Wetland Easements -- totaling over 2.8 million acres nationwide -- improve water quality by filtering sediments and chemicals, reducing flooding, recharging groundwater, protecting biological diversity while Agricultural Land Easements protect productive working lands being converted to non-agricultural uses. Agricultural land easements total more than 1.9 million acres.
Working with private landowners to protect, preserve and restore wetlands, grasslands, forests and farmlands is integral to USDA's efforts to build resiliency and reduce the impacts of climate change across the nation. Easements allow landowners to partner with NRCS to implement voluntary climate-smart management practices that maximize the amount of carbon sequestered from the atmosphere and stored in soils or plant biomass across these landscapes.
The Biden Administration USDA is engaged in a "whole-of-government effort to combat the climate crisis and conserve and protect our nation's lands, biodiversity and natural resources including our soil, air and water."
(Source: USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, PR, 3 April, 2021) Contact: USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Terry Cosby, Acting Chief, 202-690-7246, www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/site/national/home
More Low-Carbon Energy News USDA, Carbon Sequestration,
The threes projects include roughly 1,000 KW projects in the towns of
Caribou and Fairfield and a 4,000 KW project in Skowhegan. (Source: Ridgfield Press, 21 Mar., 2021) Contact: ASP2 Rural, www. opencorporates.com/companies/us_me/20200694DC;
USDA Electric Infrastructure Loan and Loan Guarantee Program, www.rd.usda.gov/factsheet/electric-infrastructure-loan-loan-guarantee-program
More Low-Carbon Energy News Solar,
"In the first HBIIP funding opportunity, the Renewable Fuels Association was able to assist applicants secure funding in 22 states which will result in over $50 million in new ethanol infrastructure and bring almost 1,200 new blender dispensers to the marketplace. RFA was front-and-center once again on this second round, working up to the final hour to assist as many retailers as we could. In the end, we helped 11 companies in seven states submit applications for 47 locations that could result in 233 new higher blend dispensers where consumers can enjoy the benefits of higher ethanol blends.
"According to the USDA, HBIIP was created to increase significantly the sales and use of higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel by expanding the infrastructure for renewable fuels. The program is also intended to encourage a more comprehensive approach to market higher blends by sharing the costs related to building out biofuel-related infrastructure.
"For retailers, HBIIP can provide the extra support needed to bring higher blends into their marketplace. The cost-share grants provide up to 50 percent of total eligible project costs, not to exceed $3 million per applicant. The program will share the costs related to the upgrading of fuel dispensers (gas and diesel pumps), associated ancillary equipment, and other infrastructure necessary for a location to ensure the environmentally safe availability of fuel containing ethanol blends greater than 10 percent such as E15 and E85 or fuel containing biodiesel blends greater than 5 percent.
"We're looking forward to seeing this new round of grants announced and fulfilled, so we can help retailers move more low-carbon ethanol into fuel tanks around the country. For those retailers that might have missed out on this funding opportunity, there are some states and individual renewable fuel advocates that offer funding throughout the year. Please reach out to RFA for assistance in navigating these opportunities." (Source: Renewable Fuels Association , 3 Feb. 2021) Contact: Renewable Fuels Association,
Cassie Mullen, Dir. Market Development, www.ethanolrfa.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News USDA, HBIIP, Renewable Fuels Association, Ethanol Blend,
According to the USDA Climate Change Resource Center, grasslands cover approximately 25 pct of the earth's surface, contain nearly 12 pct of the land-based carbon stocks and are essential in supporting food and livestock production. Yet, citing the expansion of pasture lands and higher livestock numbers, researchers warn current management of grasslands is accelerating climate change.
Until recently, natural and managed grasslands emitted and removed an equal amount of greenhouse gases, canceling each other out. Researchers from the Austria-based International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) investigated how these fluctuations in greenhouse gases have contributed to climate change in both managed pastures and natural grasslands, between the years of 1750 and 2012. The IIASA researchers found that the ability for natural and sparsely grazed grasslands to absorb more carbon has intensified while grasslands heavily managed by humans became a source of greenhouse gases, emitting similar quantities of greenhouse gases to that of croplands.
While nearly half of all temperate grasslands and 16 pct of tropical grasslands have been transformed for agricultural or industrial use and conserving grasslands to preserve soil health and reduce emissions from managed grasslands could deliver a significant reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the study.
Download the Climate Warming from Managed Grasslands Cancels Cooling Effect of Carbon Sinks in Sparsely Grazed and Natural Grasslands report HERE. (Source: Nature Communications, EcoWatch, 6 Jan., 2020) Contact: USDA Climate Change Resource Center, www.fs.usda.gov/ccrc; International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, www.iiasa.ac.at
More Low-Carbon Energy News Carbon Emissions, Climate Change, Carbon Sink,
The USDA offers multiple financing programs to assist communities with sustainability and growth efforts, including utilities expansion. TCLP has already successfully worked with USDA in recent months, becoming the first municipal utility in the country to receive a USDA loan to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy.
