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RFA Comments on Refiners' RFS Arguments Rejection (Ind. Report)
Renewable Fuels Association
Date: 2021-07-23
The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) issued the following comments on the D.C. Circuit Court's July 16th rejection of arguments from oil refiners that the "Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) causes them economic hardship and therefore the EPA should have waived their 2019 RFS obligations." The court ruled on the follow specific points:

  • Severe Economic Harm Waiver -- The court rebuffed the refiners' argument that EPA should have waived the 2019 RFS requirements because East Coast refiners purportedly could not pass through their RFS compliance costs and thus experienced "severe economic harm." According to the Court, "Obligated parties assert that the 'pass-through' theory is flawed and that RFS requirements impose severe economic consequences on refiners in the Eastern United States. We reject this challenge. EPA reasonably concluded that obligated parties had failed to make the strong causal showing required to trigger the waiver. It was reasonable for EPA to conclude that RFS costs alone were not the primary driver of the refineries' economic difficulties", the Court added.

  • Inadequate Domestic Supply Waiver -- The court also shot down the refiners' claim that a waiver of 2019 RFS requirements would have been justified due to an "inadequate domestic supply" of renewable fuels to meet the standards. "EPA adequately explained its refusal to exercise the inadequate domestic supply waiver," the judges wrote.

  • Point of Obligation -- Refiners also argued that EPA should have used the 2019 RFS rule-making to change the point of obligation for RFS compliance from refiners and importers to fuel blenders. The court discarded that argument stating "Refiners have repeatedly but unsuccessfully urged EPA to include blenders in the point of obligation. EPA's decision not to undertake another reassessment in the 2019 rule-making was not an abuse of discretion."

  • Exported Renewable Fuel -- The Court similarly rejected refiner arguments that exported renewable fuels should count toward RFS compliance. "EPA at no point suggested that it was substantively reconsidering its longstanding policy concerning the treatment of exported renewable fuel, and it reasonably refused to consider obligated parties' arguments for changing that policy," the court ruled. (Source: Renewable Fuels Assoc., Website PR, 16 July, 2021) Contact: RFA, Geoff Cooper, Pres., CEO, (202) 289-3835, www.ethanolrfa.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Fuels Association,  RFS,  RFS Waiver,  


  • Enchant Seeks Carbon Storage "Pore Space" Clarity (Ind. Report)
    Enchant Energy
    Date: 2021-07-19
    In New Mexico, Enchant Energy is calling for state lawmakers to consider legislation to clarify "pore space" ownership and related issues.

    Pore space -- the empty space between grains of rocks underground where the firm hopes to store carbon it would remove while running the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station with carbon capture technology -- starts just below the surface and can be used to sequester carbon dioxide by injecting the gas thousands of feet underground.

    Enchant Energy has been working with the City of Farmington to retrofit the San Juan Generating Station with carbon capture technology after current operations end next year.

    According to the company, pore space ownership is beneficial to the state by creating jobs, furthering economic development and generating taxes and payments from injection fees as well as defining ownership and conveyance without harming mineral rights. Montana, Oklahoma and Wyoming presently have pore space legislation. (Source: Enchant Energy, PR, Farmington Times, 17 July, 2021) Contact: Enchant Energy, Ciny Crane, CEO, 505-436-1828, www.enchantenergy.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Enchant Energy,  CCS,  Carbon Storage,  Carbon Sequestration,  


    Carbon Capture Shield, Inc - Reversing Climate Change Through Land Stewardship (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    Carbon Capture Shield
    Date: 2021-07-09
    "What if it was possible to not only eliminate the entire human Carbon footprint, but also eliminate the use of toxic pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides (saving the bees); eliminate the use of inorganic chemical fertilizers (protecting our waterways); increase soil health and resilience (buffering against disease, drought, and flood) while improving the size, yield, and nutrient density of crops grown in such living soil (with as much as 500 pct increase in yield); all while creating a global network of smallholder farmers and connecting them to a corresponding global market of conscious consumers?

    "This is the express goal of (Washington, DC-based) Carbon Capture Shield, Incorporated; a Delaware C-Corp formed in 2021, by a team with decades of experience in global farming, renewable energy, and government contracting: To shift 1 billion acres of farmland to Regenerative Agriculture by 2030. According to co-founder and President, Darryl J. Nicke II, 'Antibiotics have saved millions of lives but they also cause many problems by upsetting the natural balance of microorganisms that live in our gut. Probiotics can reverse and even completely cure many diseases caused by such imbalances. Similarly, herbicides, pesticides, and even chemical fertilizers have destroyed the natural balance of life in the soil. By supplementing and restoring that natural balance, you return Earth's Surface to its natural healthy state. This is Earth's natural defense against human activity and pollution. This is Earth's Carbon Capture Shield.'

    "With a clear vision, they have begun Phase 01 of a 10-year, multi-phase plan to transform the way humans care for our shared home, starting in your own backyard - literally. Americans dump more than 60 million ppy of pesticides on their lawns. Fourteen of the most used lawn pesticides are neurotoxins and suspected carcinogens, yet this is where our children play. Not only that, but lawn fertilizers are also a major source of water pollution. The EPA reports that pollution from fertilizers is "one of America's most widespread, costly and challenging environmental problems." This does not even consider the dire effects on bees, butterflies, and other pollinators who visit these toxic home gardens.

    "Numerous solutions have been found by farmers and researchers all around the planet, and Carbon Capture Shield aims to "bring these solutions home" to anyone with a lawn - by introducing a line of lawn and garden products that are non-toxic and protect the environment while fertilizing your soil and helping the microcosmos of Living Soil.

    "Phase 01 will supply education and solutions for anyone with a lawn, in the form of edutainment and consumer products. Carbon Capture Shield has launched this initiative to educate and empower both farmers and consumers! Using their ability to create engaging media to inspire an avid base of conscious consumers, they will then use this market demand to encourage wary farmers into adopting the protocols of Regenerative Agriculture, and thereby restore the environment through promoting and upholding stewardship by all landholders, large and small." (Source: Carbon Capture Shield Inc., PR, 8 July, 2021) Contact: Carbon Capture Shield Inc., Darryl J. Nicke II, Pres., 407 603 6417, djnicke@carboncaptureshield.com, www.carboncaptureshield.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Carbon Capture,  Carbon Capture Shield,  Soil Carbon,  CCS,  Climate Change,  Carbon Footprint,  


    JTA Transportation Hub Wins USGBC LEED Gold (Ind. Report)
    USGBC,LEED
    Date: 2021-06-04
    In the Sunshine State, the Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) reports its 67,000-square-foot multimodal transportation hub -- Jacksonville Regional Transportation Center at LaVilla -- has been awarded US Green Building Council LEED Gold certification.

    The JRTC at LaVilla received 63 out of 65 eligible credits for the Build Design and Construction category, which is used for new constructions or major renovations of existing spaces. LEED Gold certification requires between 60-79 credits.

    JRTC at LaVilla facility's energy efficiency LEED qualifying features include: LED lighting complete with occupancy sensors, dimming and daylight harvesting; low-flow plumbing fixtures; energy-efficient HVAC systems; an indoor air quality management plan; heat reflective cool roof; bio-swales, rain gardens and bio-retention areas to pre-treat surface water runoff from the site and reduce water used for irrigation by 50 pct; and other features. (Source: Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA), PR, June, 2021) Contact: Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA), 904-630-3181, www.jtafla.com; US Green Building Council, Mahesh Ramanujam, Pres., CEO, (202) 552-1500, www.usgbc.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News USGBC,  Energy Efficiency,  LEED Certification,  


    Maxeon Touts Adhesive Rooftop Solar Panels (New Prod. & Tech.)
    Maxeon Solar Technologies
    Date: 2021-05-19
    Singapore-headquartered Maxeon Solar Technologies is touting its new Maxeon Air technology platform -- a frameless, thin, lightweight and conformable solar panel that can be time and cost effectively adhered directly to a roof without the need for racking or other mounting systems.

    Maxeon Air panels will be featured in selected projects in Europe in the second half of 2021. The first installations will target roofs that are not engineered to support the weight of conventional solar systems. In Europe alone, there is an un-served annual market for low-load roofs of over 4 GW, the company estimates.

