This week’s news roundup touches on several topics moving the biofuel industry forward, from aviation biofuels to U.S. ethanol exports and the adoption of bioenergy in new markets.

Ethanol groups back review of fuel economy, GHG rules

The ethanol industry reacted positively to President Trump’s move to reevaluate hard-to-reach, Obama-era fuel economy and emissions standards. Specifically, ethanol trade groups say a deeper review of the nation’s corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) and greenhouse gas (GHG) rules could give high-octane fuels a larger, more defined role in the plan.

Trump announced that the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will reinstate the so-called midterm evaluation (MTE) of the CAFE-GHG standards for the automotive industry. The two agencies will work together, using a data-driven process to complete a new evaluation over the next 12 months. Trump believes—and ethanol trade groups agree—that the Obama Administration rushed the first MTE to a premature conclusion earlier this year.

More details of the review are available at Ethanol Producer Magazine.

NASA study confirms biofuels reduce jet engine pollution

Using biofuels to help power jet engines reduces particle emissions in their exhaust by as much as 50-70%, in a new study conclusion that bodes well for airline economics and Earth’s environment.

During flight tests in 2013 and 2014 near NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California, data was collected on the effects of alternative fuels on engine performance, emissions and aircraft-generated contrails at altitudes flown by commercial airliners.

Researchers plan on continuing these studies to understand and demonstrate the potential benefits of replacing current fuels in aircraft with biofuels. It’s NASA’s goal to demonstrate biofuels on their proposed supersonic X-plane.

Learn more about the study at Aviation Pros.

US ethanol exports on record pace after strong 2016

The United States remained the world’s top exporter of ethanol in 2016 and is stretching its lead in early 2017.

According to U.S. Department of Agriculture information analyzed by the U.S. Grains Council and the Renewable Fuels Association, 2016 concluded with U.S. net exports of 838 million gallons, the second highest level ever, exceeded only in 2011. U.S. ethanol shipments exceeded 1 billion gallons, and incoming shipments totaled nearly 215 million gallons, with virtually no imports over the past seven months.

January ethanol exports alone hit 122 million gallons, registering as the third highest monthly volume on record—just behind October and November of last year. According to the RFA, most American ethanol landed in Brazil (48%), Canada (22%), India (9%) and the United Arab Emirates (9%). January trade data implies annualized exports of 1.46 billion gallons in 2017, a projected record.

For more on this story, visit Ethanol Producer Magazine.

Vietnam aims for 2018 for E5 transition

After more than two years failing to promote a locally-produced biofuel product in major cities, Vietnam has announced an even more ambitious plan: a national switch.

The government has set its sights on 2018 for the complete switch to E5 at the pump, phasing out the current RON92 unleaded. Current ethanol production would allow for 3 million metric tons of E5, short of the 7.5 million tons of annual demand, prompting the reopening of two currently mothballed ethanol plants.

Fuel companies remain concerned about the costs to implement ethanol blending facilities in time for the transition, one of the reasons that E5 hasn’t been implemented as far as planned since 2012 when plans were first launched for the transition.

Get more details via Biofuels Digest.

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Geoff Hayward

Communications Advisor at Novozymes
Geoff writes about Bioenergy for the Communications team at Novozymes. When he isn’t advocating for an industry that’s changing the world for the better, he can be found on a North Carolina bike path or playing slide guitar.