Experts familiar with the biofuel industry say corn ethanol production will remain steady despite the fact that regulators proposed reducing federal renewable fuel requirements. That steady production is partially driven by corn ethanol's secondary benefits, which include the production of grain feed for livestock.
The goal of the Renewable Fuel Standard is to produce a total of 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel by 2022.
But while corn ethanol will stay strong, policy uncertainties have likely stalled the production of advanced biofuels, the kind of cellulosic formulas such as those made from tall grasses and stalks.
In this series, we take a look at U.S. renewable fuel policy, corn ethanol and advanced biofuels.
Industry experts expect corn ethanol production to stay strong despite a proposal to reduce federal renewable fuel requirements. The Environmental Protection Agency proposed to reduce renewable fuel mandates for 2014 through 2016, lessening what it initially slated in 2005.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced on Thursday that his department will award nearly two dozen states with millions of dollars to build the gas pumps and other infrastructure needed to supply American drivers with more renewable fuel.
The federal renewable fuel policy has had a big impact on carbon emissions, according to an industry report. In its report released on Aug. 24, the Biotechnology Industry Organization estimated that the policy has reduced more than 580 million metric tons of carbon emissions over 10 years.
With major cuts in funding, the future is unclear for cellulosic biofuels, an energy source researchers have called “the most promising” of all biofuels. Biofuels are an alternative energy source to petroleum fuel and can be produced from corn, oil or plant material. The fuels are appealing to those looking to reduce carbon emissions and decrease reliance on foreign oil.
Every time you put gas in your car, you’re adding a bit of renewable fuel to your tank, as well. You may not notice since renewable fuels are government-mandated, and they only save you a few pennies per gallon of gasoline, according to industry experts. But behind the scenes, there is complex policy that goes into adding that renewable fuel into your gasoline. Here are some pieces of information that break down how renewable fuel production works.
The delay in proposed renewable fuel minimums by the Environmental Protection Agency may have hindered the future of advanced biofuels, the kind of cellulosic ethanol formulas made from tall grasses and stalks. Although researchers tout advanced biofuels' environmental benefits, the uncertain policy has caused some in the agriculture industry to shy away from them.
The Environmental Protection Agency released its ethanol mandates in late May. Those mandates cut billions of gallons from what original 2014 through 2016 mandates promised and contributed to a surge of public comments from a wide variety of stakeholders. Read five of those comments here.
Federal agencies are required to buy products made from materials that were once living. The Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 mandated that if the products are reasonably priced and available, federal agencies have to buy them. A U.S. Department of Agriculture report released on June 17 said that in 2013 alone, the biobased product industry contributed $369 billion to the U.S. economy and employed more than 4 million workers.
The recently proposed Renewable Fuel Standards sparked a flurry of angry comments from U.S. policymakers, representatives and industry leaders. All renewable fuels face cuts. The Environmental Protection Agency proposed to cut 3.75 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol from original 2014 through 2016 Clean Air Act standards.