If approved, the USDA loan will enable TCLP to drawn down funds as the project proceeds rather than assume the entire debt upfront. (Source: TCLP, PR, Website, The Ticker, 4 Jan., 2020)
Contact: Traverse City Light & Power, Tim Arends, 231-922-4940, www.tclp.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News Traverse City Light & Power, Smart Grid, Energy Efficiency,
The first round of HBIIP grants was announced in May 2020 to expand the sale and use of ethanol and biodiesel fuels and share the costs related to and/or offering sales incentives for the installation of fueling equipment.
(Source: USDA, PR, 18 Dec., 2020) Contact: USDA Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program,www.rd.usda.gov/hbiip
Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Programme
More Low-Carbon Energy News USDA, HBIIP,
EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler stated that the agency would not act on waiver requests for compliance years since 2019 until ongoing court challenges to prior decisions are settled.
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. Under the now vanquished administrator Greg Pruitt's direction, the EPA handed out 54 exemptions over two years and not a single request for an exemption was denied.
On Sept 18 we reported Trump had suggested he'd provide $300 million to oil refiners and that those funds would come out of the USDA Commodity Credit Corp. (CCC) which is intended to provide farmers with Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments. Trump later denied suggesting cash payments to refineries whose waiver applications had been rejected. (Source: EPA, Various Media, 19 Nov., 2020)
More Low-Carbon Energy News EPA, Renewable Fuel Standard, , Hardship Waiver, Biofuel Blending,
The grant was awarded through the USDA Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP), which offers $22 million in grants with the expectation to increase national ethanol demand by roughly 150 million gpy. (Source: Cerea Solutions, NewsBug, 16 Nov., 2020) Contact: Ceres Solutions, Jeff Troika, Pres., CEO, www.ceres.coop;
USDA Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program, www.rd.usda.gov/hbiip
More Low-Carbon Energy News HBIIP, E15, E85, Biofuel Blend,
Prepared and released by the World Agricultural Outlook Board (WAOB) , the monthly WASDE provides annual forecasts for U.S. and world wheat, rice, coarse grains, oilseeds, cotton, sugar, meat, poultry, eggs, and milk. The WAOB chairs the Interagency Commodity Estimates Committees (ICECs), which include analysts from key USDA agencies who compile and interpret information from USDA and other domestic and foreign sources to produce the report. (Source: USDA, Nov., 2020) Contact: USDA, World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates , www.usda.gov/oce/commodity/wasde
More Low-Carbon Energy News Soybean Oil, Biodiesel,
In her comments, Skor argued that biofuels like ethanol play a critical role in achieving the USDA's goals and called for building on current investments to expand renewable fuels role in the nation's transportation infrastructure. "Supporting programs like the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and initiatives to expand access to higher biofuel blends like E15, E30, and E85 can build on biofuels' environmental progress and expand the market for American agriculture,", said Skor. "USDA's Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP) is a prime example how the agency can support the productivity of our farmers, while decreasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and encouraging further adoption of sustainable farming practices across our agriculture sector."
Skor also notes the biofuels industry's continued advancements to capture CO2 and the plant-based fuel's ability to replace harmful toxics and improve air quality. "We have a better option in ethanol, the single most affordable and abundant alternative to petroleum-based fuel additives that threaten air quality in communities across the globe. To expand on these benefits, USDA should continue to promote programs that boost biofuels access and use throughout the country.
As the department works to streamline programs and seek opportunities to improve sustainable farming across the country, Skor encouraged USDA to continue exploring the strong link between U.S. agriculture and our biofuels industry, and promote the increased use of biofuels so our nation's farmers can continue to rely on these markets as we work to reduce the environmental impact of the agriculture sector.
The organizations have asked the United States District Court for the District of Columbia to order the following: EPA should not withhold the name of the company submitting an application for an SRE nor the name and location of the refinery for which relief is requested; EPA should immediately produce the information that was unlawfully withheld for Renewable Fuel Standard compliance years 2015, 2016, and 2017, and; EPA should not withhold any of the five data elements identified in the proposed Renewables Enhancement and Growth Support (REGS) rule (Source: Growth Energy, Website PR , 28 Oct., 2020)
Contact: Growth Energy, Emily Skor, (202) 545-4000, www.growthenergy.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News Growth Energy, USDA, RFS, Biofuel,
In her comments, Skor argued that biofuels play a critical role in achieving the department's goals and called for building on current investments to expand renewables fuels' role in the nation's transportation infrastructure.
"Supporting programs like the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and initiatives to expand access to higher biofuel blends can build on biofuels' environmental progress and expand the market for American agriculture. USDA's Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP) is a prime example of how the agency can support the productivity of our farmers while decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and encouraging further adoption of sustainable farming practices across our agriculture sector," Skor noted.
Growth Energy is the world's largest association of biofuel producers representing 89 U.S. plants that produce more than 7.5 billion gpy of renewable fuel, 96 businesses associated with the production process, and tens of thousands of biofuel supporters across the country, according to its website.
