Wheeler to serve as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), I write to encourage you to secure tangible documentation from Mr. Wheeler that EPA will resolve two critically important issues before casting your confirmation vote: finalizing a legally -defensible Reid vapor pressure (RVP) rule to allow E15 use year-round before June 1, and reallocating ethanol blending obligations waived for 2016 and 2017 through the Small Refinery Exemption (SRE) provision of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

    "I urge you hold Acting Administrator Wheeler to this high standard because of the harm done to renewable fuels by former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. Prior to his confirmation by the Senate, Mr. Pruitt pledged to support the RFS as the law of the land and the President's commitment to expanding ethanol use. However, while leading EPA, he undermined the RFS through an unprecedented number of backdoor refinery waivers which erased more than 2 billion gallons of ethanol blending obligations between 2016 and 2017. Furthermore, he refused to reallocate those blending obligations to other refiners, as called for under the law, and failed to initiate a rulemaking to allow E15 use year-round despite the fact it is a priority for the President. EPA's broken promises and abuse of the RFS compel Acting Administrator Wheeler to repair the damage by reallocating the blending obligations and finalizing a legally-defensible rule to allow E15 use year-round before June 1.

    "During his recent confirmation hearing, Acting Administrator Wheeler assured Environment and Public Works committee members that EPA is 'still on schedule to issue a final rule allowing year-round E15 sales' but added there 'may be a slight delay' due to the recent government shutdown. The shutdown is not a credible excuse for a delay in the E15 rulemaking. In fact, recent history proves the Trump Administration can expedite high-priority rulemakings.

    "Take for example the USDA newly-proposed work requirements for recipients of supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP) benefits. In December, as Congress was negotiating the Farm Bill, the Senate insisted that House conferees drop new food stamp work requirements from the final legislation. In response, to secure enough Republican votes in the House of Representatives to pass the Farm Bill conference report, USDA put forward a rulemaking to impose the work requirements through executive action. The Farm Bill conference report was adopted by Congress on December 12. The President waited to sign the Farm Bill until December 20, the same day USDA published the SNAP work requirement rulemaking.

    "In just eight days USDA was able to issue a rule at the direction of the President to fulfill a promise to Republicans in the House of Representatives. It has been more than 100 days since the President Directed EPA to initiate a rulemaking to allow E15 use year-round. What is taking EPA so long to act? There is no better way to guarantee the RVP rule and reallocation of refinery waivers are addressed than by insisting Mr. Wheeler provide tangible evidence of his intentions on these issues prior to voting to confirm him.

    "The RVP rule is particularly time-sensitive. Under EPA's existing and outdated RVP regulations, E15 cannot be sold in most areas of the country from June 1 to September 15, leaving just four short months from today to complete the rulemaking process. Unfortunately, EPA needlessly plans to combine the RVP rule with reforms to the way Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) are handled under the RFS. RIN reforms are highly-controversial among oil refiners so EPA's proposal will likely pit refiners against each other, causing a protracted dispute. If RIN reforms prevent EPA from finishing the RVP rule by June 1, it will result in another summer that E15 cannot be sold in many parts of the country when fuel demand is at its peak. Acting Administrator Wheeler should be encouraged to decouple RIN reforms from the RVP rule to ensure E15 can be offered for sale by June 1." (signed) Brian Jennings, CEO American Coalition for Ethanol. (Source: ACE, 29 Jan., 2019)Contact: American Coalition for Ethanol, Brian Jennings, CEO, Ron Lamberty, VP, (605) 334-3381, https://ethanol.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News ANdrew Wheeler,  American Coalition for Ethanol,  Andrew Wheeler,  Ethanol.Ethanol Blend,  


    $4.7Mn for California Soil Amendments CCS Research (R&D, Funding)
    Carbon Sequestration,UC Davis
    Date: 2019-01-21
    In the Golden State, the University of California, Davis, and the UC Working Lands Innovation Center are reporting receipt of $4.7 million in grant funding over 3-years from the California Strategic Growth Council to research scalable methods of using soil amendments to sequester greenhouse gases like (CO2) in soil. The project aims to find ways to capture billions of tons of CO2 and bring net carbon emissions in California to zero by 2045.