    Maxeon IBC solar cell panel's factory integrated adhesive layer enable installation directly on a roof surface without metal frame racking, anchors or ballast. The cells incorporate a solid metal foundation and stress relieved cell interconnects that protect against corrosion and enables fault tolerant circuits that allow energy flow and have the unique ability to share current in reverse bias voltage while shaded, avoiding damaging or dangerous high temperatures.

    The product is slated to be commercially available beginning in Q1, 2022. (Source: Maxeon Solar Technologies, PR, Solar Builder, 18 May, 2021) Contact: Maxeon Solar Technologies, Jeff Waters, CEO, www.maxeon.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Maxeon Solar Technologies news,  Colar Cell news,  Solar Panel news,  Rooftop Soler news,  


    PEG Wins ENERGY STAR® Sustained Excellence Award (Ind. Report)
    PEG LLC, ENERGY STAR
    Date: 2021-04-14
    Fairfax, Virginia-based energy efficiency, engineering, environmental, and management consulting firm PEG, LLC reports it has received the 2021 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year Sustained Excellence Award from the U.S. EPA and the U.S. DOE for the fifth consecutive year.

    PEG specializes in building energy performance, green building program compliance, building diagnostics, environmental and code compliance, thermal performance, HVAC design and operation, and construction defect.

    ENERGY STAR® is the government-backed symbol for energy efficiency, providing simple, credible, and unbiased information that consumers and businesses rely on to make well-informed decisions. Since 1992, ENERGY STAR and its partners helped American families and businesses avoid more than $450 billion in energy costs and achieve 4 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas reductions. (Source: PEG, LLC, PR, 13 Apr., 2021) Contact: PEG LLC, JoAnn Spence, President and CEO , www.pegenv.com: DOE ENERGY STAR, www.energystar.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News ENERGY STAR,  Energy Efficiency,  


    CO2, Methane Emissions Surged in 2020 (NOAA Ind. Report)
    NOAA
    Date: 2021-04-09
    In Washington, just released research from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has found carbon dioxide and methane -- which is nearly 30 times more potent at trapping heat within the atmosphere than CO2 -- emissions surged in 2020.

    Research data collected at remote NOAA sampling locations indicated the global surface average for CO2 was 412.5 parts per million last year -- a 2.6 ppm increase. The global increase rate constituted the fifth-highest on record for a single year, after 1987, 1998, 2015 and 2016, according to NOAA. Atmospheric methane's annual increase for 2020 was 14.7 parts per billion, the largest in the 37 years NOAA has measured it. (Source: NOAA Research News, Website PR, 7 Apr., 2021) Contact: NOAA, oar.communications@noaa.gov, www. research.noaa.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News CO2,  Mathane,  NOAA,  


    Minn., California and Iowa E15 Sales on the Rise (Ind. Report)
    Renewable Fuels Association
    Date: 2021-04-09
    The Iowa Department of Revenue is reporting sales of E15 jumped 24 pct in Iowa in 2020 , despite the pandemic-related drop in overall fuel consumption. Iowa retailers sold 60.59 million gallons of E15 in 2020, up from 48.96 million gallons in 2019 and more than double the 2017 volume of E15 sales, despite a 14.3 pct drop in the state's overall petroleum consumption from 2019 levels.

    Similarly, recent data from the Minnesota Department of Commerce showed 2020 E15 sales there nearly held steady with 2019 sales levels, despite the pandemic. Minnesota E15 sales were 93.46 million gallons, down 4 pct from 97.40 million gallons in 2019.

    On the west coast, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) noted 40.37 million gallons of E85 were sold in the Golden State in 2020, down 0.6 pct from the 40.6 million gallons sold in 2019. (Source: Iowa Department of Revenue Renewable Fuels Association, CARB, Biofuels News, 8 Apr., 2021) Contact: Renewable Fuels Association, www.ethanolrfa.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFA,  FlexFuel,  E15,  E85,  Biofuel Blend,  


    Battery Nanomaterial Tech Startup Raises $3Mn (Int'l. Funding)
    Nanom
    Date: 2021-04-05
    Reykjavik, Iceland headquartered battery nanomaterials specialist Nanom reports it has raised $3 million in seed funding for its process technology that boost battery performance and expects to announce its partners in the next few months.

    The nanomaterial process technology has provided a 9x improvement for the Nickel-Iron batteries used in a wide range of large-scale energy storage devices, transportation and other applications. The technology can also be used to create solid state batteries with carbon fibre and a silk interposer treated with an electrolyte. This can be used to create batteries in the structure of electric vehicles such as cars and boats. The company has already created a pilot project where a 1 meter electric boat was constructed where the hull of the boat became the battery.

    The nanoparticle process generates particles that are many orders-of-magnitude more effective in increasing energy surface in existing batteries by mixing them into the slurry that is a standard part of all battery manufacturing lines. Nanom has achieved scale in its manufacturing process and can already satisfy the requirements of battery markets which is a key challenge for nanoparticle production, according to the company release. (Source: Namon, PR, eeNews Europe, 5 Apr., 2021) Contact: Nanom, Armann Kojic, CEO, +354 776 7555, 650 427 9060 – California Office, n@nnom.com, www.nnom.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Battery Energy Storage,  


    ABC Touts Fastest Growing US Biogas Businesses (Ind. Report)
    American Biogas Council
    Date: 2021-03-26
    American Biogas Council (ABC) has identified the following companies as the eight fastest growing biogas businesses in the US as determined by gross revenue growth from 2019 to 2020: DMT Clear Gas Solutions, www.dmt-cgs.com; DVO Inc., www.dvoinc.com; EnviTec Biogas, www.envitec-biogas.com; Evonik, www.corporate.evonik.com/en; Greenlane Biogas, www.greenlanebiogas.com; Nacelle, www.nacellesolutions.com; Paques Environmental Technologies , www.en.paques.nl; and PlanET Biogas , www.planet-biogasusa.com .

    Collectively, revenue from the fastest eight grew by more than 300 pct. from 2019 through 2020. ABC notes there are presently 2,200 operating biogas projects across all 50 states. (Source: American Biogas Council, PR, 24 Mar., 2021) Contact: American Biogas Council, Patrick Serfass, Executive Director, 202-904-0220, 202-640-6595, info@americanbiogascouncil.org, www.americanbiogascouncil.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News American Biogas Council,  Biogas,  


    Biogas Council Touts Fastest Growing Biogas Businesses (Ind. Report)
    American Biogas Council
    Date: 2021-03-17
    In Washington, the American Biogas Council is reporting the following eight companies as the fastest growing biogas businesses in the U.S., based on 2019-20 gross revenue growth: DMT, DVO, Inc., Envitec Biogas, Evonik, Greenlane Biogas, Nacelle, Paques Environmental Technologies, and PlanET Biogas. Collectively, revenue from the fastest eight grew by more than 300 pct.

    According to the Council release, the US biogas industry presently has 2,200 operating projects in all 50 states. Biogas systems recycle organic material into renewable energy and soil products. Because each year the US generates millions of tons of manure, agricultural waste and food scraps, plus billions of gallons of wastewater every day, the potential to build new biogas systems to manage those large volumes of organic waste is enormous. At least 15,000 new systems could be built, catalyzing an estimated $45 billion in new capital deployment along with 374,000 short-term construction jobs to build the new systems and 25,000 permanent jobs to operate them. This number of systems could produce enough energy to power 7.5 million American homes and reduce emissions equivalent to removing up to 15.4 million passenger vehicles from the road, in addition to many other benefits. (Source: American Biogas Council, Website PR, Mar., 2021) Contact: American Biogas Council, Patrick Serfass, Executive Director, 202-904-0220, 202-640-6595, info@americanbiogascouncil.org, www.americanbiogascouncil.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Biogas,  Biogas,  Anaerobic Digestion,  American Biogas Council,  


    EPA Changes Course on RFS "Hardship" Waivers (Reg & Leg.)
    EPA, Renewable Fuel Standard
    Date: 2021-02-24
    In Washington, the US EPA reports it will support a January 2020 decision by the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and farm groups lawsuit over "improperly granted" renewable fuel standard (RFS) "hardship" waivers granted to oil refineries under the Trump administration. The lawsuit is expected to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court this spring.