Download Skorr's full comments HERE. (Source: Growth Energy, Website PR, 28 Oct., 2020)
Contact: Growth Energy, Emily Skor, CEO, (202) 545-4000, www.growthenergy.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News Growth Energy, Biofuel, USDA, RFS, Biofuel Blends, HBIIP,
"This announcement offers a welcome ray of hope during an otherwise rough year for America's farmers, retailers and biofuel producers. It represents a major milestone in our efforts to ensure more Americans can access cleaner and more affordable ethanol-blended fuel. We're grateful to Secretary Perdue, USDA, and our congressional champions who are working tirelessly to make higher ethanol blends a success.
We're especially proud of Growth Energy's incredible network of retail partners, who bring Unleaded88 (E15) to consumers across the nation and are paving the way for higher blends of ethanol," Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor said. (Source: Growth Energy, PR, Oct., 2020)
More Low-Carbon Energy News E15 news, Growth Energy news, Ethanol news, Ethanol Blend news, HBIIP news,
HBIIP helps fuel and biodiesel distribution centers convert to higher ethanol and biodiesel blends through equipment and infrastructure improvements cost sharing. Gas stations, fleet facilities, fuel terminal operations and other industry players are eligible to apply for HBIIP grant funds.
These funds were made available through the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP) to recipients in 14 states. The initial $22 million in HBIIP investments are projected to increase ethanol demand by nearly 150 million gpy.
HBIIP helps transportation fueling and biodiesel distribution facilities convert to higher ethanol and biodiesel blends by sharing the costs related to the installation of fuel pumps, related equipment and infrastructure. Eligible applicants are vehicle fueling facilities, including, but not limited to, local fueling stations/locations, convenience stores, hypermarket fueling stations, fleet facilities, fuel terminal operations, midstream partners and/or distribution facilities. Higher biofuel blends are fuels containing ethanol greater than 10 pct by volume and/or fuels containing biodiesel blends greater than 5 pct by volume.
Domesticated, commercially grown pennycress could be grown as a cold-resistant, high-yield oilseed crop across the central United States, where nearly 80 million acres of land devoted to corn and soybeans sit dormant in the winter months.
This research has been ongoing for 10 years with the latest grant awarded in 2020. Illinois State researchers are currently working under the umbrella of the Integrated Pennycress Research Enabling Farm and Energy Resilience (IPREFER) program with colleagues at Western Illinois University, the University of Minnesota, The Ohio State University, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, and the St. Louis-based crop development company CoverCress Inc.
Download Integrated Pennycress Research Enabling Farm and Energy Resilience (IPREFER) program details HERE
(Source: Illinois State University, 1 Oct., 2020) Contact: Illinois State Univ., Professor John Sedbrook, (309) 438-3374, (309) 438-3722 -- fax, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.illinoisstate.edu
More Low-Carbon Energy News Pennycress, Biofuel,
USDA is investing in 17 rural small businesses and agricultural producers through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Grants and Guaranteed Loans. Investments can used for renewable energy systems such as wind, solar, biomass, geothermal and hydropower. REAP funding can also be used for energy audits and to make energy efficiency improvements to heating, ventilation and cooling systems, insulation, lighting and refrigeration.
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 Rural Development, Salina Post, 26 Sept., 2020) Contact: USDA Rural Development, www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/rural-energy-america-program-renewable-energy-systems-energy-efficiency/mn, www.rd.usda.gov/ks
More Low-Carbon Energy News USDA Rural Development, Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency,
In a blatant move to win support and placate the biofuels and refinery interests, Trump has suggested he'd provide $300 million to oil refiners and that those funds would come out of the USDA Commodity Credit Corp. (CCC) which is intended to provide farmers with Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments.
Commenting on Trump's possible cash payments to refiners scheme, former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said he "strongly expects that no action will be taken on the remaining waivers until after the election." Vilsack was critical of the reports that the President indicated that he would offer $300 million through the CCC fund in lieu of the waiver approvals, as the CCC is designed specifically to be used by USDA for the purpose of helping farmers.
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. (Source: EPA, Feedstuffs, 17 Sept., 2020)
More Low-Carbon Energy News Trump, RFS, Refinery Waivers, Biofuel Blend, Tom Vilsack ,
As previously reported, NCGA also recently partnered with the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), assisting fuel retailers in applying for the USDA Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP). The $100 million program included $86 million to expand the availability of higher blends of ethanol, like E15 and E85.
NCGA support for this program helped deliver program awareness and technical assistance for applications representing more than 1,100 fuel dispensers across 21 states and 222 locations dispensing more than 250 million gallons of gasoline annually. (Source: NCGA, Sept., 2020) Contact: NCGA, PR, Wayne Fueling Systems, (512) 388-8311, www.wayne.com; National Corn Growers Assoc., Mark Palmer, Renewable Fuels Dir., (636) 733-9004, (636) 733-9005-fax, email@example.com, www.ncga.com
More Low-Carbon Energy News National Corn Growers Association, Ethanol Blend, E15, E85 ,
John Field, research scientist at the Natural Resource Ecology Lab at CSU, said it has been a challenge for the biofuel industry to demonstrate commercial viability for cellulosic biofuels created from switchgrass and other non-edible plants.
