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Trinseo, ETB to Collaborate on Bio-Based 1,3 Butadiene (Ind. Report)
Trinseo, ETB
Date: 2021-04-30
Berwyn, Pennsylvania-based Trinseo and Netherlands-headquartered ETB are reporting a letter of intent to collaborate on the development of purified bio-based 1,3-butadiene -- a first component in the value chain for enabling the replacement of fossil-based raw materials with renewable sources -- and to undertake a feasibility study for new pilot plant in Europe.

The companies will jointly explore opportunities to scale up ETB's unique single-stage process to produce bio-based 1,3-butadiene from ethanol using polyfunctional catalyst technology. The collaboration will initially focus on demonstrating the viability of sustainable ethanol-based synthetic rubber in support of green tire production.

Trinseo is a global materials solutions provider and manufacturer of plastics, latex binders, and synthetic rubber with a focus on delivering innovative, sustainable, and value-creating products.

ETB Global B.V. is developing unique catalysts for new sustainable & bio-based processes, drawing on over 100 years of experience and knowledge in the fossil-based petrochemical industry and catalysis. ETB aims to change the environmental footprint of the rubber and plastic products. (Source: Trinseo, PR, 27 Apr., 2021) Contact: Trinseo, Marjolein Groeneweg, +49 6196 969 3124, mgroeneweg@trinseo.com, www.trinseo.com; ETB , Vladimir Trembovolsky , CEO, +31 657 881232, www.vladimir@etbcat.com, www.etbcat.com

More Low-Carbon Energy News Ethanol,  Butadiene,  


RINs Hit Highs as High Court Deliberates RFS Waivers (Ind. Report)
RFS, Renewable Fuel Standard
Date: 2021-04-28
Reuters is reporting U.S. renewable fuel standard credits (RINs) jumped Tuesday to record highs as costs for soybean oil pushed up both renewable fuel and biomass-based credits.

Renewable fuel (D6) credits for 2021 traded up from $1.44 to $1.50 each and biomass-based (D4) credits traded at $1.58 each, up from $1.52 previously -- highest since Reuters began reporting data for renewable fuel credits in 2013 and biomass-based credits in 2014.

The credits, known as RINs, rose at the same time that the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday was hearing oral arguments for a case involving the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard, which requires refiners to blend biofuels into their fuel mix each year or buy RINs from those that do. The Supreme Court's decision around the case will likely heavily influence the future of the RFS.

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.Under the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard, the nation's oil refineries are required to blend billions of gallons of biofuels such as ethanol into the fuel or buy credits from those that do. But the EPA can waive their obligations if they prove compliance would cause them financial distress. (Source: Various Media, Reuters, 27 Apr., 2021)

More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Fuels Standard,  


Winter Weather Reduces Ethanol Production (EIA Report)
U.S. Energy Information Administration
Date: 2021-04-05
According to EIA's latest Weekly Petroleum Status Report, the colder-than-normal weather that affected much of the U.S. in mid-February and disrupted Midcontinent and Gulf Coast petroleum markets also affected fuel ethanol producers. Fuel ethanol production fell to the lowest levels since the onset of responses to COVID-19 in spring 2020. U.S. weekly fuel ethanol production fell to an average of 658,000 barrels per day (b/d) during the week of February 21, 2021, which was the lowest weekly production level since May 11, 2020, and 38 percent lower than at the same time last year, according to EIA's Weekly Petroleum Status Report. Production rates have since returned to average levels, but fuel ethanol inventories remain low.

Fuel ethanol operating margins and production rates are largely driven by fuel ethanol, corn, and natural gas prices. Estimated fuel ethanol margins fell to negative levels in February, when natural gas supplies were disrupted and natural gas spot prices approached near record-high levels. As a result, many fuel ethanol producers reduced production rates. Amid record-high natural gas prices, some fuel ethanol producers chose to sell natural gas supplies back into spot markets instead of producing fuel ethanol. U.S. weekly fuel ethanol production has since increased to an average of 922,000 b/d for the week ending March 19, but fuel ethanol inventories have yet to fully return to average levels after the supply disruption.

U.S. weekly inventories of fuel ethanol fell to 21.3 million barrels as of March 12, 2021, which marked the fourth consecutive weekly inventory withdrawal at a time when inventories typically build as we head into the summer driving season. The March 12 inventory level was 13 percent less than at the same time last year and the lowest inventory level since Nov. 27, 2020, when fuel ethanol production and inventories began increasing after reaching five-year lows, which occurred as a result of responses to COVID-19. Fuel ethanol prices and producer margins have since returned to average levels. Elevated prices for fuel ethanol renewable identification numbers (RINs) should also help drive higher fuel ethanol production rates and prompt fuel ethanol inventories to build closer to their normal seasonal averages in the coming weeks, as evidenced by the slight increase to 21.8 million barrels as of March 19, 2021. Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, 31 Mar., 2021) Contact: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Weekly Petroleum Status Report, www.eia.gov/petroleum/supply/weekly

More Low-Carbon Energy News U.S. Energy Information Administration,  thanol,  


CVR Energy Advancing OK Renewable Diesel Project (Ind. Report)
CVR Energy
Date: 2020-12-23
Sugarland, Texas-based CVR Energy Inc is reporting Board approval to advance work on a $110-million renewable diesel plant in Wynnewood, Oklahoma.

When commissioned and fully operational, the facility will produce almost 100 million gpy of renewable diesel and roughly 6 million gpy of renewable naphth and significantly lower the company's annual Renewable Identification Number (RIN) exposure under the Clean Air Act's Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

The use of RNG as a transportation fuel has reportedly increased 291 pct over the past 5 years, displacing close to 7.5 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). That is the greenhouse gas emissions equivalent of driving 18.6 trillion miles in a typical passenger cat. It is the CO2 emissions equivalent of consuming 842 million gallons of gasoline. This equates to the total amount of fuel used by 63,171 transit buses every year, according to trade data(Source: CVR Energy, PR, 22 Dec., 2020) Contact: CVR Energy Inc., David Lamp., CEO, (281) 207-3200, www.cvrenergy.com

More Low-Carbon Energy News RINs,  CVR Energy,  Renewable Diesel,  


European Clean Hydrogen Alliance Launched (Int'l. Report)
European Clean Hydrogen Alliance
Date: 2020-07-15
The European Clean Hydrogen Alliance will support the development of a clean and globally competitive hydrogen industry in Europe. Clean hydrogen technologies have the potential to achieve deep decarbonisation of some of Europe's most emitting industries, and play a key role in helping Europe to transition to a carbon neutral economy and become carbon neutral by 2050.

According to the Alliance , from 2025 to 2030, hydrogen needs to become an intrinsic part of our integrated energy system, with at least 40 gigawatts of renewable hydrogen electrolysers and the production of up to ten million tonnes of renewable hydrogen in the EU. From 2030 to 2050, renewable hydrogen technologies should reach maturity and be deployed at large scale across all hard-to-decarbonize sectors, according to the EU.

Download European Clean Hydrogen Alliance details HERE. (Source: European Clean Hydrogen Alliance, EU, Offshore Engineering, 14 July, 2020) Contact: European Clean Hydrogen Alliance, www.ec.europa.eu/growth/industry/policy/european-clean-hydrogen-alliance_en

More Low-Carbon Energy News Hydrogen news,  


Biofuel Leaders Question Retroactive RFS Exemptions (Ind. Report)
Renewable Fuels Association
Date: 2020-06-10
In a 9 June letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, the Renewable Fuels Assoc. wrote:

"We are writing to request further information about petitions reportedly received by the U.S. EPA from small refiners seeking exemption from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for past compliance years.

