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EPA still pretty confident it can get year-round E15 done by summer

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 01/29/2019 - 5:08pm

In Washington, Reuters reports that the Environmental Protection Agency is still pretty confident that it can get the rulemaking done for year-round E15 before the summer driving season despite the government shutdown and the delays caused by it. The language used by the deputy administrator when pressed by reporters at an event in Washington last Friday wasn’t a 100% guarantee for getting the rules in place, however. A deal reached last Friday to end the government shutdown could see EPA workers back on the job soon.

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Plans underway to develop soybean biodiesel facility in northwest Minnesota

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 01/29/2019 - 5:07pm

In Minnesota, a local entrepreneur is fundraising to secure $10 million in order to take the first steps in developing a biodiesel production facility in Crookston that would absorb some of the area’s soybean surplus that once went to China or is processed far away. The proposed $150 million project in the northwest part of the state would crush beans from an 11-county radius, including organic and non-GMO soybeans that would be crushed as part of an smaller, specialty facility.

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PMCI rebrands as FUELIowa

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 01/29/2019 - 5:06pm

In Iowa, the Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Stores of Iowa (PMCI) is launching a new brand, name, and logo. Effective immediately, PMCI is now FUELIowa.

The statewide association represents fuel distributors, cooperatives, convenience and grocery stores, refiners, biofuel producers and other industry firms. According to association representatives, the new branding strategy succinctly captures the important role played by their members, which provide fuel for vehicles, equipment and heating.

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University of Minnesota researchers find prairies could provide high GHG savings as bioenergy feedstock

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 01/29/2019 - 5:05pm

In Minnesota, in an ongoing effort to discover the ideal conditions to grow alternative biofuels that offer more environmental benefits, University of Minnesota scientists applied their research on native prairies in the Upper Midwest to understand marginal lands—particularly abandoned and degraded agricultural fields.

In the 10-year study published in Nature Sustainability, researchers utilized 36 plots at an abandoned agricultural site in the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve to plant 32 species of prairie and savanna plants that are native to Minnesota. In 2007, researchers divided the plots into several groups and assigned them a combination of two treatments: water addition (i.e., irrigated or non-irrigated) and nitrogen fertilization (i.e., 0 g/m2, 7 g/m2, 14 g/m2).

Over the last decade, researchers found that:

  • • moderate treatments (irrigation and 7 g/m2 of nitrogen) had the best biomass yields and soil carbon storage, while having negligible effects on the stability, diversity and nutrient loss to groundwater;
  • • compared with the control (non-irrigated and no additional nitrogen), moderate treatments resulted in almost twice the yield and soil carbon storage and—if the plants were converted into bioenergy to displace fossil fuels—it would result in twice the greenhouse gas savings;
  • • compared with the moderate treatment, the more intensive treatment (irrigation and 14 g/m2 of nitrogen) had 30 percent lower greenhouse gas savings, 10 times greater nitrate leaching and 120 percent greater loss in plant diversity.
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ACE sends letter to Senators wanting confirmation of year-round E15 and reallocation of RINs

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 01/29/2019 - 5:04pm

In South Dakota, American Coalition for Ethanol sent a letter to U.S. Senators Tuesday encouraging they secure tangible documentation on two critically important ethanol issues from Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler before casting their confirmation vote: finalizing a legally-defensible Reid vapor pressure (RVP) rule to allow E15 use year-round before the summer driving season, and reallocating ethanol blending obligations waived for 2016 and 2017 through the Small Refinery Exemption (SRE) provision of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

“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 letter stated.

The government shutdown is not a credible excuse for a delay in the E15 rulemaking the letter explains, providing the example of how in eight days the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) put forward a new food stamp work requirement proposal as a time in recent history that proves the Trump Administration can expedite high priority rulemakings.

“It has been more than 100 days since the President directed EPA to initiate a rulemaking to allow E15 use year-round,” the letter stated. “What is taking EPA so long to act?”

The RVP rule is particularly time-sensitive. Under EPA’s existing 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. The letter concludes by advising Senators that “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.”

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Green guns, poop plastic, kenaf cars, wildflower jacket insulation, leaf extracts that fight blue light damage and more: The Digest’s Top 10 Innovations for the week of January 30th

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 01/29/2019 - 5:01pm

The pace of bioeconomy invention and change continues at a frenetic pace. Here are the top innovations for the week of January 30th.

In today’s Digest, green guns, poop plastic, kenaf cars, wildflower jacket insulation, leaf extracts that fight blue light damage — these and more, ready for you now at The Digest online.

#1 Guns go green with biobased bullet wadding

In Texas, an ammunition company has launched a biodegradable bullet material that is even beneficial for soil. RIO Ammunition says the wadding, which is the term for the cylinder between the lead and the powder, is of vegetal origin. It biodegrades into CO2, mineral salts, and biomass, essentially turning into fertilizer.

“The hydrosoluble wad is a testament to RIO’s commitment towards innovation. We continuously work to make our shotshells more precise, more reliable and also reduce its impact on the environment. Now we can offer a shotshell with the two elements that are expelled from the shotgun—the shot and wad—having a limited, even positive impact on the environment,” Eduardo Baeza, RIO Ammunition General Manager, tells AmmoLand. The new material will be used in the company’s steel-shot BlueSteel line of ammunition. It will be introduced at the SHOT Show in Las Vegas this week.

The company says the innovation will improve the help reduce the environmental impact of shotshells.
More on the story, here.

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Year-Round E15: The Digest’s 2019 Multi-Slide Guide to POET

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 01/29/2019 - 5:00pm

POET has over 28 ethanol plants in the U.S. with more than 2,000 team members, 2.0 billion gallon production capacity, and $8 billion in annual revenue.

Doug Berven, Vice President of Corporate Affairs at POET gave this illuminating overview of POET, the impact of year-round E15 for grain growers and others, new market opportunities for ethanol, and more at ABLC Global 2018 in San Francisco

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