The research team used modeling to simulate switchgrass cultivation, cellulosic biofuel production and carbon capture and storage (CCS), tracking ecosystem and carbon flows. Scientists then compared this modeling to alternative ways to store carbon on the land, including growing forest or grassland.
CCS technology is being used by at least one facility in Illinois that is processing corn to ethanol as a conventional biofuel to create ethanol, but these systems are not yet widespread. As part of the study, researchers created models to simulate what this would look like at a cellulosic biofuel refinery. "What we found is that around half of the carbon in the switchgrass that comes into the refinery becomes a byproduct that would be available for carbon capture and storage. The resulting byproduct streams of high-purity CO2 would not require much separation or clean-up before being stored underground," the study noted.
The research team analyzed three contrasting U.S. case studies and found that on land where farmers or land managers were transitioning out of growing crops or maintaining pastures for grazing, cultivating switchgrass for cellulosic ethanol production had a per-hectare mitigation potential comparable to reforestation and several-fold greater than grassland restoration.
Using switchgrass can be particularly helpful in parts of the country where planting more trees is not an option.
This research was partially funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the US DOE via the Center for Bioenergy Innovation, and the Sao Paulo Research Foundation in Brazil.
The study illustrates how deliberate land use choices support the climate performance of present-day cellulosic ethanol technology and how technological advancements and CCS addition could produce several times the climate mitigation potential of competing land-based biological mitigation schemes. These results affirm the climate mitigation logic of biofuels, consistent with their prominent role in many climate stabilization scenarios, the study concludes.
(Source: Colorado State University, Green Car Congress, Aug., 2020) Contact: Colorado State University, Natural Resource Ecology Lab, John Field, (970) 491-1604,
More Low-Carbon Energy News Advanced Biofuel, Cellulosic Biofuel, Switchgrass,
AIREAGO Corp. is a construction technology small business that designs, builds, and improves furniture, tools, and structures in Bloomingburg. The investment of $20,000 in grant funding will be used to purchase and install a 46.97 KW solar energy system.
Ellenville's 209 Storage Vault, Inc. is receiving $15,011 in grant funding that will be used to purchase and install a 24-kW solar energy array. 209 Storage Vault is a self-storage facility. This project will realize $3,668 per year in savings and will replace 26,198 kWh per year.
USDA Rural Development loans and grants support infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety, and others. (Source: USDA Rural Development, Mid-Hudson News, 30 Aug., 2020)
Contact: USDA Rural Development, www.rd.usda.gov
More Low-Carbon Energy News USDA Rural Development, Renewable Energy,
The individual grants range from roughly $8,000 to $100,000 with an average in the $35,000 range.
(Source: USDA, Rural Energy for America Progam, WABI, 27 Aug., 2020) Contact: USDA, Rural Energy for America Progam, www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/rural-energy-america-program-renewable-energy-systems-energy-efficiency
More Low-Carbon Energy News USDA Rural Energy for America Progam,
The researchers see abundant possibilities for RNG in Iowa and beyond to address greenhouse gas emissions and to diversify farm income and reduce pollution in the state's waterways.
The development of biofuels is a major recommendation in Iowa's 2016 energy plan and the state economic development authority's 2018 Biomass Conversion Action Plan which has been funding research into various anaerobic digestion techniques.
According to a 2013 National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) inventory, Iowa produces more manure than any other state but the sources are not sufficiently concentrated to make digestion feasible or economically profitable.
Researchers hope to enhance the efficiency, reduce the costs and create ancillary income streams that will persuade farmers in Iowa and beyond to add AD to their operations. To that end, the researchers will explore the use of mixed prairie grasses and winter cover crops, such as annual rye, for AD.
The project is funded with a $10 million grant from the USDA. (Source: Iowa State University, PR, Aug., 2020) Contact: Iowa State University, Prof. Lisa Schulte Moore, Natural Resource Ecology and Management, (515) 294-7339, , www.iastate.edu
More Low-Carbon Energy News Iowa State University , RNG, Biogas, Anaerobic Digestion,
The ARS team's efforts are part of a broader umbrella effort to create new, value-added markets for agricultural commodities, especially those that serve as sustainable alternatives to petroleum-based fuels.
In laboratory trials, the researchers produced 11-14 grams of butanol per liter of lesquerella presscake. The total chemical production (combined butanol, acetone and ethanol) was 19 to 29 grams per liter -- a nearly 67 pct increase over using corn and glucose sources to produce these three same chemicals. The research team plans on scaling-up their experiments using two-liter bioreactors and, if successful, even larger ones.
Keeping feedstock costs down is key to making butanol competitive with gasoline, he added. At $25 a ton or less, lesquerella presscake would command a selling price of $2.27 or less a gallon -- about a dollar less than from sweet sorghum, another promising feedstock source, according to the release.