    The EPA under Trump issued 85 retroactive small refinery exemptions for the 2016-2018 compliance years, undercutting the renewable fuel volumes by a total of 4 billion gallons, according to the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA)

    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: US EPA, 22 Feb., 2021)Contact: RFA, www.ethanolrfa.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFA,  Renewable Fuel Standard,  "Hardship Waiver",  Ethanol Blend,  


    POET Applauds Iowa Governor's Drive to E15 by 2025 (Ind. Report)
    POET
    Date: 2021-02-12
    In Souix Falls, South Dakota, POET applauded Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds' proposed legislation to speed the statewide adoption of higher biofuel blends and make E15 the standard fuel option by 2025.

    According to POET Founder and CEO Jeff Broin, "Iowa has always been a major champion for biofuels, and we applaud Governor Reynolds for taking that forward-thinking leadership to the next level with E15. Passing legislation for an E15 standard could lay the foundation for the entire nation. E15 in Iowa would add nearly 30 million bushels of grain demand each year, grow thousands of jobs across the state and inject millions into Iowa’s economy," Broin continued.

    "It would boost farm incomes across the Midwest, grow dependable domestic markets, and be a critical step in securing America's energy independence. Make no mistake -- we need to return to our roots and once again get our energy from the surface of the Earth, and America's farmers will play a pivotal role in the climate solution. Federal and state leaders looking to take action on climate and clean air should start with plant-based biofuels like bioethanol, which is 46 pct cleaner than gasoline from farm to freeway and displaces toxic chemicals in gasoline linked to cancer and other serious health problems," Broin concluded. (Source: POET, PR, 8 Feb., 2021)Contact: POET, Jeff Broin, CEO, (605) 965-2200, www.poet.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News POET,  Biofuel,  Ethanol,  E15,  Ethanol Blend ,  


    WELTEC BIOPOWER Joins American Biogas Council, Promotes biomethane/RNG Production (Int'l. Report)
    WELTEC BIOPOWER,American Biogas Council
    Date: 2021-02-10

    Vechta, Germany-based biogas plant manufacturer, and the developer of over 300 anaerobic digestion plants, WELTEC BIOPOWER GmbH reports it has joined of the American Biogas Council (ABC). The Washington-based association has been campaigning for the interests of the American biogas industry since 2010. The ABC represents biogas and biomethane plant operators, research institutions, municipal suppliers and manufacturers along the biogas supply chain.

    WELTEC has expertise in using the climate-neutral gas. Through their own portfolio of plants in Europe, the company generates 3,53 billion cubic feet of biogas annually, which is upgraded to RNG for gas grid injection. In addition, the use of RNG is everyday practice at many other plant locations. For example, a biogas plant built by WELTEC in Finland, uses biomethane to refuel trucks, and another plant in France refuels CNG/RNG tractors. (Source: WELTEC BIOPOWER GmbH, PR, 9 Feb., 2021) Contact: WELTEC BIOPOWER GmbH, +49 4441 99978-0, +49 4441 99978-8 -- fax, info@weltec-biopower.de, www.weltec-biopower.de; American Biogas Council, Patrick Serfass, Exec. Dir., (202) 640-6595, info@americanbiogascouncil.org, www.AmericanBiogasCouncil.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News WELTEC BIOPOWER,  Biogas,  Anaerobic Digestion,  American Biogas Council,  


    RFA to Assist Retailers with HBIIP (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    USDA, HBIIP
    Date: 2021-02-05
    "When the USDA Rural Development office announced the reopening of its Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP) funding opportunity and gave retailers one more shot at a grant award, it set a tight 30-day application period that ended January 19.

    "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,  


    Ethanol Ind. Leaders Comment on EPA's Last Minute RFA "Hardship" Waivers (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    RFS Waivers
    Date: 2021-02-01
    On Jan 19, the Trump administration's Andrew Wheeler-led EPA approved three small refinery "hardship" waivers to reverse one denial from 2018 and granting two for the 2019 compliance year. The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) was quick to respond with a petition for review and an emergency motion to stay EPA's action.

    "Based on empirical evidence from SREs improperly granted in other compliance years, the new 2018-2019 SREs will likely have a sudden, negative impact on both ethanol sales volumes and prices. This would be devastating to America's ethanol producers, many of which are already on the brink of closure due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This action by EPA is completely without legal merit," RFA Pres. and CEO Geoff Cooper Noted:

    "This midnight-hour attempt by the Trump administration to damage the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and sabotage the ethanol industry's recovery from the COVID pandemic simply cannot be allowed to prevail. With just hours remaining in his shameful term as EPA administrator, Wheeler couldn't stop himself from doling out a few more Clean Air Act compliance exemptions to his well-connected friends. But the fact remains that this action by EPA is completely without legal merit. It flouts both the statute and recent court decisions that clearly limit EPA's authority and ability to grant these exemptions. And while this action comes as one last sucker punch from the Trump administration, we are confident it will be a hollow victory for the politically connected oil companies receiving today's waivers, as the new Biden administration will most certainly act quickly to restore the volumes erased by these waivers," RFA president and CEO Geoff Cooper said.

    "Farm families and biofuel workers across the country have worked tirelessly to make a living over the past few months despite a global pandemic. And yet, the Trump administration's SRE abuse has piled on to the uncertainty and difficulty that rural Americans are facing every day," according to Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor.

    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: RFA, Growth Energy, AgriNews, 30January, 2021) Contact: Growth Energy, Emily Skor, (202) 545-4000, www.growthenergy.org; RFA, Geoff Cooper, Pres., CEO, (202) 289-3835, www.ethanolrfa.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Ethanol,  Biofuel,  Biofuel Blend,  RFA,  Growth Energy,  RFS,  "Hardship" Waivers,  ,  


    Iowa Ethanol Production Down 500Mn Gallons in 2020 (Ind. Report)
    Iowa Renewable Fuels Association
    Date: 2021-01-27
    According to the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA), while biodiesel production in the Hawkeye State held steady in 2020, the state produced half a billion gallons less ethanol than just the year before. According to IRFA's annual economic impact study, ethanol and biodiesel production contributes nearly $4 billion in state gross domestic product (GDP) supports 37,000 direct and indirect jobs, and boosts Iowa household income by $1.8 billion. (Source: IRFA, PR, 22 Jan., 2021) Contact: IRFA, Monte Shaw, Ecex. Dir., (515) 252-6249, (515) 225-0781 -- fax, www.iowarfa.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Iowa Renewable Fuels Association,  Biofuel,  Ethanol,  


    Novel Biofuel Recovery Process Investigated (New Prod. & Tech.)
    Imperial College London
    Date: 2021-01-20
    In the UK, Imperial College London, Livingstone Group researchers, in collaboration with BP, report development of a cost-effective and energy-efficient membrane-based extraction method that reduces energy requirements by 25 pct and produces ten times more transportation biofuel with more than 99.5 pct purity.

    Researchers chose 2-ethyl-hexanol (2EH) as the extractant based on several attractive properties including water-immiscibility, high boiling point, low viscosity, and high partition coefficient for the target product. A high partition coefficient of extractant increases the effective driving force of membrane-based extraction and improves productivity. Additionally, 2EH is inexpensive and readily available.

    The membrane separates the fermentation broth from the extractant 2EH, which is highly selective but toxic to microorganisms. Alcohol product can be extracted through the membrane keeping the alcohol concentration low at the fermentation broth, preventing toxicity and promoting biofuel production. Furthermore, the membrane enables continuous production leading to increased productivity compared to conventional techniques.

    Imperial College is further developing the technology by scaling up membrane fabrication and immobilizing microorganisms, working to reduce the thin-film layer to improve extraction rate and investigating the effects of temperature on the extractant. (Source: Imperial College London, PR, Chem Engineer, Jan., 2021) Contact: Imperial College London, Andrew Livingston, Professor of Chemical Engineering, +44 (0)20 7589, 5111www.imperial.ac.uk/livingston-group

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Imperial College London,  Biofuel,  


    DOE Funding Fossil-Based Hydrogen Projects (R&D, Funding)
    DOE Office of Fossil Energy
    Date: 2021-01-18
    In Washington, the U.S. DOE Office of Fossil Energy (FE) reports the availability of $160 million funding to help recalibrate the Nations fossil-fuel and power infrastructure for decarbonized energy and commodity production. The funding, for cost-shared cooperative agreements, is aimed to develop technologies for the production, transport, storage, and utilization of fossil-based hydrogen, with progress towards net-zero carbon emissions.