    The consortium will conduct and oversee 29 treatment and control sites across California and assess whether soil amendments -- pulverized rock, compost and biochar -- can bring additional carbon Capture and storage (CCS) co-benefits, such as improved crop and rangeland productivity and soil health to California growers and ranchers across diverse regions.

    The sites range from croplands in the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys to the Imperial Valley, as well as ranchlands from Marin County to Southern California.

    In addition to UC Berkeley and UC Davis, the consortium also includes scientists from UC Merced, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and California State University, East Bay. The group will be working with the California Collaborative for Climate Change Solutions (C4S), Larta Institute, the Almond Board of California, commercial manufacturers of compost and biochar, ranchers and farmers, carbon offset registries, the USDA California Climate Hub, and UC Cooperative Extension. (Source: UC Davis, PR, 16 Jan., 2019) Contact: UC Davis, John Muir Institute of the Environment , Benjamin Houlton, Dir., (530) 752-7627, johnmuir.ucdavis.edu; California Strategic Growth Council, www.sgc.ca.gov, UC Working Lands Innovation Center Grant Award, www.sgc.ca.gov/programs/climate-research/docs/20181221-CCR_Summary_2019CCR20007.pdf

    More Low-Carbon Energy News UC Davis,  CCS,  CO2,  Carbon Sequestration,  Greenhouse Gas,  


    $867Bn 2018 Farm Bill Includes Carbon Sequestration (Reg. & Leg.)

    Date: 2019-01-07
    In a tacit recognition of the agricultural community's growing concern with climate change, includes a $25 million climate-friendly soil health pilot program that will incentivize and reward carbon sequestration by farmers through the use of "no-till", strip-till, cover crops and more diverse crop rotations.

    No-till farming is a way of growing crops or pasture from year to year without disturbing the soil through tillage. No-till is an agricultural technique which increases the amount of water that infiltrates into the soil, the soil's retention of organic matter and its cycling of nutrients.

    The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 -- Farm Bill -- reauthorized many expenditures in the prior United States farm bill: the Agricultural Act of 2014. The $867 billion reconciled farm bill was passed by the Senate on December 11, 2018, and by the House on December 12, 2018. (Source: No-Till Farmer, Washington Post, USDA, Wikipedia, Jan., 2019)


    Feds Seem Flummoxed by Biomass Energy Carbon Neutrality (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    USDA,EPA
    Date: 2018-11-02
    In Washington, the US EPA has reportedly joined the DOE and the USDA in a letter to congressional leaders committing to "encourage the use of biomass as an energy solution and reasserting the view that woody biomass-fired power plants should be viewed as carbon neutral because when the plants eventually re-grow they remove CO2 from the air." The agencies also are committing to collaborate on policies promoting biomass, which could include DOE research and encouraging utilities to substitute wood for coal in power plants.

    But environmentalists say that burning trees releases CO2 previously trapped inside the plant. And when forests are cleared to produce energy, it can take them decades to regrow, if they ever do. The result is a power source that can generate more carbon dioxide emissions than the coal it is sometimes meant to replace.

    On the down side, the EPA's own science advisers have warned that assuming biomass emissions are carbon neutral "is inconsistent with the underlying science."