(Source: National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research, PR, Aug., 2020)
Contact: National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research, Nasib Qureshi, Chemical Engineer, www.ars.usda.gov/midwest-area/peoria-il/national-center-for-agricultural-utilization-research
More Low-Carbon Energy News National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research,
"We are grateful Senate leaders have responded to our request for economic relief to biofuel producers in the phase four stimulus, however, Congress gave USDA the flexibility to provide relief for renewable fuel producers in the last package and USDA declined to exercise it. While Senator McConnell's bill is more specific about processors of ag commodities, it still leaves discretion to USDA which has so far failed to use the authority to support our industry.
"As I stated in my recent letter to Senators McConnell and Schumer, direct aid for biofuel producers is long overdue. That is why we support and urged inclusion of the Grassley-Klobuchar bill which makes direct assistance certain. Ethanol producers have acted as an economic bridge for U.S. farmers when they purchased corn before the extent of the pandemic was known. It is only fair to aid the ethanol industry which has fronted cash to farm economies.
"We will continue to urge for more specific language in the final bill. Fortunately, momentum appears to be in our favor since both the House-passed Heroes Act and Senate proposal contain relief provisions. Now we need to ensure the legislative details are correct as there should be no reason direct assistance for ethanol producers doesn't make it in the final phase four bill.
ACE urges grassroots advocates to contact their lawmakers and ask them to include biofuel producer relief in the final coronavirus relief package and to get it done before the August recess." (Source: American Coalition for Ethanol, 29 July, 2020) Contact: American Coalition for Ethanol, Brian Jennings, CEO, (605) 334-3381, www.ethanol.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News American Coalition for Ethanol, Ethanol Biofuel,
C-CHANGE researchers are developing new ways for farmers to produce RNG that could be used as an energy source both on and off farms. The project focuses on anaerobic digestion (AD) and new separation technologies, allowing biogas to be upgraded to RNG and distributed through the gas pipeline network.
The project director on the transdisciplinary and multi-institutional grant is Lisa Schulte Moore, a professor of natural resource ecology and management and associate director of the Bioeconomy Institute at Iowa State. According to Schulte Moore, the consortium will develop methods for farmers to make more efficient use of resources. (Source: USDA National Institute for Food and Agricultural, PR, July, 2020)Contact: Roeslein Alternative Energy, (314) 729-0055, www.roesleinalternativeenergy.com
More Low-Carbon Energy News Roeslein Alternative Energy, Anaerobic Digestion, RNG,
The bill creates a certification program at USDA so that farmers and forest landowners can better participate in voluntary carbon credit markets that can help land managers pay for conservation practices, which in turn could help to store carbon in soil, trees, and ecosystem restoration projects.
The bill's lead sponsor, Senator Mike Braun, (R-IN) serving on the Senate Agriculture Committee, is joined by Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), along with Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI.) The American Farm Bureau Federation, National Farmers Union, National Milk Producers Federation, Environmental Defense Fund, World Wildlife Fund, McDonald's, and Microsoft are among the bill's supporters. (Source: Daily Yonder, 7 July, 2020)
More Low-Carbon Energy News Carbon Credit, USDA, Carbon Credit Market,
USDA plans to make available up to $100 million in competitive grants for activities designed to expand the sale and availability of ethanol and biodiesel fuels. The funds will be directly available to help transportation fueling and biodiesel distribution facilities convert to higher ethanol and biodiesel blends by sharing the costs related to the installation of fuel pumps, related equipment and infrastructure.
"We thank the USDA for its efforts to support the future of renewable fuels." -- Geoff Cooper, CEO, Pres., Renewable Fuels Association
Cooper was commenting on the USDA's just announced $100 million grant program for activities designed to expand the availability and sale of higher blends of ethanol like E15 and E85, as well as other renewable fuel blends. (Source: RFA, PR, Various Media, 4 May, 2020) Contact: Renewable Fuels Association, Geoff Cooper, (202) 289-3835, www.ethanolrfa.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News Ethanol, USDA, Ethanol Infrastructure, Renewable Fuels Association ,
According to the USDA release, funds will be made directly available to assist transportation and fueling and biodiesel distribution facilities with converting to higher ethanol and biodiesel blends by sharing the costs related to and/or offering sales incentives for the installation of fuel pumps, related equipment and infrastructure. distribution facilities.
Of the total $100 million, $86 million will be available for implementation activities related to ethanol blends above E10 and $14 million will be available for implementation activities related to blends of biodiesel above B5. Grants for up to 50 percent of total eligible projects costs, up to $5 million, are available to vehicle fueling facilities, including local fueling stations/locations, convenience stores, hypermarket fueling stations, fleet facilities, fuel terminal operations, midstream partners and/or distribution facilities.
The agency expects the $100 million in funding to support approximately 150 awards and provide assistance to approximately 1,500 locations.