"The petitions in question were discussed during your testimony before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on May 20, 2020. On the same day, U.S. DOE Under Secretary Mark Menezes confirmed that EPA is 'send[ing] over' past-year petitions for DOE review. Mr. Menezes described the petitions as 'gap filings' intended to reconstitute after-the-fact a continuous string of exemptions for select oil companies 'to be consistent with the Tenth Circuit decision.'

"This attempt to circumvent the courts and the RFS should be rejected out of hand. Even if EPA granted retroactive 'gap' exemptions without simultaneously returning the number of RINs associated with the exemption to the petitioner, such exemptions would be inconsistent with EPA's own policies and regulations, legal precedent, and Congressional intent.

"These 'gap filings' appear to be little more than the latest in a string of oil industry tactics designed to subvert the law and sidestep a court order to uphold the RFS. Read the full letter HERE. (Source: Renewable Fuels Assoc., 9 June, 2020) Contact: RFA, www.fuelsamerica.org

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


Trump Urged to Reject Waiver Requests (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
EPA,Renewable Fuel Standard
Date: 2020-05-11
In the nation's capitol, a bipartisan group of 24 U.S. senators -- including Sens. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Tina Smith(D-Minn) Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich) have written the following to the White House:

"We are writing to urge you to uphold the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and immediately reject the requests for a waiver of the RFS under Section 211(o)(7) of the Clean Air Act recently received by the Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) from five state governors.

"Across our states, biofuels lower fuel prices, create hundreds of thousands of jobs in the new energy economy, many of which are in rural areas, provide an important market for farmers, cut our reliance on foreign oil, reduce emissions and harmful air pollutants, and provide critical inputs to our food supply.

"Our nation is facing unprecedented challenges as a result of the global health pandemic caused by COVID-19, with the impacts being felt across all of society. Waiving the RFS would cause further harm to the U.S.economy, especially our most vulnerable rural communities. It would also exacerbate the effects experienced by the biofuel sector as a result of COVID-19, causing far-reaching detrimental impacts on employment, farmers, food security, fuel prices, and the environment. The resiliency of America's renewable fuel industry has already suffered as a result of the EPA's drastic expansion of the small refinery waiver program in recent years.

"The U.S. Department of Homeland Security identified the biofuels sector as an essential critical infrastructure workforce during the COVID-19 response. However, as motor fuel demand has plummeted, prices have slumped to record lows and producers are suffering heavy losses. At this point more than 70 ethanol facilities with an annual production capacity of 6.1 billion gallons have been fully idled, and approximately 70 more plants have reduced their operating rates by a combined amount of 1.9 billion gallons annualized. At least 46 pct of the ethanol industry's total production capacity is now idled, and eight biodiesel and renewable diesel facilities remain offline. Highly-skilled jobs across the country are being lost at an alarming rate.

"Biofuel plant closures have ripple effects through the U.S. economy. Farm income is directly linked to the health of the renewable fuel industry. Plant shutdowns are causing commercial CO2 supply shortages and inhibiting the ability of meat packers and other food sectors to refrigerate, preserve,and supply food and beverages at current, affordable rates. Ethanol plants also produce low cost, high-protein animal feed (distillers grains). Supply shortages as a result of biofuel plant closures are impacting livestock feed procurement, rations, and prices. Biodiesel producers provide value to surplus and waste oils, fats and greases from food, feed and other biofuel production. Without the biodiesel industry, excess feedstocks will clog the supply chain, causing livestock producers to potentially raise prices for consumers. Removing biofuels from gasoline and diesel will also lead to an increase of greenhouse gas emissions, particulate matter, and toxics-causing degradation to our air quality.

"Recent requests for a waiver of the RFS are unjustified and clearly do not satisfy the rigorous requirements necessary for EPA consideration. RFS waivers can only be granted by EPA if there is a demonstration of 'severe harm' to the economy or environment of a state, region or the United States that is directly caused by the RFS. None of these standards are met today and the following reasons clearly demonstrate the case for rejecting the waiver requests:

  • Challenging market conditions in the oil sector are the directresult of oversupply from international competitors combined with falling gasoline, diesel and jet fuel demand as a result of the COVID-19, not the RFS.

  • The RFS already accommodates demand reductions and provides flexibility to reflect the reality of motor fuel demand. EPA translates the annual RFS requirements into a percentage share of gasoline and diesel. Thus, the existing structure of the RFS regulations already results in an oil refiner's renewable volume obligations being proportionally reduced if overall motor fuel demand drops over the year

  • EPA has repeatedly found that RIN prices do not negatively impact refiners, a position reinforced by the 10th Circuit court in January 200. In addition, a record-large supply of RINs is available to refiners today, largely as a consequence of EPA's abusive expansion of the small refinery exemption program, so the threat of high RIN prices is currently non-existent.

    "We urge you to direct the EPA to reject all calls to waive the RFS. The RFS is more important now than ever as farmers, the biofuel sector, and rural America struggle to remain operational during the COVID-19 crisis." (Source: US Senate, 8 May, 2020)

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


  • Bankrupt Philly Refiner Offered Cap on RFS Obligation (Ind Report)
    Philadelphia Energy Solutions
    Date: 2020-05-11
    The Trump administration has offered to place a $10 million cap on bankrupt Philadelphia Energy Solutions' biofuel blending obligations, effectively cutting the refiner's regulatory liability by more than 70 pct and freeing more cash for the company's creditors. Under the deal PES will either surrender 161.8 million biofuel blending credits (RINs) valued at roughly $35 million or pay up to $10 million to meet its RFS obligations, according to Reuters.

    The Trump EPA previously waived $350 million in biofuels compliance costs for PES after its initial bankruptcy in 2018.

    As reported in Jan., Philadelphia-headquartered bioenergy developer SG Preston dropped its previously expressed interest in redeveloping the shut-down fire-damaged 335,000 bpd Philadelphia refinery, which is now being sold by creditors for $252 million and redeveloped under a bankruptcy court approved plan. (Source: Various Media,Reuters, May, 2020)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Philadelphia Energy Solutions,  RFS,  Biofuel Blend,  RINs,  


    CVR Energy Considering Renewable Diesel Production (Ind. Report)
    CVR Energy
    Date: 2020-05-08
    Reuters is reporting Sugarland, Texas-based CVR Energy Inc. is looking to convert certain units in its petroleum refineries to renewable diesel production (RNG) to reduce its exposure to the cost of renewable fuel credits (RINs) which it estimate will come in at roughly $65 million to $75 million in 2020.

    The project, which would involve using excess hydrogen capacity and converting some desulfurization units for renewable diesel production, is still in its early stages, according to the company.

    The use of RNG as a transportation fuel has reportedly increased 291 pct over the past 5 years, displacing close to 7.5 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). That is the greenhouse gas emissions equivalent of driving 18.6 trillion miles in a typical passenger cat. It is the CO2 emissions equivalent of consuming 842 million gallons of gasoline. This equates to the total amount of fuel used by 63,171 transit buses every year, according to trade data. (Source: CVR Energy, Reuters 7 May, 2020) Contact: CVR Energy Inc., (281) 207-3200, www.cvrenergy.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News CVR Energy ,  Renewable Diesel,  RINs,  RNG,  


    Alliance BioEnergy's Next-Gen CTS 2.0 Underway (Ind Report)
    Alliance BioEnergy
    Date: 2020-04-10
    In the Sunshine State, Palm Beach Gardens-based Alliance BioEnergy Plus Inc. reports construction is underway on its new 4th generation Cellulose-to-Sugar (CTS 2.0) prototype.