    The federal agencies joint letter is in response to a provision Congress added to a spending bill directing federal agencies to establish policies that "reflect the carbon neutrality of forest biomass for energy production." Even before that directive, under former EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, the agency declared that it generally considered burning biomass for energy as carbon neutral. The EPA has also proposed giving utilities credit for cutting carbon dioxide emissions when they replace some coal in power plants with biomass -- a substitution that would qualify as an efficiency upgrade under the EPA's proposed relaxation of the Obama-era Clean Power Plan curbs on greenhouse gas emissions from electricity. (Source: HoumaToday, Herald, Various Media, Nov., 2018)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Carbon Neutral,  Biomass,  Woody Biomass,  


    Biorenewable Deployment Consortium's Raleigh Fall Forum Update (Conference, Ind. Report)
    Biorenewable Deployment Consortium
    Date: 2018-10-31
    The Biorenewable Deployment Consortium (BDC) Fall Forum was held in Raleigh, N.C. on October 9-10 and was combined with a visit to the Velocys' Microchannel Fisher-Tropsch pilot plant that is integrated with the ThermoChem Recovery International (TRI) Biomass Gasification and Gas Clean-up system at TRI's Advanced Development Center in Durham. Velocys has announced the commercial "Bayou Fuels" project for Natchez, MS. The project will combine the two companies' technologies to convert locally sourced waste woody biomass into transportation fuel.

    The Forum boasted record attendance, including a diverse group of international members and guests. Discussions included updates from leading bio-process companies on new processes and commercial advances that can add value to the forest products industry. Highlights of the Forum included commercial progress of nanotechnology presented by keynote Sean Ireland, VP, Business Development for Fiberlean Technologies; evolutionary value added technologies for the chemical recovery cycle and soap removal / tall oil production; commercial progress of wood to bioproducts from Velocys, Ensyn, and Red Rock; and commercial progress for lignin conversion to end products.

    USDA Administrator Bette Brand attended the meeting and tour. "The USDA recognizes the importance of the partnership between government and private industry designed to bridge the early financial issues of start-up companies in the biorenewable area that we believe will help improve economies in rural communities," said Ms. Brand ommented. Meeting attendees participating in USDA programs included Velocys, Ensyn, Red Rock Biofuels, REG, and American Biocarbon.

    Masood Akhtar, President of BDC commented, "In BDC's view, it is important for the government to be confident in the companies they financially assist, and the scale up requirements of the USDA have been critical to the success of new start up companies." "The success of the BDC meeting is due to a combination of the mission of the organization, the make-up and participation of the membership and guests, and the ingenuity and progress of the entrepreneurial management teams in the up and coming bio-industry," Akhtar concluded. (Source: BDC, PR, Oct., 2018) Contact: BDC, Ben Thorp, Chairman, (804) 743-3105, Ben.Thorp@biorenewabledc.org, www.biorenewabledc.org; Velocys, Jeff McDaniel, VP, (614) 733-3300, jeff.mcdaniel@velocys.com, www.velocys.com; ThermoChem Recovery International, Chris Doherty, VP, (410) 525-2400, cdoherty@tri-inc.net, www.tri-inc.net

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Biorenewable Deployment Consortium,  Velocys,  ThermoChem Recovery International ,  


    ALDF Suing Feds to Act on Climate Change (Reg & Leg)
    Animal Legal Defense Fund
    Date: 2018-10-24
    In Cotati, California, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) reports it has taken legal action to compel the U.S. government to act on climate change. The move follows a similar lawsuit filed by a group of young activists. That action was put on hold by a federal court on the grounds that the political process, not the courts, should address the issue of climate change. Details HERE.

    The new plaintiffs contend they have a "fundamental right to be left alone free from human interference in the wilderness" and are asking a federal court to rule that the U.S. government is violating that right by contributing to a dangerous concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and thus created a dangerous atmosphere. The lawsuit specifically names the U.S. Department of Interior, the USDA, the EPA, Department of Defense and other agencies.

    The new lawsuit is taking a new tack. While the first suit focuses on constitutional rights to life, liberty and property and protection of public trust resources, the new suit focuses on "the simple right to be let alone, the right long recognized and protected under banners like privacy and liberty," according to the Animal Legal Defense Fund. (Source: Animal Legal Defense Fund, Oregonian, 22 Oct., 2018) Contact: Animal Legal Defense Fund, (707) 795-2533, https://aldf.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Kid,  Climate Lawsuit,  Climate Change,  


    REAP Grants $431,725 for Rural Maine Energy Efficiency (Funding)
    U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Energy for America Program
    Date: 2018-09-14
    In the Pine Tree State, nine rural Maine businesses will receive a total of $431,725 in funding through the USDA's Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).