    Fossil fuels currently provide the lowest cost pathway for producing hydrogen, according to cost data in a recent DOE/FE Hydrogen Strategy Document. The U.S. will authorize advanced and novel technologies capable of improving the performance, reliability, and flexibility of methods to produce, transport, store, and use hydrogen. When coupled with carbon capture and storage (CCS), low-cost hydrogen sourced from fossil energy feedstocks and processes will significantly reduce the carbon footprint of these processes and enable progress toward hydrogen production with net-zero carbon emissions.

    Funding is available for significant advancements in the following program areas:

  • Net-Zero or Negative Carbon Hydrogen Production from Modular Gasification and Co-Gasification of Mixed Wastes, Biomass, and Traditional Feedstocks -- The objective is to advance gasification technologies capable of improved performance, reliability, and flexibility to produce net-zero or negative carbon hydrogen by readily accommodating integration of pre-combustion carbon capture. An additional objective is utilizing low-cost and negative-cost feedstock materials, along with traditional feedstocks, to produce low-cost net-zero carbon fuels and chemicals.

  • Solid Oxide Electrolysis Cell Technology (SOEC) Development -- The objective is to develop new or modified materials for SOECs and improve understanding of degradation mechanisms in SOECs for efficient and cost-effective production of hydrogen.

  • Carbon Capture -- The objective is to complete the initial design of a commercial scale carbon capture, storage, and utilization (CCUS) system that separates and stores more than 100,000 tpy net carbon dioxide of 95 pct purity, with 90 pct+ carbon capture efficiency, from a steam methane reforming (SMR) or autothermal reforming (ATR) plant producing 99.97 pct H2 from natural gas.

  • Advanced Turbines -- The objective is to advance the performance of gas turbine combustion systems fueled with high purity hydrogen, hydrogen and natural gas mixtures and other carbon neutral fuels (e.g., ammonia). An additional objective is to demonstrate a hydrogen-fueled rotating detonation engine in a gas turbine.

  • Natural Gas-Based Hydrogen Production -- The objective is to develop transformative natural gas decarbonization technologies to produce zero- or negative-carbon hydrogen, to meet the needs of future hydrogen markets.

    li> Hydrogen Pipeline Infrastructure -- The objective is to develop technologies that improve the cost and performance (e.g., resiliency, reliability, safety, integrity) of hydrogen transportation infrastructure, including pipelines and compression stations.

  • Subsurface Hydrogen Storage -- The objective is to develop technologies to improve the cost and performance (efficiency, safety, integrity) of subsurface hydrogen storage.

    The FOA will be used to solicit R&D for specific areas of interest aligned with the above seven program areas. Successful applications will be of different monetary values and project durations. Projects will be managed by the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NRTL).

    Download the HYDROGEN STRATEGY -- Enabling A Low-Carbon Economy document HERE. (Source: U.S. DOE Office of Fossil Energy DOE, PR, 15 Jan., 2021) Contact: U.S. DOE Office of Fossil Energy, 202-586-6660, www.energy.gov/fe/office-fossil-energy

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Hydrogem,  DOE Office of Fossil Energy ,  


  • Global Grasslands Contribute to Climate Warming (Study Attached)
    Climate Change,International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
    Date: 2021-01-08
    Grasslands play a critical role in carbon sequestration. But a recent study -- Climate Warming from Managed Grasslands Cancels Cooling Effect of Carbon Sinks in Sparsely Grazed and Natural Grasslands -- found human activity is causing grasslands to become a source of greenhouse gas emissions.

    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,  


    Univ. of Wyoming Releases Carbon Storage Study (Ind. Report)
    University of Wyoming
    Date: 2020-12-30
    The University of Wyoming, in partnership with West Virginia University of Law and the U.S. Energy Association (USEA) has released a comparative study for the U.S. DOE identifying the regulatory shortcomings slowing the deployment of carbon dioxide utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies. The study findings could help eliminate regulatory blindspots that pop up when projects are proposed with federal or private surface and subsurface interests.

    Scientists are working to find commercial ways to capture and store CO2 underground. But CO2 can also be used at oil fields, by injecting it into reservoirs to remove residual oil that traditional drilling processes could not extract. Researchers note policy makers need to know both the legal and regulatory obstacles facing energy developers trying to advance these technologies. For examples, developers hoping to establish these technologies on federal, state or private lands can run into issues involving land, mineral, pore space or water rights, pipeline regulations, eminent domain or limits to CO2 storage regulation, among others, according to the report.

    Recent federal incentives could accelerate the advancement of CO2 storage and utilization across the 12 states studied. For one, in 2018 Congress revised Section 45Q of the tax code to provide more favorable tax incentives to companies engaged in carbon capture and sequestration. The 45Q federal tax credit is given to companies for each ton of CO2 they sequester in the ground. Since then, the program has received feedback from potential claimants, and the Internal Revenue Service recently proposed rules to regulate the program. (Source: University of Wyoming, PR, US Energy Association, Dec., 2020) Contact: US Energy Association, (202) 312-1230, www.usea.org; University of Wyoming, School of Energy Resources, Holly Krutka, Exec. Dir., (307) 766-1121, hkrutka@uwyo.edu, www.uwyo.edu/ser

    More Low-Carbon Energy News University of Wyoming,  CCS,  CCUS,  U.S. Energy Association ,  


    Impact of COVID-19 on the Ethanol Industry (RFA Report Attached)
    Renewable Fuels Association
    Date: 2020-12-28
    According to a Renewable Fuels Association Impact of COVID-19 on the Ethanol Industry report released Dec. 9, the COVID-19 pandemic has cost ethanol producers $3.8 billion in losses due to restricted driving and less ethanol-blend gasoline consumption.

    By April, the low point in both production and consumption of ethanol had fallen by 50 pct from the previous year. Volumes rebounded from that point but never reached "normal" levels. In the first week of December, consumption of both gasoline and ethanol fell to their lowest points since May, according to data from the Energy Information Administration.

    The cumulative decline in ethanol production is estimated to have been 2 billion gallons from March to November 2020. The ethanol industry's usage of corn has been reduced by 700 million bushels.

    Access the RFA's Impact of COVID-19 on the Ethanol Industry report HERE. (Source: Renewable Fuels Association, High Plains Journal, 27 Dec., 2020) Contact: Renewable Fuels Association, Geoff Cooper, Pres., CEO, (202) 289-3835,www.ethanolrfa.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Fuels Association,  RFA,  Ethanol,  


    RFA CEO Comments on COVID-19 Relief Package (Opinions & Asides)
    RFA
    Date: 2020-12-28
    "As Congress debates another COVID-19 relief package, we implore policymakers to consider the devastating economic impact the pandemic has had on renewable fuel producers. Our new analysis provides an in-depth look at how rural communities have suffered.

    "The decrease in ethanol production has idled or permanently closed plants across the heartland and caused job losses in rural communities where good employment is often hard to find.

    "As an industry deemed critical and essential to America, we call on Congress to act swiftly to provide some targeted relief to our nation’s renewable fuels industry." -- Geoff Cooper, Pres., CEO, (202) 289-3835,www.ethanolrfa.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Fuels Association,  RFA,  Ethanol,  


    18-Mile Solar Paneled Road Surface Unveiled in Ga. (Ind. Report)
    French National Solar Energy Institute
    Date: 2020-12-14
    In Gwinette County, Georgia, the city of Peachtree Corners -- "the nation's first smart city environment powered by real-world infrastructure and next-generation connectivity" -- reports the installation of a new solar roadway system that generates more than 1,300 kWh per year of energy for a solar-powered EV charging station located at city hall. The 18-mile installation is the first road surface-powered solar panels to be activated in a U.S. city.