As an aside, Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper offered the following statement in response: "U.S. ethanol producers today are facing the worst economic conditions in the industry's 40-year history due to COVID-19, and they need immediate emergency relief to survive this catastrophe. Once the pandemic is over and fuel markets are showing signs of recovery, expanding infrastructure via the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program will be important to the long-term future of the ethanol industry and rural America. We thank the USDA for its efforts to support the future of renewable fuels."
(Source: USDA, May, 2020)Contact: USDA, Sonny Perdue, Sec., www.usda.gov; Renewable Fuels Association, Geoff Cooper, (202) 289-3835, www.ethanolrfa.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Fuels Association, USDA, Biofuel, Biofuel Blend,
The Forest Service scientists quantified the contribution of forests, harvested wood products, and urban trees to carbon capture and storage. They found that, collectively, these natural systems account for more than 95 pct of Earth's terrestrial carbon sink. The atmospheric carbon absorbed by forests, harvested wood, and urban trees is equal to more than 11 pct of the total greenhouse gas emissions in the United States each year between 1990 and 2018.
Download the Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Removals from Forest Land, Woodlands, and Urban Trees in the United States, 1990-2018 report HERE. (Source: USDA Forest Service, April, 2020) Contact: U.S. Forest Service, www.fs.usda.gov
More Low-Carbon Energy News CCS, USDA Forest Service, Carbon Emissions,
The Wood Innovations Grant program advances innovations in wood energy and products that create jobs, revitalize local economies and support sustainable forest land management. Selected projects include:
Access Wood Innovations Grant Program details HERE
(Source: US Forest Service, PR, 16 April, 2020) Contact: US Forest Service, www.fs.usda.gov
More Low-Carbon Energy News U.S. Forest Service, Biomass, Woody Biomass,
Biofuels producers were not included in the aid package, although the sector consumes approximately 40 pct of America's total annual corn crop.
In the 2018/2019 crop marketing year, (Sept. 1- Aug. 31) the U.S. grew more than 14.42 billion bushels (366 million metric tons) of corn.
(Source: USDA, nexstar, 21 April, 2020)Contact: USDA, Sonny Perdue, Sec., www.usda.gov
More Low-Carbon Energy News Biofuel, Sonny Perdue, USDA, Corn, Corn Ethanol,
"USDA reported last week that U.S. ethanol exports increased slightly year-over-year to 812 million gallons (288 million bushels in corn equivalent) for the first six months of the marketing year (Sept. 2019-Feb. 2020). "Brazil remained the top export destination at 201 million gallons (71.3 million bushels in corn equivalent), despite a small decline due to the restructuring of Brazil's tariff rate quota (TRQ) and a strengthening U.S. dollar. The EU had a notable 28 pct increase from 2018/2019 imports at 79 million gallons (28 million bushels in corn equivalent).
"These data points were not able to take into account the still-developing impacts of COVID-19 and oil production disputes, which have led to deep decreases in demand for gasoline and shifts in the relationship between oil and ethanol prices.
"Compounding the overall demand decline, the lack of an agreement on crude production between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia sent shock waves across global energy markets and is contributing to shortages in a critical component to the industry -- storage.
"To date, U.S. ethanol weekly ending stocks are at a record high, and the United States remains positioned to supply customers globally. (Source: US Grains Council, PR, 13 April, 2020) Contact: US Grains Council,
Brian Healy, Global Ethanol Market Development, (202) 789-0789, (202) 898-0522, www.grains.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News U.S. Grains Council, Ethanol,
Dear Secretary Perdue,
"The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided USDA with additional resources to support farm income and prices during this economic downturn. The CARES Act included a reimbursement of $14 billion to the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), and $9.5 billion for the Secretary to respond to the economic impacts of COVID-19. As the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prepares to address financial hardship in agriculture, we urge you to use funds from the CARES Act to provide direct relief to the biofuels industry.
"Demand for fuel is declining as states implement stay-at-home orders and discourage travel. This sudden shift in demand is worsening market conditions to the point ethanol plants are halting production. The biofuels industry is a vital market for the commodities our farmers produce, and USDA must take immediate action to ensure plants can retain skilled workers and continue production when market conditions improve.
"The biofuels sector provides a direct and significant boost to the value of corn and soybeans. Ethanol plants purchase two out of every five bushels of U.S. corn and biodiesel producers use over 8 billion pounds of soybean oil a year. Ethanol plants produce dried distillers grains (DDGs) as a byproduct, providing livestock farmers with a low-cost, high-protein component of animal feed. To assist with the response to COVID-19, some ethanol and biofuels plants have volunteered to produce hand sanitizer and disinfectant products to address nationwide shortages. And, ethanol plants produce high purity carbon dioxide that is critical for medical facilities and food processing. The biofuels sector plays a large role in the livelihood of America's commodity and livestock producers, and biofuels plants are major employers in many rural communities.
"USDA should take immediate action to stabilize the biofuels industry with resources provided by the CARES Act. We look forward to working with you on this issue as USDA assists producers through this challenging time. Thank you for considering this request."