    The USDA REAP grant program, entitled Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Loans and Grants, provides financial assistance to agricultural producers and small businesses to upgrade renewable energy systems in rural areas. (Source: USDA Rural Energy for America Program, Angus King, 12 Sept., 2018) Contact: USDA REAP, www.rurdev.usda.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News USDA REAP,  Energy Efficiency,  Renewable Energy,  


    USDA Comments on RFS "Hardship" Waivers (Reg & Leg)

    Date: 2018-08-31
    The attached memorandum, the USDA comments on Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) small refinery "hardship" waivers and the agency's ability to make different reductions in the total and advanced mandates when using the cellulosic waiver authority.

    In its proposed rule Renewable Fuel Standard Program Standards for 2019 and Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2020, the EPA proposes the Renewable Fuel Volume Obligations (RVOs), the analytical support in setting those RVOs, the setting of the percent standards to achieve those RVOs and an assessment of the cost of implementation.

    The USDA stresses that it does not disagree with the appropriateness of the use of the cellulosic waiver authority in lowering the total and cellulosic standards, but disagrees with the newly stated constraints the EPA places on the agency when those waivers are applied. These comments also address the inconsistencies between the cost and the percent standard approaches, which have historically failed to achieve the RVO standard set in the analysis and rule making.

    Download RFS details HERE. (Source: USDA, Aug., 2018) ) Contact: USDA,www.usda.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News USDA,  RFS,  Cellulosic Ethanol,  "Hardship " Waiver,  


    USDA Offers Biorefinery, Biochemical Loan Guarantees (Ind. Report)
    USDA
    Date: 2018-08-31
    The USDA's Rural Business-Cooperative Service is soliciting applications for the Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical, and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program. The program provides loan guarantees of up to $250 million to fund the development, construction, and retrofitting of commercial-scale biorefineries using eligible technology. It can also be used to help fund the development of biobased product manufacturing facilities that use technologically new commercial-scale processing and manufacturing equipment to convert renewable chemicals and other biobased outputs of biorefineries into end-user products on a commercial scale.

    Download Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical, and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program details HERE. (Source: USDA Rural Business-Cooperative Service, Aug., 2018) Contact: USDA Rural Business-Cooperative Service, www.rd.usda.gov/about-rd/agencies/rural-business-cooperative-service

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Biochemical,  USDA,  


    Grassland Carbon Credits Fund Carbon Sinks (Ind. Report)
    Environmental Defense Fund
    Date: 2018-08-31
    In San Francisco, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is reporting the sale of the first listed grassland carbon credits that will allow the Southern Plains Land Trust to restore and preserve two Colorado ranches that sequester 8,000 metric tpy of soil.

    The EDF facilitated the development and sale of the credits with the help of a Conservation Innovation Grant from the USDA. Natural Capital Partners purchased the credits on behalf of its client Microsoft, which began a carbon neutrality program in 2012.

    Grassland carbon credits reward landowners for retaining soil carbon and avoiding the emissions associated with converting grasslands into croplands. Grassland projects also provide ecosystem benefits such as habitat for threatened species.

    The Climate Action Reserve's Grassland Project Protocol uses biogeochemical modeling and emissions factors to quantify carbon that would be released from the soil if the land were tilled. (Source: EDF, Aug., 2018) Contact: Environmental Defense Fund, www.edf.org; Southern Plains Land Trust, https://southernplains.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Environmental Defense Fund news,  Carbon Credit news,  Carbon Sink news,  


    $4.7Bn Not Enough, Iowa Corn Growers Tell Trump (Ind. Report)
    USDA,Iowa Corn Growers
    Date: 2018-08-29
    The USDA has announced details of a $4.7 billion trade mitigation and aid package for farmers facing possible loses due to the Trump administration's tariffs and trade uncertainty. The aid package will provide some short-term relief, but as Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said, "it will not make farmers whole."