    CTS 2.0 can convert virtually any plant material -- grasses, wood, paper, farm waste, yard waste, forestry products, fruit casings, nut shells, and the cellulosic portion of municipal solid waste -- into sugars and subsequently into biofuels, and bioplastics, without the use of enzymes or liquid acids. CTS stands for Cellulose to Sugar. The cellulose is converted into sugar and lignin. The sugar is further converted into bio-ethanol and other biofuels; the lignin may be further converted into bioplastics. The company notes that biofuel originating from the CTS process will receive the generous D3 cellulosic Renewable Fuel Credits (RINs) which are currently $1.40/gallon of ethanol. (Source: Alliance Bioenergy, PR, 9 April, 2020) Contact: Alliance Bioenergy Plus, Inc., Ben Slager, CEO, Ben.slager@alliancebioe.com; www.Alliancebioe.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Cellulosic,  Biomass,  Alliance BioEnergy,  Biomass,  Biofuel,  


    Collegians Polled on Climate Change Crisis (Report Attached)
    Vassar College
    Date: 2020-04-06
    In Poughkeepsie, New York, a recent survey of students at the liberal arts college found respondents were "very concerned" about the climate crisis and generally wanted Vassar to do more to address it. The survey also found Vassar students generally see "political action and public policy as central to addressing the climate crisis."

    On a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest, 70 pct of respondents rated their concern about the climate crisis as a 5, and only 9 pct rated their concern as a 3 or less.

    Download Vassar Students on Climate Change Report details HERE. (Source: Vassar College, Vassar Insider, April, 2020) Contact: Vassar College, www.vassar.edu

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Change,  


    E15 Sales Surge After Removal of Regulatory Barrier (Report Attached)
    Renewable Fuels Association
    Date: 2020-02-07
    New analysis from the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) has revealed that around 500 million gallons of E15, a blend of 15% ethanol fuel, were sold across the US I 2019, setting a new record. The review, carried out by, extrapolated the Minnesota data nationally, finding that 499 million gallons of E15 were sold in 2019. This volume contained 75 million gallons of ethanol.

    The data also suggests that the impact of small refinery "hardship" waivers under the RFS took a toll on the industry. On a per-station basis, sales of E15 were lower in the first few months of 2019 than during the same period the year before. This change can be attributed to the fact that the EPA granted numerous exemptions under the RFS to small refineries, causing the price of RFS compliance credits (RINs) to fall. thus reducing the incentive for retailers to offer blends of fuel with higher ethanol content, reducing their ability to discount higher blends relative to gasoline.

    The full RFA analysis is HERE (Source: RFA, 4 Feb., 2020) Contact: RFA, Scott Richman, Economist, (202) 289-3835, www.ethanolrfa.org

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


    White House Confirms 2020 Biofuel RVO Plan (Ind. Report)
    Renewable Fuel Standard
    Date: 2019-12-20
    Reuters is reporting the Trump administration plans to stick with its proposed 2020 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) biofuel blending requirements as proposed in October, despite the farming sector's complaint that the plan does too little for corn growers.

    Under the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) oil refiners are required to blend some 15 billion gpy of corn-based ethanol into their gasoline, but small facilities can be exempted if compliance would hurt them financially.

    The October proposal was intended to placate corn growers and compensate the biofuel industry for the administration's expanded use of refinery exemptions, but which the industry has largely panned as insufficient, according to Reuters. The EPA's October plan would raise the biofuels volumes that some refineries must blend in 2020 based on DOE recommendations for volumes that should be exempted.

    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: Reuters, Various Media, 19 Dec., 2019)

    For details see our Oct. 21 report as follows -- Proposed Volumes for 2020 and Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2021. The Trump administration EPA has issued the attached supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking seeking additional comment on the recently proposed rule to establish the cellulosic biofuel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel volumes for 2020 and the biomass-based diesel volume for 2021 under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.

    The notice does not change the proposed volumes for 2020 and 2021. Instead, it proposes and seeks comment on adjustments to the way that annual renewable fuel percentages are calculated. Annual renewable fuel percentage standards are used to calculate the number of gallons each obligated party is required to blend into their fuel or to otherwise obtain renewable identification numbers (RINs) to demonstrate compliance.

    Specifically, the agency is seeking comment on projecting the volume of gasoline and diesel that will be exempt in 2020 due to small refinery exemptions based on a three-year average of the relief recommended by the BOE, including where DOE had recommended partial exemptions. The agency intends to grant partial exemptions in appropriate circumstances when adjudicating 2020 exemption petitions. The agency proposes to use this value to adjust the way it calculates renewable fuel percentages. The proposed adjustments would help ensure that the industry blends the final volumes of renewable fuel into the nation's fuel supply and that, in practice, the required volumes are not effectively reduced by future hardship exemptions for small refineries. Consistent with the statute, the supplemental notice seeks to balance the goal of the RFS of maximizing the use of renewables while following the law and sound process to provide relief to small refineries that demonstrate the need.

    Download the Renewable Fuel Standard Program -- Proposed Volumes for 2020 and Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2021 HERE. Contact: EPA Renewable Fuel Standard, 800-385-6164, www.epa.gov/fuels-registration-reporting-and-compliance-help/forms/fuels-program-helpdesk

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  "Hardship" Waiver,  Ethanol.Ethanol Blend,  Iowa Renewable Fuels Association,  Red Trail Energy,  


    RFS Proposed Volumes for 2020 and Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2021 (Ind. Report)
    EPA, Renewable fuel Standard
    Date: 2019-10-21
    The Trump administration EPA has issued the attached supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking seeking additional comment on the recently proposed rule to establish the cellulosic biofuel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel volumes for 2020 and the biomass-based diesel volume for 2021 under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.

    The notice does not change the proposed volumes for 2020 and 2021. Instead, it proposes and seeks comment on adjustments to the way that annual renewable fuel percentages are calculated. Annual renewable fuel percentage standards are used to calculate the number of gallons each obligated party is required to blend into their fuel or to otherwise obtain renewable identification numbers (RINs) to demonstrate compliance.

    Specifically, the agency is seeking comment on projecting the volume of gasoline and diesel that will be exempt in 2020 due to small refinery exemptions based on a three-year average of the relief recommended by the Department of Energy (DOE), including where DOE had recommended partial exemptions. The agency intends to grant partial exemptions in appropriate circumstances when adjudicating 2020 exemption petitions. The agency proposes to use this value to adjust the way we calculate renewable fuel percentages. The proposed adjustments would help ensure that the industry blends the final volumes of renewable fuel into the nation's fuel supply and that, in practice, the required volumes are not effectively reduced by future hardship exemptions for small refineries. Consistent with the statute, the supplemental notice seeks to balance the goal of the RFS of maximizing the use of renewables while following the law and sound process to provide relief to small refineries that demonstrate the need.