(Source: Congressman Steven King, KIOW Radio, 12 April, 2020) Contact: Rep Steve King, steveking.house.gov
More Low-Carbon Energy News Biofuel, USDA,
"As the country follows the advice of local and state governments and remain at home, motor fuel use has rapidly decreased. The decrease in fuel consumption has left (biofuel) production facilities little choice but to idle production or close completely.
"Farm income and prices for corn and other crop commodities are directly linked to the health of the renewable fuel industry. Ethanol plants use 40 percent of all corn grown in the United States. Among other feedstocks, biodiesel and renewable diesel producers currently use over 8 billion pounds of soybean oil a year, creating demand that adds 13 percent to the cash price of a bushel of soybeans.
"We have seen a significant drop in the price of corn and soybeans because of the decline in demand. Keeping plants open is vital for our states and we ask that you use the authority given by Congress to assist the biofuel industry during extremely difficult times. We are supportive of the proposals the biofuel industry has put forward to reimburse feedstocks and also believe that adding additional CCC funds to the Higher-Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program will drive future biofuel demand,” the senators continued," the letter said.
(Source: Various Media, Atlantic News Telegraph, 8 April, 2020)Contact: Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), www.grassley.senate.gov; Sen. Joni Ernst, www.ernst.senate.gov
More Low-Carbon Energy News Chuck Grassley, Ethanol,
NASS collects crop data on acres planted and harvested, production, price and stocks for these crops, along with the data on livestock.
Download details HERE. (Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, April, 2020)
Contact: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, 800-727-9540, www.nass.usda.gov
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Total corn consumed for alcohol and other uses in January was 519 million bushels. Total corn consumption was down 2 pct from December 2019, but up 5 pctfrom January 2019. Corn use for fuel alcohol was at 469 million bushels, down 2 pct from the previous month, but up 6 percent from the same month of 2019. Corn consumed in January 2020 for dry milling fuel production and wet milling fuel production was 90 percent and 10 percent, respectively.
Download the full Grain Crushings and Co-Products Production Report HERE. (Source: Grain Crushings and Co-Products Production Report, USDA, Mar., 2020) Contact: USDA, www.usda.gov
More Low-Carbon Energy News USDA, Corn, Corn Ethanol, Biofuel,
These actions have the potential to increase USDA's annual consumption of E15 by up to 9 million gallons, E85 by 10 million gallons, and biodiesel and renewable diesel blends by up to 3 million gallons.
The agency also announced it will offer $100 million in grant funding this year for the newly created Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP) to help transportation fueling and biodiesel distribution facilities install, retrofit, and/or upgrade fuel storage, dispenser pumps, related equipment and infrastructure to be able to sell ethanol and biodiesel.
Download HBIIP program details HERE.
Download the USDA order HERE. (Source: USDA, 28 Feb., 2020) Contact: USDA, Sonny Perdue, Sec.,www.usda.gov
More Low-Carbon Energy News USDA, Biofuel Fleet, Biofuel, Biodiesel, Biofuel Infrastructure,
"The plan to reach 30 pct for biofuels in 2050 is especially troubling. The USDA's historic approach to 'market-driven blend rates' has been to aggressively pursue unachievable biofuel mandates that put manufacturing jobs at risk, result in more emissions and create a reliance on foreign fuels. Ethanol is cheaper than gasoline and does not need a mandate. If the USDA is truly interested in 'market driven' approaches, it should advocate eliminating the renewable fuel standard (RFS) so that renewable energy can economically compete on its own, rather than trying to promote mandates that drive quantities of ethanol-laced fuels that consumers may not want, while putting jobs at risk and raising costs at the pump. In fact, the blend rate is gradually increasing despite falling renewable identification numbers and small refinery exemptions. This shows that ethanol is economic on its own and that markets, not mandates, should determine our nation's fuel mix.
"Calling for a 30 pct biofuels goal for 2050 is not something that should be coming out of the Trump administration. It sounds like an objective of the $93 trillion Green New Deal which President Trump and every free market and taxpayers group including CAGW has said is both unachievable and devastating to the economy. The USDA should withdraw its proposal and the RFS should be eliminated."(Source: The Waste Watcher - Against Government Waste , 21 Feb. 2020) Contact: The Waste Watcher -Against Government Waste www.cagw.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News USDA, Biofuel Blend, RFS,
"Today's recognition by USDA and Secretary Perdue's unwavering support will help drive biofuel innovation in the coming years and decades. We look forward to continuing our longstanding working relationship with USDA to ensure that Americans across the country have expanded access to cleaner fuels like E15 and E30 at the pump."