    Profitability is a huge concern for Iowa's corn farmers now facing the fifth consecutive year of declining farm incomes while facing high levels of uncertainty due to ongoing trade disputes and disruptions in the ethanol markets.

    The Iowa Corn Farmers Association's message to the Trump administration was clear -- "Corn farmers prefer to have market access to compete in a global marketplace, not rely on government assistance, for their livelihoods. Remove unnecessary trade barriers and restore our access to international markets." (Source: Iowa Corn Growers Association, PR, 27 Aug., 2018)Contact: Iowa Corn Growers Association, (515) 225-9242, www.iowacorn.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Corn,  USDA,  Corn Ethanol,  


    Six States Produce 72 pct of U.S. Fuel Ethanol (Ind. Report)
    US EIA
    Date: 2018-08-17
    According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, Minnesota, Indiana and South Dakota in that order produced 72 pct of the country's total fuel ethanol in 2016 -- 265 million barrels of the total U.S. production amount of 367 million barrels. The top six states are also among the top 10 U.S. producers of corn, the primary feedstock for ethanol production, according to the USDA.

    Between 2006 and 2016, fuel ethanol production more than doubled after the Energy Policy Act of 2005 created the Renewable Fuel Standard. By 2010, most of the gasoline sold in the U.S. was blended with 10 pct ethanol.

    Among the top six ethanol producing states, Iowa can produce more than 102 million bpy of fuel ethanol for about 19 pct of total U.S. ethanol production. Nebraska's production capacity of more than 50 million barrels of fuel ethanol is the second-highest, followed by Illinois at up to 40 million bpy. Minnesota has an ethanol production capacity of 28 million bpy followed by Indiana and South Dakota at 27 million bpy of ethanol annually. (Source: US EIA, Tax, Business & Politics, 15 Aug., 2018) Contact: US EIA, www.eia.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Ethanol,  Corn Ethanol,  EIA,  


    Aemetis Updates Calif. Cellulosic Ethanol Project Progress (Ind. Report)
    Aemetis
    Date: 2018-08-15
    Further to our June 20 report, Cupertino, California-based Aemetis' recently released second quarter financial results on Aug. 9, noted progress is being made with its Riverbank, California cellulosic ethanol plant, including engineering, environmental permitting and EPC project milestones.

    Construction on the cellulosic ethanol plant, which will use LanzaTech technology to convert orchard and agriculture waste into ethanol, could bet underway this year, subject to a pending USDA loan guarantee. (Source: Aemetis, Ethanol Producer, Other Media, 14 Aug., 2018) Contact: Aemetis, Eric McAfee, CEO , Todd Waltz, (408) 213-0940, investors@aemetis.com, www.aemetis.com; LanzaTech, Dr. Jennifer Holmgren, CEO, (630) 439-3050, jennifer@lanzatech.com, www.lanzatech.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Aemetis,  LanzaTech,  Cellulosic Ethanol,  


    Velocys' Natchez Biorefinery Site FONSI Approved (Ind. Report)
    Velocys
    Date: 2018-08-10
    UK-headquartered landfill gas-to-liquid fuels and chemicals producer Velocys Plc Velocys plc reports the USDA has issued a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) ruling on the environmental assessment report for Velocys' planned Bayou Fuels biorefinery in Natchez, Mississippi. With the FONSI process completed, Velocys will now focus on securing the requisite state-level permits to construct and operate the biorefinery.