    The Wattway solar roadway panels, manufactured by French highways engineer and transportation innovator Colas Group in partnership with the French National Solar Energy Institute, were engineered to be more durable and efficient for a 21 pct performance increase over previously deployed panels. (Source: City of Peachtree Corners, AllOnGeorgia. 13 Dec., 2020) Contact: Colas Group, www.colas.com/en/group; French National Solar Energy Institute, www.ines-solaire.org; Peachtree Corners, www.peachtreecornersga.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Solar,  Roadway Solar,  


    RFA Bemoans Falling Flex Fuel Vehicle Offerings (Ind. Report)
    Renewable Fuels Association
    Date: 2020-12-11
    Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network reports the following comments on the decline of Flex Fuel Vehicles from the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) VP for Industry Relations Robert White:

    "Unfortunately, changes that were made to CAFE credits, which are Corporate Average Fuel Economy credits that the automakers received for years to make flex fuel vehicles, was changed during the Obama Administration to be phased out for flex fuel vehicles. They really aimed at incentivizing electric vehicles.

    "We knew this was coming ... We have seen it in the last few model years, but we are really down to just 11 models of flex fuel vehicles coming from just Ford and General Motors. That's a strong dive from where we once were at 80 different models across eight manufacturers.

    "We're sure doing all we can to reverse that trend. There were some recent comments to the federal government on how to incentivize the return of those vehicles. I also think there is just genuine consumer interest. The automakers are no doubt hearing from more people. We have record people converting their vehicles to make them flex fuel now than we have ever seen. It's an astonishing new market."

    According to the RDA, only 11 flex fuel models will be on the market in 2021 with five of those models available only to fleet purchasers. (Source: RFA, Iowa Agribusiness Radio, 9 Dec., 2020) Contact: Renewable Fuels Association, Robert White, (202) 289-3835, www.ethanolrfa.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Biofuel Blend,  Renewable Fuels Association,  Flex Fuel,  Biofuel,  


    Biofuels Coalition Challenges 2018 RFS Hardship Waivers (Ind. Report)
    Renewable Fuels Association
    Date: 2020-12-09
    A coalition of the Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy, National Corn Growers Association, National Biodiesel Board, American Coalition for Ethanol, and National Farmers Union have filed a brief to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals challenging EPA's August 2019 decision to exempt 31 small refineries from their obligations to comply with the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) in 2018.

    The filing argues the EPA was not authorized to issue the exemptions and that it acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner in its decision.

    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.

    Download the coalition's brief HERE. (Source: Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy, National Corn Growers Association, National Biodiesel Board, American Coalition for Ethanol, National Farmers Union, 8 Dec., 2020) Contact: National Farmers Union, Rob Larew, Pres., (202) 554-1600, www.nfu.org; Renewable Fuels Association, Geoff Cooper, Pres., CEO, (202) 289-3835, www.ethanolrfa.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS Hardship Waiver,  Renewable Fuels Association,  RFS,  National Farmers Union,  


    NAIT Innovation Centre Earns CaGBC LEED Gold (Ind. Report)
    Canada Green Building Council
    Date: 2020-12-04
    In Edmonton, the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) is reporting its Productivity and Innovation Centre has achieved LEED Gold certification from the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC).

    The building's LEED qualifying features include: green cleaning supplies and housekeeping program; low emissions paint, surfaces and floor coverings; low-flow plumbing fixture that deliver 30 pct reduction in water consumption; 90 pct of construction waste recycled; solar panel arrays; 40 pct reduction in energy costs, and others. (Source: NAIT, PR, Dec., 2020) Contact: NAIT, 780.471.6248, techlife@nait.ca, www.nait.ca; Canada Green Building Council, (866) 941-1184, info@cagbc.org, www.cagbc.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Canadian Green Building Council,  LEED Certification,  Energy Efficiency,  


    SFU Sustainable Energy School Scores LEED Gold (Ind. Report)
    sdu, cANADA gREEN bUILDING cOUNCIL
    Date: 2020-12-04
    In Burnaby, British Columbia, Simon Fraser University (SFU) School of Sustainable Energy Engineering reports it recently completed 220,000 sq-ft Surrey Campus building has earned Canadian Green Building Council (CaGBC) LEED Gold certification for sustainable design and operations.

    The five-storey building incorporates 330 precast white cement panels with reflective surfaces organized around the light filled atrium and live trees at varying levels. The building incorporates various LEED qualifying energy efficiency features and underground parking, modern wet and dry teaching labs, classrooms, study spaces, faculty offices, meeting rooms and a 400-seat lecture hall. The project was partially funding through the federal government's Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund (SIF) and matched by the Province of British Columbia. (Source: Simon Fraser University, PR, Construction Business, 1 Dec., 2020) Contact: Simon Fraser University, Larry Waddell, Chief Facilities Officer, www.sdu.ca; Canada Green Building Council, (866) 941-1184, info@cagbc.org, www.cagbc.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Canada Green Building Council,  Energy Efficiency,  LEED Certification,  


    EPA Misses 2021 RFS RVO Announcement (Opinions & Asides)
    Renewable Fuels Association,National Farmers Union
    Date: 2020-12-02
    Commenting on the US EPA's again missing the annual statutory deadline for the release of the RVOs, Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper said:

    "It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that EPA is missing its statutory deadline for publishing the final rule for 2021 RVOs, given that we still haven't even seen a proposed rule. And even if a proposed rule was released today, it would be next to impossible to have a final rule done by the end of the calendar year, or even by inauguration day.

    "At this point, it likely makes more sense to let the new administration handle the 2021 RVO rulemaking process entirely. President-elect Biden has correctly noted that the RFS waivers granted by the current EPA have severely cut ethanol production, costing farmers income and ethanol plant workers their jobs. Thus, we are confident that the new EPA administrator, whoever that may end up being, will stop doing secret favors for oil refiners and ensure the RFS is implemented in a way that is consistent with the law and Congressional intent. We know it may take a few months for the new administration to get a final 2021 RVO rule done, but in the meantime, the statute is crystal clear that refiners must blend at least 15 billion gallons of conventional renewable fuel in 2021.

    "So, while there may be some uncertainty around where the final advanced and cellulosic volume requirements may end up, the marketplace should be able to enter 2021 with some level of confidence around the conventional renewable fuel and biomass-based diesel requirements."

    National Farmers Union President Rob Larew added, "By punting a decision on 2021's RVOS to the next administration, EPA is introducing yet more uncertainty to the biofuels industry -- uncertainty that most farmers and biofuels producers can't afford right now. Despite promising again and again to uphold RFS, the Trump administration has consistently undermined the program with its misappropriation of small refinery exemptions, preferential treatment of oil corporations, and disregard for its legal responsibility to restore lost demand, all of which has cost America's farmers and biofuel producers dearly. To add insult to injury, fuel use -- and, consequently, ethanol use -- has dropped significantly during the pandemic, cutting deeply into profits.

    "Trump's EPA has almost invariably fallen short in its handling of biofuels, and today's decision, or lack thereof, is no different. We sincerely hope Biden's EPA learns from their mistakes and takes biofuels policy in a much more promising direction." (Source: National Farmers Union, Renewable Fuels Association, FencePost, 30 Nov., 2020) Contact: National Farmers Union, Rob Larew, Pres., (202) 554-1600, www.nfu.org; Renewable Fuels Association, Geoff Cooper, Pres., CEO, (202) 289-3835, www.ethanolrfa.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Fuels Association,  RFS,  National Farmers Union ,  


    USN Produces Jet Fuel from Cellulosic Feedstocks (Ind. Report)
    USN
    Date: 2020-11-09
    Researchers from the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD) in China Lake, California have developed an efficient three-step process for the conversion of cellulosic feedstocks to both a valuable chemical precursor and high-performance jet fuel blendstock. Their paper appears in the journal ChemSusChem.

    In it, the team describes the synthesis of sustainable methylcyclopentadiene and dimethyldicyclopentadiene (DMDCPD) via a three-step process consisting of aldol condensation; catalytic chemoselective hydrogenation; and dehydration.

    Details available HERE. (Source: Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, Nov., 2020) Contact: Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, 7(((760 760-939-3511 60-939-3511 www.navair.navy.mil/nawcwd

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Cellulosic news,  USN news,  Jet Biofuel news,  


    New Solar Panel Design Ups Efficiency 125 pct (New Prod & Tech)
    University of York
    Date: 2020-10-28
    In the UK, a study led by researchers from the University of York in partnership with NOVA University of Lisbon reports designing solar panels in checkerboard lines improves diffraction to increase light absorption by 125 pct and lead to the production of thinner, lighter and more flexible solar panels.