Growth Energy is the leading biofuel trade association in the country. We represent producers and supporters of ethanol who are working to bring consumers better choices at the fuel pump, grow America's economy, and improve the environment for future generations. Our growing membership base now represents nearly half of all American ethanol plants along with many of the largest and most prominent fuel retailers in the country and the industry's top associate members whose businesses support the ethanol industry, according to the Growth Energy website.(Source: Growth Energy, 21 Feb., 2020) Contact: Growth Energy, Emily Skor, CEO, Elizabeth Funderburk, (202) 545-4000, EFunderburk@GrowthEnergy.org, www.growthenergy.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News USDA, Growth Energy, Biofuel, Biofuel Blens, RFS,
Under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) refineries are presently required to blend 20.09 billion gallons of biofuel in 2020 – roughly 10 pct of projected crude oil production, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
(Source: KLO, Various Media, Reuters, 20 Feb., 2020)
More Low-Carbon Energy News USDA news, RFS news, Ethanol news, Ethanol Blend news,
NBB VP of Federal Affairs, Kurt Kovarik noted NBB is "grateful to the USDA for following through on a pledge to support infrastructure projects that facilitate higher biofuel blends.
"American consumers are increasingly demanding access to clean, low-carbon, advanced biofuels, like biodiesel. We look forward to working with the USDA to strengthen the market for higher blends of biodiesel," Kovarik added. (Spource, NBB, NAFB, 1 Feb., 2020) Contact: NBB, Kaleb Little, Dir. Communications, Kurt Kovarik, VP Federal Affairs, (800) 841-5849, www.biodiesel.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News National Biodiesel Board,
This Request for Information (RFI) solicits information on options for fuel ethanol and biodiesel infrastructure, innovation, products, technology, and data derived from all HBIIP processes and/or science that drive economic growth, promote health, and increase public benefit.
Through this RFI, USDA seeks input from the public, including but not limited to: retail fueling stations, convenience stores, hypermarket fueling stations, fleet facilities, and similar entities with capital investments; equipment providers, equipment installers, certification entities and other stakeholder/manufacturers (both upstream and down); fuel distribution centers, including terminals and depots; and those performing innovative research, and/or developing enabling platforms and applications in manufacturing, energy production, and agriculture.
Download the full Advanced Biofuel Payment Program
HERE (Source: USDA Rural Business-Cooperative Service, USDA, 27 Dec., 2019) Contact: Rural Business-Cooperative Service, Bette Brand, Admin., (202) 690-4730, 202-690-4737 - fax., www.rd.usda.gov
More Low-Carbon Energy News USDA, RFS, Advanced Biofuel,
"IFB also urges USDA to move quickly on an infrastructure package to accommodate higher blend levels."
The Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB) represents 75 pct of the state's farmers with membership of more than 386,291 and a voting membership of 79,159. Illinois is the nation's third-largest producer of ethanol with roughly 75 pct of it corn production being converted into ethanol.
(Source: Illinois Farm Bureau, 21 Dec., 2019) Contact: Illinois Farm Bureau , t Richard Guebert, Jr, Pres. www.ilfb.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS, Biofuel, Ethanol Blend, USDA, US DOE, Renewable Volume Obligation ,
The research is aimed at developing new bio-based jet fuel manufacturing technology and crop feedstocks with vegetable oil compositions tailored for this technology.
The research team will use camelina as an oilseed platform to develop vegetable oil formulations with shorter carbon chains that are better suited for the processing technology. These genetic strategies will be transferred to other vegetable oil feedstocks, such as soybean and oil-rich sorghum, which are currently being developed by university faculty for the U.S. DOE Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation (CABBI).
Research at UNL builds on prior US DOE and Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences Research'funding.
(Source: University of Nebraska, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, UNL IANR NEWS, 17 Dec., 2019)
Contact: UNL Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources,
National Institute for Food and Agriculture, www.nifa.usda.gov; U.S. DOE Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation, www.cabbi.bio
More Low-Carbon Energy News Camelina, Oilseed, USDA, National Institute for Food and Agriculture,
The individual grants, which range from
$381,750 to $2,421, are being funded through the Rural Energy for America Program. (Source: USDA Rural Development Nebraska, PR Dec., 2019) Contact: USDA Rural Development Nebraska, Karl Elmshaeuser, Dir., 402-437-5551, www.rd.usda.gov; Rural Energy for America Program, www.ggs-greenhouse.com/blog/reap-energy-grant?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIs8_m44mz5gIVC1YMCh0jKgeOEAAYASAAEgL_8_D_BwE
More Low-Carbon Energy News USDA Rural Development , Energy Efficiency, Energy Efficiency Grants,
If granted, the funds would support TCL&P's on-bill financing program allowing customers to borrow up to $30,000 at no interest for 10 years for renewable energy and energy efficiency installations and upgrades. The repayment, plus a $5 administration fee, would be secured through a lien on the property and added to the customer's monthly power billing.
Qualifying borrowers could use the money for everything from insulation upgrades to new windows to renewable energy projects like rooftop solar, as previously reported.
TCL&P executive director Tim Arends previously touted the idea as a way to help curb the utility's peak energy demand.
The USDA gave tentative approval to the utility's application, as previously reported.
(Source: Traverse City Light & Power, Traverse City Record Eagle, 1 Dec., 2019)Contact: Traverse City Light & Power, Tim Arends, 231-922-4940, www.tclp.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News Energy Efficiency, Energy Efficiency Funding,