    The 100-acre Natchez biorefinery will use Velocys' technology to produce low-carbon transportation fuels from the wood wastes of lumbering operations and tree plantations. The plant is expected to convert locally-sourced woody biomass waste into enough renewable fuel to meet the annual demands of running around 40,000 diesel and gasoline trucks. (Source: Velocys Plc, PR, 7 Aug., 2018)Contact: Velocys Plc, David Pummell, CEO, +44 1235 841 700, (713) 275-5840 -- Houston Office, info@velocys.com, www.velocys.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Velocys,  Woody Biomass,  Biofuel,  


    USDA Offers Biorefinery, Biochemical Loan Guarantees (Ind. Report)
    USDA
    Date: 2018-08-10
    The USDA's Rural Business-Cooperative Service is soliciting applications for the Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical, and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program.

    The program provides loan guarantees of up to $250 million to fund the development, construction, and retrofitting of commercial-scale biorefineries using eligible technology. It can also be used to help fund the development of biobased product manufacturing facilities that use technologically new commercial-scale processing and manufacturing equipment to convert renewable chemicals and other biobased outputs of biorefineries into end-user products on a commercial scale.

    Download details and Notice of Solicitation of Applications for the Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical, and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program HERE. (Source: USDA Rural Business-Cooperative Service, Aug., 2018) Contact: USDA Rural Business-Cooperative Service, www.rd.usda.gov/about-rd/agencies/rural-business-cooperative-service

    More Low-Carbon Energy News USDA,  Biofuel,  Biochemical,  Bioenergy,  


    Alaska Energy Audit Program Extended (Ind. Report)
    Alaska Energy Authority
    Date: 2018-08-03
    In Anchorage, the Alaska Energy Authority (AEA) reports it has extended the open application period for the USDA-funded Commercial Building Energy Audit program for commercially owned buildings located in rural Alaska i.e., outside of the Municipality of Anchorage. The new deadline is Sept. 30, 2018.

    According to the AEA, nonresidential buildings consume more than half the building energy use in Alaska, and the majority of these buildings are privately owned. The Commercial Building Energy Audit program is designed to pay up to 75 pct of the cost of an ASHRAE level 1+ energy audit performed on privately owned commercial buildings. The audit cost is set by the building size and ranges from $600 for buildings up to 3,000 square feet up to $2,100 for buildings over 20,000 square feet.

    The AEA reports that results of past similar programs indicate average energy savings of roughly 1/3 resulting from economic efficiency investments with average simple paybacks of just over six years. (Source: Alaska Energy Authority , The News, 2 Aug., 2018) Contact; Alaska Energy Efficiency Map, www.akenergyefficiencymap.org, Alaska Energy Authority, (888) 300-8534, www.akenergyauthority.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Energy Efficiency news,  


    Climate-Smart Farming in the Show Me State (Report Attached)
    Carbon Emissions
    Date: 2018-07-30
    According to a report from the nonprofit climate science group Climate Central, Show Me state farmers could help cut Missouri's contribution to climate change by planting more cover crops, using rotation grazing and tilling practices that store carbon from the atmosphere in the soil.

    The report estimates that Missouri could save up to 6.5 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year -- more than twice the amount of emissions the city of Columbia emits in a year.

    Agriculture represents the U.S.'s fifth largest contributor to climate change, according to the EPA. In 2016, the USDA gave $1.7 million to farmers to help plant more cover crops.

    Download the full Climate-Smart Farming in the Show Me State report HERE. (Source: Climate Central, St.Louis Public Radio, 27 July, 2018) Contact: Climate Central, www.climatecentral.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Carbon Emissions,  


    Midwest AgEnergy Funded for Barley Biofuel R&D (Ind. Report)
    Midwest AgEnergy Group
    Date: 2018-07-23
    North Dakota ethanol producer Midwest AgEnergy Group reports the North Dakota Industrial Commission has approved more than $83,000 in grant funding to investigate using barley for biofuel and a feed product for commercial fisheries. The grant came from the Renewable Energy Program, which was established in 2007 to support research, development, marketing and education to grow renewable energy.