    Solar-grade silicon -- used to create solar cells -- is energy intensive to produce, so creating slimmer cells and changing the surface design would make them cheaper and more environmentally friendly, the study notes. The study suggests the design principle could impact not only the solar cell or LED sector but also applications such as acoustic noise shields, wind break panels, anti-skid surfaces, biosensing applications and atomic cooling. (Source: University of York, The Week, 27 Oct., 2020) Contact: University of York, Dr Christian Schuster, Department of Physics, +44 (0) 1904 320 000, www.york.ac.uk

    More Low-Carbon Energy News University of York ,  Solar Cell,  Solar Cell Efficiency,  


    IRFA Opposing Zero Emissions Vehicle Legislation (Reg, & Leg.)
    IRFA
    Date: 2020-10-26
    In Washington, the Zero Emissions Vehicles Act Legislation recently introduced in the House and Senate calls for restricting the sale of passenger vehicles capable of utilizing biofuels like ethanol and biodiesel by 2025 with a complete ban in 2035.

    Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Executive Director Monte Shaw says the bill mandates electric cars but doesn't take into account electric cars don't have zero emissions. Shaw claims biofuels have a better carbon footprint with lower emissions than electric vehicles that are powered by coal and suggests the best way to cut emissions is to set reduction targets and let the fuel and vehicle market decide how to achieve those goals. (Source: IRFA, WNAX, 26 Oct., 2020) Contact: IRFA, Monte Shaw, Ecex. Dir., (515) 252-6249, (515) 225-0781 -- fax, www.iowarfa.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News IRFA,  Zero Emission Vehicle,  Transportation Emissions,  


    National Biodiesel Foundation Grants to Support B100 (Ind. Report)
    National Biodiesel Foundation,Optimus Technologies
    Date: 2020-10-26
    The Jefferson, Missouri-based National Biodiesel Foundation reports receipt of two DOE 2021 Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) program grants to support s the purchase of new vehicles equipped to run on 100 pct biodiesel (B100).

    The first grant is in partnership with the District of Columbia (DC) Department of Public Works and DC Department of Water for the purchase of 24 short-haul utility replacement vehicles equipped with Selective Catalytic Reduction.

    The Iowa project will replace a multi-purpose vehicle in both Ames and Des-Moines. All replacement vehicles will use Optimus Technologies' Vector system using 100 pct biodiesel supplied by Renewable Energy Group (REGI).

    The projects include an educational and outreach component which will be provided by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and Greater Washington Regional Clean Cities Coalition and the Iowa Biodiesel Board and Iowa Renewable Fuels Association. (Source: National Biodiesel Foundation, PR, AgWires, 26 Oct., 2020) Contact: National Biodiesel Foundation, info@biodieselfoundation.org, www.biodieselfoundation.org; REGI, Katie Stanley, (515) 239-8184, Katie.Stanley@regi.com, www.regi.com; Optimus Technologies, Colin Huwyler, CEO, 412.727.8228, www.optimustec.com; Iowa Renewable Fuels AssociationI, Nathan Hohnstein, Policy Director , (515) 252-6249, (515) 225-0781 -- fax, www.iowarfa.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Iowa Renewable Fuels Association,  National Biodiesel Foundation,  Biodiesel,  B100,  REGI,  Optimus Technologies,  


    Auburn Arts Center Scores USGBC Gold Certification (Ind. Report)
    US Green Building Council,Energy Efficiency
    Date: 2020-10-05
    In Alabama, Auburn University reports its Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center has been awarded US Green Building Council (USGBC) LEED Gold certification. The Center's energy efficiency and sustainability features include:
  • Reduced construction waste and pollution;

  • Reinforced use of public transportation, bicycles and fuel-efficient vehicles;

  • Improved storm water management for Auburn University and the city of Auburn through reduced rainwater surface runoff;

  • Reduced water and energy usage achieved with the use of high-efficiency fixtures and equipment and innovative building design;

  • Use of local and/or recyclable materials, and others. (Source: Auburn University, PR, Oct., 2020) Contact: Auburn University, Office of Communications and Marketing, www.auburn.edu; USGBC, Mahesh Ramanujam, Pres., CEO, (202) 552-1500, www.usgbc.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News USGBC,  LEED Certification,  Energy Efficiency,  


  • Ethanol Industry Joint Statement On Brazil Ethanol TRQ Announcement (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    Ethanol Tadiff
    Date: 2020-09-16
    The following is a joint statement from the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), Growth Energy, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA). After expiring on August 31 and a 20 percent tariff was temporarily applied to all U.S. ethanol, Brazil's tariff rate quota (TRQ) has been extended for a further 90 days starting on Sept. 14.:

    "The U.S. Grains Council, Growth Energy, the Renewable Fuels Association and the National Corn Growers Association believe the 90-day extension of the TRQ serves neither Brazil's consumers nor the Brazilian government's own decarbonization goals, especially while Brazil's ethanol producers continue to be afforded virtually tariff-free access to the U.S. market. The extension falls during Brazil's annual inter-harvest period when U.S. ethanol exports to Brazil are traditionally low, causing greater uncertainty for U.S. exporters looking to make selling decisions now for the traditionally higher Brazilian demand in the winter months. While the Brazilian ethanol market has not been fully reopened to imports, we appreciate the continued support and efforts of the U.S. government as we use this 90-day period to aggressively pursue an open and mutually beneficial ethanol trading relationship with Brazil.

    "The U.S. ethanol industry actively sought, through repeated dialogue with local industry and government, to illustrate the negative impacts of tariffs on Brazilian consumers and the Brazilian government's own decarbonization goals. However, it seems Brazil's government has left its own consumers to pay the price through higher fuel costs once again. While we would have preferred Brazil abandon its ethanol import tariffs entirely and resume its free trade posture on ethanol, which it held for several years before the TRQ, we view its decision to temporarily extend the TRQ on ethanol at the current level as an opportunity to continue discussions toward that end.

    "The U.S. ethanol industry remains focused on expanding the global use of low-carbon ethanol, reducing barriers to trade and elevating its prominence in energy discussions. We remain eager to collaborate and cooperate with other nations that share in the vision of a free and open global ethanol market." (Source: U.S. Grains Council Website News, 14 Sept., 2020) Contact: USGC, Bryan Jernigan, 202-789-0789, bjernigan@grains.org, www.grains.org; Growth Energy, Leigh Claffey, lclaffey@growthenergy.org, www.growthenergy.org; RFA, Ken Colombini, kcolombini@ethanolrfa.org, www.ethanolrfa.org; NCGA, Liz Friedlander, (202) 326-0644, friedlander@ncga.com, www.ncga.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Ethanol Tariff,  Growth Energy,  RFA,  NCGA,  USGC,  


    RFA Offers EPA Advisory Committee Recommendations (Ind. Report)
    Renewable Fuels Association
    Date: 2020-09-11
    At a recent EPA Farm, Ranch and Rural Communities Advisory Committee meeting Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) Pres. and CEO Geoff Cooper suggested the following steps the EPA needs to take immediately to support U.S. ethanol producers and rural America:

  • adopt the recent Tenth Circuit Court decision (Renewable Fuels Association et al. v. Environmental Protection Agency) nationwide;

  • deny all pending so-called "gap year" small refinery exemption (SRE) petitions;

  • decide the 31 pending SRE petitions for 2019 and 2020 according to the Tenth Circuit Court criteria;

  • publish the proposed rule for 2021 renewable volume obligations (RVOs);

  • as ordered by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in ACEI v. EPA, restore the 500 million-gallon conventional renewable fuel volume that was illegally waived from the 2016 RFS requirements, (Source: RFA, AgWired, Sept., 2020 Contact: Farm, Ranch and Rural Communities Advisory Committee, www.epa.gov/faca/farm-ranch-and-rural-communities-federal-advisory-committee-frrcc-membership; Contact: Renewable Fuels Association, Geoff Cooper, Pres., CEO, (202) 289-3835, www.ethanolrfa.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Fuels Association,  Ethanol,  Renewable Fuel,  Geoff Cooper,  


  • NCGA Helps Build Ethanol Blend Pumps, Infrastructure (Ind. Report)
    National Corn Growers Association
    Date: 2020-09-04
    In the Show Me State, the Chesterfield-headquartered National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) reports it is working with Austin, Texas-based Wayne Fueling Systems to produce and sell fuel pumps certified to deliver fuel containing up to 25 pct ethanol.