    Download the Renewable Fuel Standard Program -- Proposed Volumes for 2020 and Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2021 HERE. Contact: EPA Renewable Fuel Standard, 800-385-6164, www.epa.gov/fuels-registration-reporting-and-compliance-help/forms/fuels-program-helpdesk

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Fuel Standard,  Biofuel,  Biofuel Blend,  


    Think Tank Warns of Carbon Tax "Carbon Leakage" (Ind. Report)
    Fraser Institute
    Date: 2019-08-23
    A recently released study from the Canadian think tank, the Fraser Institute, contends Canada's federal carbon tax will increase production costs in certain key sectors and could trigger "carbon leakage" -- a phenomenon where firms relocate industrial activity to countries with less-stringent climate policies.

    According to the study, the federal carbon tax, which is set to reach $50 per tonne in 2022, will increase the cost of energy and make some Canadian businesses less competitive compared to firms in other countries including the U.S..

    The study identifies petroleum and coal-product manufacturing sector (which will see costs increase 24.8 per cent due to the federal carbon tax), agriculture chemical manufacturing (pesticides, fertilizers, etc.), basic chemical manufacturing, cement and concrete product manufacturing, and primary metal manufacturing as the most vulnerable to waning competitiveness and carbon leakage.

    Access the report HERE (Source: Fraser Institute, PR, Aug., 2019) Contact: Fraser Institute, Elmira Aliakbari, Dir. of Natural Resource Studies, (514) 281-9550, www.fraserinstitute.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Fraser Institute,  Carbon Emissions,  CO2,  Carbon Leakage,  


    Ameresco Advocates for Renewable Natural Gas (Ind. Report)
    Ameresco
    Date: 2019-08-02
    In testimony at recent EPA hearings on 2020 Renewable Fuel Volume Standards and Renewable Natural Gas (RNG), Framingham, Mass.-based RBG developer and renewables and energy efficiency specialist Ameresco, Inc. Senior Project Manager Jeff Stander noted -- "We strongly encourage the EPA to set the 2020 cellulosic biofuel RVO to account for at least 650 million gallons of RNG."

    Stander led the 2018 development of Ameresco's RNG production facility at the Woodland Meadows Landfill in Canton, Michigan and was one of several industry experts representing the RNG Coalition at the EPA public hearing on July 31 in Ypsilanti, Michigan, for the EPA's proposed Renewable Fuel Standards for 2020, according to the release.

    Ameresco has developed 39 beneficial use projects involving biogas at wastewater treatment plants and landfills, including three RNG facilities in Arizona, Michigan and Texas that participate in the RFS program. The RNG facilities generate D3 Cellulosic Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) and provide transportation fuel that is injected into the natural gas pipeline grid.

    Since 2014, the EPA has recognized the use of RNG to meet fuel volume standards under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). RNG makes up more than 95 pct of the renewable fuel used to meet the RFS cellulosic biofuel requirement, according to the Ameresco release. (Source: Ameresco, PR, 31 July, 2019) Contact: Ameresco, Jeff Stander, Senior Project Developer, (508) 661-2288, www.ameresco.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Ameresco,  RNG,  RFS,  


    Generating Electricity in Canada from Wind and Sunlight: Is Getting Less for More Better than Getting More for Less? (Ind. Report)

    Date: 2019-07-31
    Contrary to the common misconception that wind and solar power generation is relatively inexpensive, renewable energy comes with large yet often ignored costs that increase electricity prices for residents and businesses, according to a study from the not-for-profit Canadian public policy think-tank the Fraser Institute.

    The study finds that while wind turbines and solar panels are relatively cheap to operate, and because the require back-up power sources and battery storage for non productive periods, they're costly to build and connect to the power grid.

    Download the Generating Electricity in Canada from Wind and Sunlight: Is Getting Less for More Better than Getting More for Less? report HERE. (Source: Fraser Institute, 30 July, 2019) Contact: Fraser Institute, Pierre Desrochers, Snr. Fellow, Institutewww.fraserinstitute.org


    Statement from a Coalition of Free-Market State Think Tanks on Trump Administration Affordable Clean Energy Rule (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    Affordable Clean Energy Plan
    Date: 2019-06-28
    Editor's Note: This publication, its editors and administration neither agrees or disagrees with the views presented in the following statement from the McIver Institute

    "The Trump administration's finalized Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule is a major victory for America's middle class, many of whom work in energy intensive industries like manufacturing and mining. It also represents a boon to America's least fortunate for whom energy costs represent a significant part of their budget. All Americans would have been harmed by the Obama administration's legally flawed Clean Power Plan. It would have dramatically increased the cost of electricity and was predicted to reduce global warming by only 0.018 degrees Celsius by 2100, an amount far too small to be measured.

    "After Congress rejected proposed cap-and-trade legislation, the Obama administration crafted the Clean Power Plan to force states into regional cap-and-trade plans. President Trump's plan disallows such plans for compliance and focuses, instead, on improving the efficiencies of individual plants.

    "The Clean Power Plan claimed to seek a 32 pct reduction in CO2 emissions from 2005 levels by 2030, at an estimated compliance cost of $9 billion. The US Chamber of Commerce estimated a more realistic $75 billion in compliance costs. The Rule was met with bipartisan opposition by 27 states who won a Supreme Court stay of the Rule in 2016.

    "The Clean Power Plan was also completely unnecessary. Thanks to the Trump administration's commonsense approach, emissions have fallen by 28 pct since 2017 and are forecast to be reduced 35 pct by 2030. At a compliance cost of $0.3 billion for the ACE rule, these gains were at 250 times less cost than the previous administration's alternative." -- The MacIver Institute

    The MacIver Institute is joined by the Caesar Rodney Institute, the Center of the American Experiment, the Commonwealth Foundation, the Independence Institute, John Locke Foundation, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, the Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity, the Rio Grande Foundation, and the Roughrider Policy Center in supporting the ACE. (Source: MacIver Institute, June, 2019) Contact: The John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy Brett Healy, President 608.588.6477, bhealy@maciverinstitute.com, www.maciverinstitute.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Obama Clean Power Plan,  Trump,  Affordable Clean Energy,  


    Conservative Groups Urge Carbon Tax Rejection (Reg. & Leg.)
    Goldwater Institute
    Date: 2019-06-19
    More than 70 leaders from Americans for Tax Reform, the Goldwater Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Independent Women's Forum, the Texas Public Policy Foundation and other conservative-leaning organizations have written an open letter urging the U.S. Congress not to impose carbon taxes.

    "We oppose any carbon tax. A carbon tax raises the cost of heating your home in the winter and cooling your home in the summer. It raises the cost of filling your car. A carbon tax increases the cost of everything Americans buy and lowers Americans' effective take home pay. A carbon tax increases the power, cost, and intrusiveness of the government in our lives", the letter claimed.

    The letter was reportedly a reaction to mainstream Republican Sen. Mitt Romney's comment on possibly co-sponsoring a $15 per ton carbon tax bill with Delaware Democrat Cris Coons. If Romney were to co-sponsor carbon tax legislation, he would likely be the only Republican senator openly supporting it. (Source: Goldwater Institute, The Hayride, 15 June, 2019) Contact: Goldwater Institute, 602-462-5000, www.goldwaterinstitute.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Carbon Tax,  


    Novozymes Touts New Liquefaction Platform (New Prod. & Tech.)
    Novozymes
    Date: 2019-06-12
    Biofuel technology provider Novozymes reports the launch of Fortiva, a new alpha-amylase technology that helps customers avoid having to choose between maximizing enzyme performance and operational efficiency. In yeast, Force continues to deliver on the promise to quickly bring innovative, robust, and reliable biological solutions to the market from the Innova yeast platform established last year.