    The concept for the barley biofuel was developed and pilot tested by Montana Microbial Products in partnership with the USDA. Midwest AgEnergy's project would study the feasibility of barley biofuels and conduct initial engineering and design work for scaling production to a commercial level. (Source: Midwest AdEnergy LLC, Bismark Tribune, 21 July, 2018) Contact: Midwest AgEnergy LLC, Jeff Zueger, CEO, (701) 442-7500, www.midwestagenergy.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Midwest AgEnergy Group ,  DDGs,  Ethanol,  


    Grassland Carbon Credits Fund Carbon Sinks (Ind. Report)
    Environmental Defense Fund,
    Date: 2018-07-18
    In San Francisco, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is reporting the sale of the first listed grassland carbon credits that will allow the Southern Plains Land Trust to restore and preserve two Colorado ranches that sequester 8,000 metric tpy of soil.

    The EDF facilitated the development and sale of the credits with the help of a Conservation Innovation Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Natural Capital Partners purchased the credits on behalf of its client Microsoft, which began a carbon neutrality program in 2012.

    Grassland carbon credits reward landowners for retaining soil carbon and avoiding the emissions associated with converting grasslands into croplands. Grassland projects also provide ecosystem benefits such as habitat for threatened species.

    The Climate Action Reserve's Grassland Project Protocol uses biogeochemical modeling and emissions factors to quantify carbon that would be released from the soil if the land were tilled. Offsets are then generated for preserved belowground soil carbon, avoided use of nitrogen-based fertilizers and avoided use of carbon-emitting machinery for crop cultivation. (Source: EDF, 17 July, 2018) Contact: Environmental Defense Fund, www.edf.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Environmental Defense Fund,  USDA,  Carbon Credit,  


    Aemetis Riverbank Biorefinery Touted World's #1 Waste-to-Value Project (Ind. Report)
    Aemetis
    Date: 2018-06-20
    Cupertino, California-based Aemetis, Inc. reports that the publication Biofuels Digest has awarded the Aemetis cellulosic ethanol facility under development at the Riverbank site in California as the "#1 Waste-to-Value Project in the world." The Aemetis facility earned its #1 project ranking as a result of its low cost contracted inputs, high value outputs, proven process technology and a planned $125 million USDA guaranteed loan. The facility was ranked above high profile and funded advanced biofuels projects including those developed by Fulcrum, Red Rock, Clariant, Poet and Enerkem.

    Biofuels Digest noted that the Aemetis Riverbank project combines the best technology from leading technology providers LanzaTech and InEnTec with the local availability of waste orchard wood and other feedstock that can be used to produce Aemetis' high value cellulosic ethanol and valuable byproducts.

    Aemetis owns and operates a 60 million gallon per year ethanol production facility in California's Central Valley, near Modesto. Aemetis also owns and operates a 50 million gpy renewable chemical and advanced fuel production facility in India producing distilled biodiesel and refined glycerin for the Indian, US and European markets. The company also operates an R&D laboratory, and holds a portfolio of patents and related technology licenses for the production of renewable fuels and biochemicals. (Source: Aemetis, PR, 19 June, 2018) Contact: Aemetis, Todd Waltz, (408) 213-0940, investors@aemetis.com, www.aemetis.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Fuel,  BiochemicalAemetis,  Ethanol,  Cellulosic Ethanol,  Biofuel,  


    Kreussler Earns USDA Certified Biobased Product Label (Ind Report)
    USDA Certified Biobased Product
    Date: 2018-06-13
    In the Sunshine State, Tampa-based bio-hemicals firm Kreussler Inc. reports it has earned the USDA Certified Biobased Product Label for it's SOLVONK4 product. the Biobased Product Label identifies a product's percentage of biobased content.

    Third-party verified Biobased Product Label is administered through the USDA BioPreferred Program, which aims to increase the development, purchase, and use of biobased products.