    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, corninfo@ncga.com, www.ncga.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News National Corn Growers Association,  Ethanol Blend,  E15,  E85 ,  


    Half of World's Oceans Affected by Climate Change (Ind. Report)
    Climate Change
    Date: 2020-08-24
    A study published in Nature Climate Change notes that since the 1950s, the oceans have absorbed roughly 93 pct of the energy entering the climate system, and while most of that heating has been observed near the ocean surface, rising temperatures are now permeating even the deep ocean.

    Data based on recent measurements and nearly a dozen climate models, suggests climate change has already impacted up to about half -- 20 to 55 percent -- of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Ocean basins. What's more, in just six decades, these human-induced changes in temperature and salinity could very well spread to 80 pct of the world's oceans.

    The data suggests that during the second half of the 20th century human-induced warming was responsible for most observed ocean changes -- "statistically" and "unambiguously" different from what would occur naturally. Heat and salt from the ocean surface are usually transported relatively slowly to the ocean's interior, which means that many of the deepest parts experience a lag in human-induced changes. Some deeper areas, however, circulate quicker, and thus respond faster to emissions.

    In the new model, for instance, the Southern Ocean, which is relatively well-ventilated, experienced human-induced changes quite quickly, showing up as early as the 1980s. In the Northern Hemisphere, oceans took a little longer to respond, with most changes calculated to appear sometime between 2010 and 2040. Together, by 2020, the model shows somewhere between 20 and 55 pct of the world's oceans had been altered by anthropogenic climate change. By mid-century, these changes could make up 50 to 60 percent of the world's oceans, and by 2080, 55 to 80 pct, according to the study published in Nature Climate Change. (Source: Science Alert, Nature Climate Change, Aug., 2020)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Change,  


    Eguana, Highlight Solar Partner on Energy Storage (Ind. Report)
    Eguana, Highlight Solar
    Date: 2020-08-17
    Eguana and Highlight Solar report they are partnering to bring the Evolve Energy Storage system to homeowners in the San Jose and San Francisco Bay Area of California.

    The Evolve Energy Storage system, available in both NMC and Cobalt free LFP lithium battery chemistries, allows new and existing residential solar owners to store excess solar power while increasing energy security and independence. Evolve is a cost-effective solution for homeowners to reduce energy costs and increase energy security while helping the environment.

    Evolve is a fully integrated residential energy storage system that includes the company's proprietary power electronics system, LG Chem low-voltage battery modules, and a comprehensive user interface. The system is rated at 5 kW AC output with a modular battery design based on a 6.5 kWh battery, which is scalable from 13 to 39 kWh in storage capacity. The NEMA 3R wall-mounted package is suitable for indoor and outdoor installations. The companies expect to install more than 1 MWh of energy storage systems over the next 12 months. (Source: Eguana Technologies, PR, Aug., 2020) Contact: HighLightSolar, Dean Alayleh, www.HighLightSolar.com; Eguana Technologies, Livio Filice, (905) 929-7522, livio.filice@eguanantech.com, www.eguanatech.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Eguana news,  Highlight Solar news,  Energy Storage news,  Solar news,  


    Biofuels Industry Notable Quote
    Iowa Renewable Fuels Association
    Date: 2020-08-17
    "If we're going to keep this (biofuels) industry viable, we're going to need help from Congress." -- Monte Shaw, Exec. Dir., Iowa Renewable Fuels Assoc., 17 Aug., 2020) Contact: IRFA, Monte Shaw, Ecex. Dir., (515) 252-6249, (515) 225-0781 -- fax, www.iowarfa.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Iowa Renewable Fuels Association,  Biofuel,  Ethanol,  


    RFA Report Details RFS Success (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    RFA
    Date: 2020-08-07
    Commemorating the 15th anniversary of Pres. George W. Bush's signing of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which created the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) has released a report detailing how the industry has benefited the nation over the past decade and a half.

    "As you'll see in this report, the RFS has been a smashing success," said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. "In addition to decreasing reliance on imported petroleum, the RFS has reduced emissions of harmful tailpipe pollutants and greenhouse gases, lowered consumer fuel prices, supported hundreds of thousands of jobs in rural America, and boosted the agricultural economy by adding value to the crops produced by our nation's farmers." The report details how, since 2005:

  • Ethanol and co-product output has quadrupled, and the number of jobs supported by the industry has more than doubled;

  • Ethanol has contributed substantially to the agriculture sector, supporting corn prices and farm incomes;

  • Ethanol consumption has more than tripled, enhancing U.S. energy security while saving consumers money at the pump;

  • The use of ethanol has reduced greenhouse gas emissions and cleaned up air pollution;

  • "As ethanol production has increased, U.S. food price inflation has fallen and the number of people globally who are undernourished has declined.

    The report also includes historical perspective from RFA Senior Strategic Advisor Bob Dinneen, who led RFA through this important policy change. "We've probably all seen the Schoolhouse Rock version of 'How a Bill Becomes a Law', Dinneen writes. "It does a great job of explaining the legislative process. But it cannot capture the circuitous adventure and machinations that occur before an idea materializes into legislative language. That is particularly true when it comes to the 2005 Energy Bill and the Renewable Fuel Standard." (Source: RFA, 6 Aug., 2020) Contact: Renewable Fuels Association, (202) 289-3835, www.ethanolrfa.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFA,  RFS.Ethanol,  Renewable Fuels,  


  • JinkoSolar Claims Monocrystalline Silicon Cell Efficiency Record (Int'l)
    JinkoSolar
    Date: 2020-07-27
    Shangrao, China-based solar module manufacturer JinkoSolar Holding Co., Ltd. is reporting the maximum solar conversion efficiency of its large-area N-type monocrystalline silicon solar cells reached 24.79 pct -- a world record for large-size contact-passivated solar cells. This result was independently confirmed by the Institute for Solar Energy Research in Hamelin (ISFH), Germany.

    The record-breaking mono-crystalline silicon solar cell was fabricated on a CZ mono-Si substrate with a practical size of 267.72cm2. Several advanced technologies have been implemented to achieve this new record of 24.79 pct, including passivating contact technologies, advanced diffusion system, surface passivation and advanced anti-reflection technologies, as well as material upgrades integrated into the cell process. The record-breaking mono-crystalline silicon solar cell will be gradually applied to product production, according to the release. (Source: JinkoSolar, PR, July, 2020) Contact: JinkoSolar, www.jinkosolar.com; Institute for Solar Energy Research in Hamelin, +49 5151 999100, www.isfh.de

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Solar,  Solar Cell Efficiency,  JinkoSolar,  


    ExxonMobil Touts Carbon Capture Material (New Prod. & Tech.)
    ExxonMobil
    Date: 2020-07-27
    Scientists from ExxonMobil, University of California, Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have discovered a new material that could capture more than 90 pct of CO2 emissions from natural gas-fired power plants, using low-temperature steam, requiring less energy for the overall carbon capture process.

    Laboratory tests indicate the patent-pending materials -- tetraamine-functionalised metal organic frameworks -- capture CO2 emissions up to six times more effectively than conventional amine-based carbon capture technology.

    By manipulating the structure of the metal organic framework material, the team of scientists and students demonstrated the ability to condense a surface area the size of a football field, into just one gram of mass -- about the same as a paperclip -- that acts as a sponge for carbon emissions, according to the release.

    "Through collaborations with strong academic institutions and national labs like UC Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, we are developing a portfolio of lower-emissions energy solutions. This provides yet another example of one of the many new materials ExxonMobil is researching to reduce CO2 in the production of energy," according to the release. (Source: ExxonMobil, Smart Energy, 26 July, 2020)Contact: ExxonMobil www.exxonmobil.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News ExxonMobil,  Carbon Capture,  CCS,  


    Ethanol and COVID-19 Pandemic -- Notable Quote
    RFA
    Date: 2020-07-17
    "The (COVID) impact on ethanol production and consumption exceeded 1.3 billion gallons. The usage of corn for ethanol production has been about 500 million bushels lower.