    Fortiva is added into liquefaction the same as traditional alpha amylase technologies, but once introduced, it solubilizes more difficult starch than all other amylases on the market

  • It does this through both the efficient operational use of temperature, as well as the enzyme itself, leading to the highest conversion of starch to dextrins in the market and creating the highest returns on investment. Novozymes sees this proven time and again through an average 20 pct reduction in ethanol plants' residual starch.

  • Fortiva advances plant efficiency. The fuel ethanol industry initially operated at high liquefaction temperatures (195F/91C) known to better solubilize starch to dextrins, but during this time, enzyme efficiency was limited and required excessive use of chemicals to enable the high operational temperature. Novozymes advancements in enzyme technology (Liquozyme SC) allowed for the removal of unnecessary chemicals (lime) required but required an operational change to more typical operating liquefaction temperatures seen in the fuel ethanol industry today (185F/85C)

  • Fortiva again allows the ethanol industry to engage very efficient, high temperature liquefactions (195F/91C) while also bringing to market the most advanced alpha amylase to work in this ideal environment, solubilizing more starch without the need for additional chemicals, yielding the highest ethanol production in the market (+1 pct ethanol yield).

    Novozyme's Innova Force targets ethanol plants seeking flexibility to achieve operational targets without sacrificing performance. It allows producers to achieve throughput and yield targets without losing ethanol yield to common stressors, such as high temperature and organic acids. Force gives producers the flexibility to push for yield without compromise, and to choose the format that best fits their operation, dry or cream.

  • Innova Force expresses multiple starch-degrading enzymes for tailored substrate activity, ensuring solubilization and conversion for the lowest residual starch and most optimal fermentation kinetics. Paired with novel glucoamylases, the result is the lowest stress and high performing yeast kinetics and fermentations for exceptional efficiency.

  • Force is proven to handle tough challenges: Exceptional robustness to high ethanol concentrations, high dry solids -- up to 38 pct temperature excursions up to 104 degree F, and lactic acid excursions up to 0.6 pct. Force expresses multiple enzymes to maximize substrate and starch conversion, and is available in two formats (cream and dry) making it the most advanced dry yeast on the market.

  • Force eliminates the need for yeast food (100 pct) required by other yeasts, a $300,000 savings (100+MGY plants). Based on plant trials to date, there is potential for significant urea reduction, up to 75 pct depending on individual plant conditions. For every 500lbs of urea reduced, plants can save approximately $130,000 (100+MGY plant). Innova Force eliminates these hidden costs with its flexibility, robustness, and opportunity to run a plant as needed (high throughput or yield): $500,000 savings in nutrients (urea reduction, and 100 pct elimination of yeast nutrients); $280,000 cost reduction related to poor performing fermentations caused by lack of robustness; 33 pct DS -- plants using advanced yeasts struggle running high dry solids, according to the Novozymes release. (Source: Novozymes, Trade Release, 10 June, 2019) Contact: Novozymes, Brian Brazeau, VP, Biofuels Commercial North America, Peder Holk Nielsen, Pres. and CEO, Tina Sejersgard Fano, VP Bioenergy, +45 44 46 00 00, www.novozymes.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Novozymes,  Ethanol,  Yeast,  


  • NBB Comments on the EPA's E15, RIN Reform Proposals (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    National Biodiesel Board
    Date: 2019-05-03
    The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) filed the following formal comments on the U.S. EPA's proposed Modifications to Fuel Regulations to Provide Flexibility for E15 -- Modifications to RFS RIN Market Regulations rules. NBB respectfully disagreed with EPA's proposal to modify RIN market regulations without first showing data-based evidence of problems within the RIN market.

    "The proposed RIN market reforms are unnecessary, as EPA has yet to see data-based evidence of RIN market manipulation. Reforming a system that, while certainly not perfect, is working as intended with no evidence of manipulation has the potential to disrupt and even undermine the system that obligated parties use to demonstrate compliance with the RFS. We ask that the agency use this proposed rule as an opportunity to provide transparency to the small refinery exemption process and address the timing of granting these exemptions. Increasing transparency in the small refinery exemption process is what is actually needed to prevent manipulation in the RIN market.

    "Right now, retroactive small refinery exemptions are having the most negative impact on RIN markets, destroying demand for more than 360 million gallons of biodiesel and renewable diesel. Rather than unneeded reforms that could further disrupt the RIN market, EPA should increase transparency around the small refinery exemptions, end its practice of encouraging retroactive petitions, and ensure that annual volumes that it set are met,"Kurt Kovarik, VP federal affairs, added. (Source: NBB, 30 April, 2019) Contact: NBB, Donnell Rehagen, CEO, Kurt Kovarik, VP Federal Affairs, (800) 841-5849, www.biodiesel.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News National Biodiesel Board,  E15,  RINs ,  


    EPA Urged to Reconsider E15 (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    American Petroleum Institute
    Date: 2019-05-01
    NMMA, the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) have joined forces in opposition to the EPA's proposal to allow year-round sale of E15 gasoline:

    "We are not fighting against year-round E15 sales just for fun -- we oppose EPA's reckless proposal because it will increase the availability of a fuel that destroys marine engines and jeopardizes the safety of boaters," said NMMA senior VP of government and legal affairs Nicole Vasilaros. "With more than three in five Americans mistakenly assuming that any gas sold at gas stations is safe for all of their products, it is clear that the federal government has shirked its responsibility to effectively protect consumers from a fuel deemed so dangerous that its federally prohibited from being used in countless consumer products. And the last thing the government should do is pump more E15 into the fuel supply. Instead of jamming through a policy that almost nobody likes, EPA should focus on preventing consumers from misfueling -- including better labeling and stronger safeguards at the pump.

    "EPA's decision to expand the sale of E15 gasoline to the summer months makes no sense. It is clearly contrary to the law and it reverses nearly 30 years of statutory interpretation from the agency. Studies have shown that E15 gasoline can damage vehicle engines and fuel systems -- potentially leaving Americans with expensive car repair bills as a result of bad policy from Washington. In fact, nearly three out of four vehicles on the road today were not designed for E15." said API VP of downstream and industry operations Frank Macchiarola.

    "To make matters worse, the agency's proposed changes to the RINs market could increase costs for fuel producers and lead to higher prices for consumers. Additionally, fuel producers who have complied with the law and have already made capital investments and business decisions based on the existing RFS and RINs program will be faced with uncertainty and a moving goal post." (Source: American Petroleum Institute, NMMA, PR, 30 April, 2019) Contact: API, Frank Macchiarola, Dir., (202) 682-8114, www.api.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  American Petroleum Institute,  E15,  Ethanol,  Ethanol Blend,  Biofuel,  


    ABFA Acts Against Additional EPA "Hardship Waivers" (Reg. & Leg.)
    Advanced Biofuels Association
    Date: 2019-05-01
    Further to our 11 March coverage, on April 24th, the Advanced Biofuels Association (ABA) filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to prevent U.S. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler from granting additional small refinery "hardship waivers" until the resolution of its pending lawsuit against EPA.

    "Since EPA began granting these additional exemptions behind closed doors, we have seen devastating market impacts and dropping prices for renewable identification numbers (RINs). We need to stop the bleeding and prevent EPA from ABFA's lawsuit against EPA challenges its methodology for granting these exemptions, arguing the agency more than doubled the number of exempted refineries by illegally changing its petition review process behind closed doors," said ABFA Pres. Michael McAdams.