    According to the USDA, biobased products contributed $393 billion to the U.S. economy in 2014, directly and indirectly supported 4.2 million jobs, and displaced up to 6.8 million barrels of oil. The BioPreferred Program spans a diverse range of applications including lubricants, cleaning products, chemicals, and bioplastics. More than 3,000 products have earned the USDA Certified Biobased Product label, (Source: Kesussler Inc., PR, 12 June, 2018) Contact: Kreussler Inc. Richard Fitzpatrick, VP, (603) 721-9478, richard.fitzpatrick@kreussler.com, www.kreussler.com; USDA BioPreferred® Program, Vernell Thompson, 202.720.4145, Vernell.Thompson@dm.usda.gov; visit www.kreussler.com, SOURCE Kreussler Inc. USDA Certified Biobased Product Label, www.biopreferred.gov, http://twitter.com/BioPreferred.

    More Low-Carbon Energy News USDA Certified Biobased Product,  Biochemical,  


    NCGA Commends Efforts to Protect RFS (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    NCGA
    Date: 2018-06-08
    Following White House postponement of potential damaging changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard, NCGA President and North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes thanked those who stood up for America's corn farmers.

    "The nation's corn growers thank Senator Chuck Grassley, Senator Joni Ernst and USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue for their advocacy and steadfast support for farmers, rural communities and renewable fuels. We greatly appreciate their efforts.

    "With the expectation that the Administration was preparing to take drastic actions to unravel the RFS, farmers are very pleased those actions have been set aside and strongly encourage the Administration to keep the President's commitment to America's farmers and (leave) the RFS intact." (Source: NCGA, Wisc. AgConnection, 7 June, 2018) Contact: National Corn Growers Association, Kevin Skunes, Pres., (202) 326-0644, www.ncga.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Biofuels,  NCGA,  


    Geo. Fox Univ. Lands USDA Renewable Energy Grant (Funding)
    George Fox University
    Date: 2018-06-06
    In Newberg, Oregon, George Fox University is reporting receipt of $100,000 in grant funding from the USDA Rural Development Assistance agency to develop ways to help small farmers and vintners improve their energy efficiency and adopt renewable energy technology.

    The university is collaborating with Spark Northwest, a Seattle-based nonprofit organization dedicated to renewable energy development. Funding will be provided by the USDA over two years, beginning this fall. The grant positions the university for future USDA funding at the "energy-food-water-climate nexus" including precision agriculture, field drones and sensors and digitizing data. ((Source: George Fox University, Capital Press, 5 June, 2018) Contact: George Fox University, Bob Harding, Dean of the College of Engineering , (503)538-8383, www.georgefox.edu

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Energy Efficiency,  Renewable Energy,  


    Growth Energy Comments on EPA, USDA RFS Meeting (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    Growth Energy
    Date: 2018-05-25
    Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor released the following statement before Thursday's meeting between the US EPA and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to discuss President Trump's plan to preserve U.S. biofuel production:

    "We're pleased the USDA is taking up the president's call to action and pressing for an immediate E15 fix, before the start of the summer driving season. As Secretary (Sonny) Perdue has noted, a flood of illegitimate waivers from the EPA has resulted in 'demand destruction' for U.S. farmers at a time when rural communities can least afford it. Even petroleum giants like Marathon are now expecting 'small refinery' handouts.

    "Regulators should, instead, focus on the president's plan to reallocate lost biofuel gallons that were siphoned away by EPA waivers. President Trump promised to protect statutory targets under the Renewwable Fuel Standard (RFS), and we support Secretary Perdue's efforts to ensure the EPA upholds that commitment to rural families.

    "There is no reason to delay action or attach unrelated gimmicks designed to benefit a few refinery owners. EPA Administrator (Scott) Pruitt should stand by his word in 2017, when he vowed not to pursue an export scheme that would cannibalize demand for U.S. biofuels, destroy farm income, and spark retaliatory tariffs against the entire fuel and farm supply chain." (Source: Grwoth Energy, SCD, 24 May, 2018)Contact: Growth Energy, Emily Skor, CEO, (202) 545-4000, www.growthenergy.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Growth Energy,  Biofuel,  

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