    "You're looking at a total of about $7 billion in reduced revenues for this year and another $2 billion in 2021." -- Scott Richman, RFA Chief Economist commenting on ethanol industry losses from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Contact: Renewable Fuels Association, Scott Richman, (202) 289-3835, www.ethanolrfa.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Ethanol,  RFA,  


    NAWCWD Awarded Biodiesel Production Patent (New Prod & Tech)
    Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division
    Date: 2020-07-17
    In the Golden State, scientists at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD) in China Lake have been awarded a patent for breaking down lignocellulosic material into cheaper biodiesel using acid-catalyzed condensation of the food-grade flavor enhancer 2-tridecanone.

    The use of 2-tridecanone delivers a fuel with "comparable net heats of combustion (NHOCs) to conventional biodiesel, while maintaining derived cetane numbers between 82-91, values which are 20 - 30 units higher than conventional biodiesel and 40-50 units higher than petroleum--derived diesel fuel" , according to the release.

    NAWCWD has been conducting research on renewable jet fuels and high-density turbine fuels since 2007. (Source: NAWCWD, TechLink 16 July, 2020) Contact: NAWCWD, Dr. Ben Harvey , Heather Meylemans, 760-939-3511, www.navair.navy.mil/nawcwd

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Biodiesel news,  lignocellulosic news,  


    NWF Supports Governors' Requests for RFS Relief (Ind. Report)
    AFPM
    Date: 2020-07-08
    According to a recent American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) blog posting, National Wildlife Federation (NWF) has become the most recent US EPA petitioner seeking a general waiver to reduce 2020 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) compliance obligations.

    In a letter to the EPA' Administrator Andrew Wheeler, NWF President and CEO Collin O'Mara echoed the requests of six state governors and stressed the need for smaller biofuel mandates. In its letter, the AFPM noted:

  • "The RFS currently requires about 19 billion gal. of fuel derived from plants to be blended into gasoline. The overwhelming majority of that fuel is corn ethanol, and today 40 pct of the corn produced in the U.S. goes into our gas tanks."

  • "Increasing mandated blending levels increases the potential for further land conversion, presenting a marked threat to the battle against global climate change, with its consequent catastrophic effects on human health and the environment. Higher blends of ethanol necessitated by unrealistic RVOs diminish public health."

  • "In light of the clear and present danger to the environment, we join with the governors of six states in asking for a waiver to the RVO."

    The NWF letter concludes: “"In short, the corn ethanol mandate has led to the loss of important wildlife habitat, particularly in regions critical for monarch butterflies, ducks and other ground-nesting birds, and many other species -- threatening outdoor recreation opportunities as well as the economy. The mandate has also resulted in deteriorated water quality and harmful algal blooms in important surface waters as a result of increased farm runoff. Increasing mandated blending levels increases the potential for further land conversion, presenting a marked threat to the battle against global climate change, with its consequent catastrophic effects on human health and the environment. Higher blends of ethanol necessitated by unrealistic RVOs diminish public health. In light of the clear and present danger to the environment, we join with the Governors of six states in asking for a waiver to the RVO." (Source: National Wildlife Federation, AFPM, Hydrocarbon Engineering, 7 July, 2020) Contact: National Wildlife Federation, Colin O'Mara, CEO, www.nwf.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Renewable Fuel Standard,  Ethanol,  


  • TEP Touts Clean Energy Expansion Plan (Ind. Report)
    Tucson Electric Power
    Date: 2020-06-29
    Tucson Electric Power (TEP) is reporting plans to provide more than 70 pct of its power from wind and solar resources as part of a cleaner energy portfolio that will reduce carbon emissions 80 pct by 2035.

    The 15-year 2020 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) calls for a dramatic expansion of wind and solar power resources, supported by efficient natural gas fired generators and energy storage systems the retirement of TEP's remaining coal-fired power plants over the next 12 years. Key IRP elements include:

  • 2,457 MW of new wind and solar power systems, including 457 MW that will be coming online over the next year.

  • 1,400 MW of new energy storage systems.

  • A proposal to ramp down and ultimately retire two units at the coal fired Springerville Generating Station in 2027 and 2032.

  • Eliminating the use of surface water for power generation and a 70 pc treduction in groundwater use.

  • Continued support for energy efficiency programs to reduce usage and peak power demands.

    TEP's CO2 emission reduction goal was developed in partnership with the University of Arizona's Institute of the Environment with input from a diverse group of customers, community leaders, local government representatives and environmental advocates. The target represents TEP's fair share of worldwide efforts to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius under the 2015 Paris Agreement. TEP's plan would reduce its CO2 emissions by 80 pct, according to the release.

    Download the TEP 2020 Integrated Resource Plan, HERE. (Source: TEP, PR, 26 June, 2020) Contact: TEP, Joseph Barrios , (520) 884-3725, jbarrios@tep.com, www.tep.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Tucson Electric Power,  Renewable Energ,  Carbon Emissions,  Climate Change,  


  • Notable Quote from the RFA
    RFA,Biofuel
    Date: 2020-06-19
    "To say that the last year has been a roller coaster ride for the (ethanol-biofuels) industry would be an enormous understatement." -- Geoff Cooper, Pres., CEO , Renewable Fuels Association Contact: Renewable Fuels Association, Geoff Cooper, Pres., CEO, (202) 289-3835, www.ethanolrfa.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFA ,  Geoff Cooper,  Ethanol,  Renewable Fuels,  


    ITHPP Touts Energy Storage Test Bench (Ind. Report)
    ITHPP
    Date: 2020-06-17
    French energy storage system devices specialist ITHPP is touting a test bench which will produce / simulate an overcurrent (according to customer specifications) to be applied to protection devices in order to determine its behavior and its ability to protect equipment and people. This test bench is designed to assess very high energy / high power protective devices operating at several hundred volts and thousands of amps, such as electric vehicle batteries (EV) and other direct current (DC) applications such as battery energy storage system (BESS) and for distributed energy resources (DER).

    The ITHPP test bench is specifically sized to replicate the effects of short-circuit in high DC for electrical vehicles and battery energy storage systems (BESS). The test bench operates on several types of current/voltage waveforms. The discharged parameter is modular and a human-machine interface system allows precise indications of the discharge parameters according to the settings. The bench is equipped with a shielded, non-flammable test chamber and includes a smoke evacuation system to eliminate risks linked to a faulty system under test. (Source: ITHPP, PR, Website, June, 2020) Contact: ITHPP, +33 (0 )5 65 33 43 30, www.ithpp-alcen.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Energy Storage news,  


    RFA Urges Trump to Reject Refinery Waivers (Ind. Report)
    RFA
    Date: 2020-06-12
    "One year ago today, you visited Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy in Council Bluffs to join us in celebrating a monumental achievement. At your direction, EPA had just completed regulatory changes finally allowing year-round sales of gasoline containing 15 pct ethanol (E15).

    "This long-awaited move unlocked the door to future demand growth for ethanol and corn. It also meant consumers would have increased access to cleaner and more affordable fuel options at the pump.

    "Just as expected, the marketplace responded quickly. In the year since the red-tape barrier was removed, E15 sales are up 50pct.

    "But E15 growth would have been exponentially larger if not for your EPA continuing to excuse oil refiners from their legal obligations to blend renewable fuels. As we told you a year ago, EPA's refinery waivers have caused devastating demand losses for ethanol and corn, and they under mine the expansion of E15.

    "Even after a federal court overturned some refinery waivers in January, your EPA continues to receive dozens of exemption requests from oil companies. EPA is now even considering giving retroactive waivers for years that pre-date your administration.

    "This needs to stop. It is hurting farmers, costing consumers, and derailing progress on energy and environmental security.

    "The economic pain in farm country caused by these refinery waivers was compounded this spring—first by the Saudi-Russia oil price war, and then by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of this 'perfect tsunami,' half of the ethanol industry was recently shut down, leading to layoffs across rural America. The ethanol industry and farmers are hurting like never before.

    Mr. President, we need your help. We ask that you stand up for the Renewable Fuel Standard. Please direct your EPA to abide by the January court ruling and end the abuse of the refinery waiver loophole.

    "You stood by us, farmers, and consumers when you directed EPA to allow year-round E15. Now, we humbly ask that you stand with us again and ensure ethanol demand is not eroded by illegal refinery waivers. Thank you,"

    Geoff Cooper, Pres. & CEO Renewable Fuels Associationwww.EthanolRFA.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS news,  Refinery Waivers news,  Biofuel Blend news,  RFA news,  

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