    "Administrator Wheeler has indicated his intention to move forward on decisions for as many as 39 additional exemptions this year. ABFA cannot stand by while EPA unilaterally and illegally undermines the integrity of the RFS program. These new exemptions provide a financial windfall to refineries at the expense of biofuel producers and distributors. EPA is punishing the parties who have worked to increase the amount of renewable fuel blended into the U.S. transportation fuel supply as Congress intended by enacting the RFS first in 2005 and expanding it in 2007.

    "For the first time since the inception of the RFS, we are seeing reductions in U.S. renewable fuel blending, and EPA's actions are to blame. Until the court is able to rule on the merits of ABFA's pending lawsuit, the agency should be prevented from taking further action."

    "Hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. In 2017, the number of small refineries filing for exemptions retroactively for 2016 jumped from 14 the previous year to 20. The rate in which EPA granted these petitions also increased dramatically from 53 pct to 95 pct. (Source: Advanced Biofuels Association, 30 April, 2019)Contact: Advanced Biofuels Association, www.advancedbiofuelsassociation.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News "Hardship Waiver",  Advanced Biofuels Association ,  


    ABA Asks Court to Quash EPA RFS "Hardship Waivers" (Reg. & Leg.)
    Advanced Biofuels Association
    Date: 2019-04-26
    According to a recent brief filed by attorneys on behalf of the Advanced Biofuels Association (ABA) in a U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit court in Washington, the US EPA broke away from Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requirements for granting small-refinery waivers starting in May 2017 and continued to deny a congressional order regarding which refiners qualify.

    The suit contends the EPA approved waivers for small refiners that didn't meet the minimum U.S. DOE score to qualify, and improperly considered the debts of small-refiners' parent companies when considering waiver requests. The brief also noted the agency considered small-refiners' operating losses whether or not they were related to RFS compliance. The agency also considered what small refiners might spend on biofuel credits, without looking at revenue the refiners would later generate from sales of Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs). Accordingly, the ABA suit asked the court to declare the EPA's methodology for determining disproportionate economic hardship "unlawful" and to strike down the agency's economic "hardship" policy.

    As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. In 2017, the number of small refineries filing for exemptions retroactively for 2016 jumped from 14 the previous year to 20. The rate in which EPA granted these petitions also increased dramatically from 53 pct to 95 pct. (Source: ABA, DTN, April, 2019) Contact: Advanced Biofuels Association, www.advancedbiofuelsassociation.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Advanced Biofuels Association,  "hardship Waiver: RFS,  


    EPA Proposes E-15 Fuel Regulatory Changes (Ind. Report, Reg & Leg)
    EPA
    Date: 2019-03-18
    In Washington, the US EPA has proposed regulatory changes to allow E-15 ethanol blended gasoline to take advantage of the 1-psi Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) waiver for the summer months that has historically been applied only to E10. Under the proposed expansion, E15 would be allowed to be sold year-round without additional RVP control, rather than just eight months of the year.

    EPA is also proposing regulatory changes to modify elements of the renewable identification number compliance system under the Renewable Fuel Standard program to enhance transparency in the market and deter price manipulation. Proposed reforms to RIN markets include: prohibiting certain parties from being able to purchase separated RINs; requiring public disclosure when RIN holdings exceed specified thresholds; limiting the length of time a non-obligated party can hold RINs; and increasing the compliance frequency of the program from once annually to quarterly.

    Download details on proposed rulemaking HERE. (Source: US EPA, Irrigation & Green Energy, Mar., 2019) Contact: US EPA, www.epa.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News E-15,  E15,  Biofuel Blend,  EPA,  Alternative Buels,  Renewable Fuel,  Biofuel,  


    OMB Reviewing EPA E15, RIN Reform Rules (Reg & Leg, Ind Report)
    EPA
    Date: 2019-03-11
    In Washington, the US EPA reports it has sent sent a draft rule to allow for year-round sales of E15 ethanol fuel blends to the Office of Management & Budget (OMB) for review -- the next step in the regulatory process and for meeting expectations that this rule-making be completed when the summer driving season begins on June 1, 2019. A separate rule aims to curb market speculation in biofuel credits.

    The proposed rule does not have to be approved by Congress to be finalized, but it does have to be published and put out for public comment. In order for E15 to be available for summer sales, the process has to be completed before June 1, 2019. (Source: US EPA, Feedstuffs, 8 Mar., 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News EPA,  RINs,  E15,  Biofuel Blend,  


    ABA Claims EPA Strayed on RFS "Hardship Waivers" (Reg & Leg)
    EPA,Advanced Biofuels Association
    Date: 2019-03-11
    According to a brief filed by attorneys on behalf of the Advanced Biofuels Association (ABA) in a U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit court in Washington last Wednesday, the US EPA broke away from Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requirements for granting small-refinery waivers starting in May 2017 and continued to deny a congressional order regarding which refiners qualify.

    The suit contends the EPA approved waivers for small refiners that didn't meet the minimum U.S. DOE score to qualify, and improperly considered the debts of small-refiners' parent companies when considering waiver requests. The brief also noted the agency considered small-refiners' operating losses whether or not they were related to RFS compliance. The agency also considered what small refiners might spend on biofuel credits, without looking at revenue the refiners would later generate from sales of Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs).

    Accordingly, the ABA suit asked the court to declare the EPA's methodology for determining disproportionate economic hardship "unlawful" and to strike down the agency's economic "hardship" policy.

    As previously reported, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. In 2017, the number of small refineries filing for exemptions retroactively for 2016 jumped from 14 the previous year to 20. The rate in which EPA granted these petitions also increased dramatically from 53 pct to 95 pct. (Source: ABA, DTN, 8 Mar., 2019) Contact: Advanced Biofuels Association, www.advancedbiofuelsassociation.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Advanced Biofuels Association ,  RFS,  Hardship Waiver,  


    Agawam, Mass. Energy Efficiency Challenge Launched (Ind Report)
    Energy Efficiency
    Date: 2019-02-18
    In the Bay State, the Hampton County town of Agawam -- pop. 28,400 -- and the 12-member Agawam Energy Commission is touting the Agawam Cooler Community Challenge, a broad effort to improve community-wide energy efficiency, cut energy consumption and reduce the community's carbon footprint.

    The Cooler Community Challenge is modeled after a similar successful effort in the town of Concord.

    The Agawam initiative, which is supported by ener-G-save, a program supported by the Howard Grinspoon Charitable Foundation, hopes is to reach people who have not been active in "green" efforts previously, and to engage young people in energy and climate change issues. Agawam is a Massachusetts Green Community program member.(Source: Town of Agawam, MassLive, 14 Feb., 2019) Contact: Massachusetts Green Community, www.mass.gov/orgs/green-communities-division

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Energy Efficiency,  Massachusetts Green Community,  


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    More RFS "Hardship" Waiver Applications Filed (Ind. Report)
    RFS,Renewable Fuel Standard
    Date: 2019-01-02
    According to a recently released US EPA list of small-refinery "hardship" waivers filed under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), seven new applications for waivers have been filed for the 2018 compliance year. All of the waivers were filed between November 10 and December 18, 2018, when the EPA reported receipt of 22 waiver requests for the 2018 compliance year.

    For 2017, EPA received a total of 37 small refinery "hardship waiver" petitions, 29 of which were approved, seven are still pending and one declared ineligible or withdrawn. The 29 approved petitions have exempted roughly 1.46 billion renewable identification numbers (RINs) keeping more than 13.6 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel from meeting the RFS blending targets.

