EPA announces finalized 2017 RFS volume obligations
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released the 2017 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume obligations, and the bioenergy sector is happy with what they see. The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) came bearing good news as well, announcing an uptick in both ethanol and grain exports. Get the details ahead in your Think Bioenergy news roundup!
2017 volume obligations put the RFS back on track
The EPA released the 2017 renewable fuel volume obligations (and the 2018 volume obligations for biomass-based diesel), with a strong push beyond what has been termed the “blend wall” and stimulating refiners to implement more “cost-effective changes at their refineries to blend more renewable fuel.”
The agency finalized a total renewable fuel volume of 19.28 billion gallons, of which 4.28 billion gallons is advanced biofuel and 311 million gallons is cellulosic biofuel. Thus, the implied RVO for conventional biofuels like corn ethanol will be 15BG—up from the 14.8 BG proposed in May.
“Renewable fuel volumes continue to increase across the board compared to 2016 levels,” said Janet McCabe, the agency’s acting assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation. “These final standards will boost production, providing for ambitious yet achievable growth of biofuels in the transportation sector. By implementing the program enacted by Congress, we are expanding the nation’s renewable fuels sector while reducing our reliance on imported oil.”
For more on this story, including analysis and thoughts from industry leaders, check Biofuels Digest.
USGC: Ethanol exports up significantly in September
The USGC has reported that U.S. Department of Agriculture export data for September showed a dramatic increase in exports of feed grains in all forms.
Total feed grains in all forms, which includes corn, sorghum, barley, meats, ethanol and distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS), were up nearly 34% in September when compared to the same period of last year.
The USGC said that 10.7 million metric tons (421 million bushels) of feed grains were exported during the month, making September one of the strongest for exports in recent memory and a hopeful way to begin the new year for farmers and agribusinesses looking at record grain crops.
The data shows exports of ethanol hit nearly 100 million gallons for the first time since December 2011, up 59% from September 2015, and representing 903,000 metric tons, or 35 million bushels, of corn equivalent.
The USGC said the boom included a return of China to the market after three months of no denatured shipments at all. Overall, Canada, Brazil and China ranked as the top three destinations for U.S. ethanol, and all three saw significant gains from a year ago. Ethanol exports to Singapore and the Philippines increased two fold.