    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, NAFB, 31 Dec., 2018)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RINs,  Hardship Waiver,  RFS,  US DOE,  


    EPA Updates RFS "Hardship" Waiver Applications (Ind. Report)
    EPA,RFS
    Date: 2018-11-21
    On Nov. 16, the U.S. EPA released updated data on small refinery "hardship" waivers filed under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) showing that no new petitions were filed or approved between Oct. 10 and Nov. 10. As of Nov. 10, the EPA has received 15 petitions seeking small refinery "hardship" waivers for the 2018 compliance year. All 15 petitions are still pending.

    For the 2017 compliance year, EPA received 36 small refinery petitions, 29 of which were approved and 7 are still pending. The 29 petitions approved to date have exempted approximately 1.46 billion renewable identification numbers (RINs), or approximately 13.62 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel from meeting the RFS blending targets.

    For compliance year 2016, the EPA received 20 small refinery petitions, with 19 approved to date and one still pending. The 19 approved petitions have exempted approximately 790 RINs, or 7.84 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel from meeting RFS blending targets.

    The EPA is expected to update data on small refinery hardship waivers monthly, with the next updated expected to be released in mid-December.

    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, 16 Nov., 2018)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Hardship Waiver,  ,  


    Calif. Q2 Renewable Diesel Supply Tops 100Mn Gal. (Ind. Report)
    California ARB
    Date: 2018-11-16
    The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is reporting that in an effort to meet the state's Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), California has increased its net supply of renewable "green" diesel, reaching 100 million gallons during Q2, 2018 -- 10.1 pct of the total diesel supplied to California during the quarter.

    Administered by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), LCFS aims to incrementally decrease the carbon intensity of gasoline and diesel fuel by at least 10 pct by 2020 relative to a 2010 baseline.

    Under the state's LCFS, petroleum refiners, gasoline and diesel importers, and transportation fuel wholesales are required to either produce low carbon fuels or purchase credits to demonstrate compliance. But while under the RFS, both biodiesel and renewable diesel meet a 50 pct GHG reduction threshold (and are eligible to generate biomass-based diesel RINs), LCFS uses a measurement called carbon intensity (CI).

    Renewable diesel generates a large number of credits relative to other fuels because it has some of the largest lifecycle GHG reduction compared to other fuels. The total volume of renewable diesel LCFS credits exceeded ethanol credits for the first time this year, reaching about 870,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent during the second quarter. (Source: US EIA, Agri-Pulse, 14 Nov., 2018) Contact: CARB, Melanie Turner, Information Officer, (916) 322-2990, melanie.turner@arb.ca.gov, www.arb.ca.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Low Carbon Fuel Standard,  California Air Resources Board,  .Biofuel,  Renewable Fiesel ,  


    NATSO Alt. Fuels RFS RIN Management Service (Ind. Report)
    NATSO
    Date: 2018-10-03
    NATSO Inc., the Alexandria, Virginia-headquartered national association representing the travel plaza and truckstop industry, and the Alternative Fuels Council are reporting the launch of a new RIN Management Service designed to help fuel retailers that blend and sell renewable fuels -- ethanol, biodiesel, renewable cng -- to more efficiently participate in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program and manage their compliance and Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs). Under the RIN Management program, participants will:
  • consult with experts on the RFS and Low Carbon Fuel Standard compliance;

  • get help registering for EPA's RFS program as well as for the IRS Blenders License;

  • access sources for fuel supply options;

  • secure advice and assistance for state incentive programs;

  • monitor the status of impending IRS Blender's Tax Credits;

  • participants can access an exclusive software program that provides real-time RIN management, a system of record for all RIN transactions, as well as RIN account reconciliations. Through this software, blenders and marketers can reduce the staff time that it takes to comply with the RFS by as much as 75 pct;

  • knowledgeable Alternative Fuels Council staff will perform EPA-required quarterly reporting as well as end-of-year third-party CPA audits.

    The new RIN Management Service marks the second offering from the Alternative Fuels Council this year. The Alternative Fuels Council previously unveiled a Biodiesel Fuel Quality Plan designed to help those who blend, market, and distribute biodiesel blends ensure the final product meets a minimum standard of quality. A step-by-step guide to the blending process directs users through fuel quality management, including sampling procedures, protocols and proposed schedules, to help ensure that alternative fuel meets the required ASTM fuel quality standards. The Alternative Fuels Council also helps facilitate fuel testing and analysis for marketers at a substantially discounted price.

    The Alternative Fuels Council is a NATSO, Inc. subsidiary created to help NATSO members and the entire retail fuels industry understand alternative fuels markets, including available government incentives, to effectively incorporate alternative fuels into their supply offerings. (Source: NATSO, PR, Oct., 2018) Contact: NATSO, Lisa Mullings, Pres., CEO, Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman, (703) 739-8578, twlazlowski@natso.com, www.natso.com; Alternative Fuels Council, Jeff Hove, jhove@natsoaltfuels.com, www.NATSOAltFuels.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News NATSO,  Biofuel,  Alternative Fuel,  


  • Boskalis Touts Boskalis-on-Bio, GoodFuels Partnership (Int'l)
    Boskalis,GoodFuels
    Date: 2018-09-26
    The Dutch marine dredging and heavy lift company Boskalis reports it is using a 30 pct biofuel blend onboard the large trailing suction hopper dredger Prins der Nederlanden for the Borssele Alpha project which is being carried out on behalf of TenneT.

    Using biofuel is one aspect of the Boskalis-on-Bio programme, for which the company recently signed a long-term partnership with biofuel supplier GoodFuels. The programme is aimed at achieving a 35 pct reduction in the CO2 emitted by the Boskalis fleet and equipment in the Netherlands in the next five years. According to Boskalis, various sea trials have shown that sustainable biofuels lead to a reduction in CO2 emissions of up to 90 pct compared to fossil fuels and are also more effective than alternatives such as LNG. (Source: Boskalis, Bunkerspot, Sept., 2018)Contact: Boskalis, Peter Berdowski, CEO, +31 78 6969 000, www.boskalis.com; GoodFuels, Dirk Kronemeijer, CEO, +31 (0) 85 8000 238, info@goodfuels.com, www.goodfuels.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Boskalis,  Biofuel,  GoodFuels,  


    AFBF Comments on Biofuels Volumes, Small Refinery Hardship Waivers (Opinions, editorials & Asides)
    American Farm Bureau Federation
    Date: 2018-08-27
    "Though pleased with EPA's proposal to increase renewable fuel volumes, the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) warned that the agency's excessive use of small refinery "hardship" waivers diminishes the likelihood that volume targets will be met.

    "EPA's excessive use (of small refinery waivers) will undermine the goals that were set by Congress to create a more robust renewable fuels industry and greater energy independence. EPA's actions could result in an estimated 1.5 billion gallons of lost demand for renewable fuels," the AFBF said.

    "EPA's proposed renewable fuels volume standards for 2019 would maintain the statutory requirement for conventional renewable fuel at 15 billion gallons, increase cellulosic fuels to 381 million gallons and bump up total advanced biofuels to 4.88 billion gallons. It would also increase the biomass-based diesel volume to 2.43 billion gallons for 2020.

    "The AFBF touted the Renewable Fuel Standard's many successes, including the growth it spurred within the agriculture sector as corn and soybean farmers expanded their crop production to meet growing demand for corn- and soybean-based biofuels.

    "Beyond the boost to the agricultural economy, the RFS2 is intended to spur investment in cleaner, domestic fuels; give consumers more choices at the pump; lower gas prices; and boost the country's energy security. But EPA has allowed dozens of oil refineries off the hook from their legal obligations to blend renewable fuels with gasoline and diesel fuel, which is jeopardizing this progress, according to Farm Bureau.

    "Given the accomplishments of the RFS program to date, EPA's excessive and unreasonable use of the small refinery waiver dampens the prospects for reduced emissions and increased energy security," the organization cautioned.

    "AFBF also addressed the RIN market as it relates to the current RFS2 program, noting that RINS are functioning properly and providing incentives for refiners to offer higher blends of ethanol in the market at prices that are increasingly competitive with conventional gasoline. A RIN is a serial number assigned to a batch of biofuel for the purpose of tracking its production, use and trading.

    "In addition, the organization emphasized that the petroleum industry's unwillingness to offer higher blends of biofuels should not be taken as evidence that the RFS2 is unworkable. Rather, it is evidence that they are unwilling to adapt to policies enunciated by Congress. But making space in the market for alternative fuels that contribute to energy independence, environmental improvement, and economic development is exactly the point of RFS2." (Source: American Farm Bureau Federation, FBNews, 21 Aug., 2018) Contact: American Farm Bureau Federation, Sarah Brown Dirkes, Exec. Director, Industry Relations, (202) 406-3684, sarahd@fb.org, www.fb.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Hardship Waiver,  EPA,  


    RFA Seeks Court Action to Set RFS Back on Track (Ind. Report)
    Renewable Fuels Association ,Renewable Fuel Standard
    Date: 2018-08-06
    The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) reports it is taking legal action to challenge the EPA's abuse in issuing small refiner "hardship" waivers from the RFS. According to RFA Executive VP Geoff Cooper, the excessive number of waivers have cut into the demand biofuel and that the surplus of RINS has led to lower costs for refiners who then do not blend as much ethanol as they could and should. Court action is expected to get underway within the next few months.

    As previously reported, "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: RFS, WNAX Radio, 2 Aug., 2018)Contact: RFA, Bob Dinneen, Pres., (202) 289-3835, www.ethanolrfa.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS Waivers,  Renewable Fuels Association,  Renewable Fuel Standard ,  


    National Biodiesel Board Challenging 2018 RFS (Reg & Leg)
    National Biodiesel Board
    Date: 2018-08-01
    The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) reports it filed an opening brief July 27 in its lawsuit objecting to U.S. EPA's methodology for establishing the 2018 Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS). Specifically, the NBB claims: the EPA must account for all small refinery exemptions in the annual percentage standard; the EPA acted arbitrarily when it set the 2018 advanced biofuel volume below what it found to be “reasonably attainable"; and the agency set the 2019 biomass-based diesel volume based on impermissible considerations.

    The NBB brief is the first the courts will consider in arguing that EPA must account for all small refinery "hardship" exemptions -- including retroactively granted exemptions -- when it sets the annual RFS volumes and renewable volume obligations (RVOs).

    The NBB brief claims the "EPA unlawfully failed to account for all small-refinery exemptions it awards, violating its duty to promulgate percentage standards that 'ensure' all aggregate volumes are met. Unaccounted for small-refinery exemptions reduce aggregate volumes, and EPA's approach creates a new, de facto waiver authority contrary to Congress's design. Despite knowing those consequences, EPA declines to adjust percentage standards to account for that shortfall, either before it is likely to happen or after it actually does."

    The EPA has disclosed that it recently retroactively granted 48 small refinery hardship exemptions, reducing the 2016 and 2017 RVOs by a combined 2.25 billion RINs. In the brief, NBB notes that the exemptions reduced the 2016 RVOs by 4.3 pct and the 2017 RVOs by 7.5 pct.

    Separately, NBB estimates the 2016 and 2017 exemptions reduced demand for biodiesel by more than 300 million gallons, potentially putting hundreds of new jobs at risk.

    The NBB argues that EPA violated its duty to ensure that the annual volumes it sets are met and that the use of its cellulosic waiver authority to reduce the 2018 advanced biofuel RVO below the volume the agency determined would be reasonably attainable. The "EPA's view that it has unlimited discretion to do whatever it wants to the advanced-biofuel volume via the cellulosic waiver provision is not supported by this Court's precedents and would, if correct, render the provision unconstitutionally broad," the NBB brief states. the NBB brief also argues that EPA set the 2019 biomass-based diesel volume based on factors that are not mentioned in the RFS statute, while disregarding factors that are in the statute. "EPA set the 2019 BBD volume nearly identically to how it set the 2018 volume, which NBB is challenging in a separate proceeding. But the result here is even worse for the industry," NBB says in the brief. (Source: National Biodiesel Board , PR, 30 July, 2018) Contact: National Biodiesel Board, Kurt Kovarik, VP of Federal Affairs, (800) 841-5849, www.biodiesel.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News National Biodiesel Board ,  RFS,  Biofuel Blend,  


    EPA Plan to Force Refiners to Blend More Biofuels Nixed (Ind. Report)
    EPA, Renewable Fuel Standard
    Date: 2018-07-13
    Reuters is reporting the US EPA as abandoned plans that would have forced refiners to blend more biofuels into their gasoline and diesel in 2019 to compensate for volumes likely to be exempted under the agency's small refinery hardship waiver program, according to newly released EPA documents.

    The plan would have boosted the renewable fuel blending obligation from 10.88 pct to 11.76 pct to offset volumes lost under the waiver program, which has been expanded sharply under Scott Pruitt's tenure at the EPA.

    The idea was apparently aimed at assuaging the U.S. corn lobby which has accused Trump's EPA of undermining the demand for biofuels like corn-based ethanol through the waiver program, but was scrapped amid intense protest from the refining industry, according to the Reuters report.

    The "hardship" exemptions representing some 2.25 million gallons worth of biofuel were granted for 2017 and 2016, including waivers covering 1.46 million compliance credits (RINS). The EPA projected some 8.18 billion gallons of gasoline and 5.44 billion gallons of diesel produced by small refiners would be exempt from the requirements in 2019, according to the EPA.

    As previously reported, "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, Manitoba Co-oporator, Various Media, Reuters, 12 July, 2018)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Biofuel Blend,  RFS,  Pruitt,  Renewable Fuel Standard,  "Hardship" Waiver,  


    ADM, DuPont Collaborate on Cellulose Enzymes (Ind. Report)
    Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM), DuPont Industrial Biosciences
    Date: 2018-06-22
    Chicago-headquartered Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM) and DuPont Industrial Biosciences report they are collaborating to develop, produce and market cellulase enzymes for grain-based ethanol production.

    Cellulase enzymes assist in hydrolyzing the corn kernel fiber which, broken down, releases more sugars to be fermented into ethanol.

    Ethanol from corn kernel fiber may qualify for D3 RINS under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) which encourages producers to utilize non-starch components of grains and other waste products in the production of biofuels. Initial product prototypes have proven successful in both laboratory and ethanol plant scale testing, and more evaluations are planned, the companies say. (Source: ADM, DuPont, World-Grain, 21 June, 2018) Contact: DuPont Industrial Biosciences, Troy Wilson, www.biosciences.dupont.com; ADM, Juan Luciano, Pres., CEO, (312) 634-8100, Collin Benson, VP Bioactives, Jackie Anderson, ADM Media, (217) 424-5413, media@adm.com, www.adm.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Archer Daniels Midland ,  DuPont Industrial Biosciences,  Cellulosic,  Enzyne,  

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