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Anatomy of a Renewable Fuels Project: The Digest’s 2017 Multi-Slide Guide to Ryze Renewables’ proposed Nevada plants

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 08/03/2017 - 2:33pm

Ryze Renewables is developing two renewable fuels projects in the state of Nevada.

These documents published are available online via the state of Nevada as public records. While researching a related Digest story, Ryze had declined to give us a patent number for a technology they were utilizing, related to these projects. So we were forced to go a-digging, and amazingly we discovered that the state of Nevada had made these documents part of the public record and published them online. Readers have been clamoring for years to have an intimate look at how projects are described, costed, financed, and detailed for public authorities. We recognized this formed a goldmine of valuable information and perspective for Digest readers worldwide, and we are delighted to simplify the searching, and aggregate these public records today for the readership.

We never did get that patent number.

The Ryze Reno project is intended to cost $105 million for 40 million gallons of production capacity, would used corn oil and other feedstocks sourced from Noble Group, and was the subject of an $67.2 million USDA loan guarantee (or, 80% of the overall $84 million loan) with the Greater Nevada Credit Union as the lender of record.  Ryze Renewables also surfaced in a series of Las Vegas market applications for tax abatements and incentives, typical for a newly inbound business. This project is bigger: equipment costs have grown from $44 million to $73 million, and capacity has expanded to 60 million gallons per year; however, the project will also employ 67 employees, and the company projected an average hourly rate of $26.16.


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ADM and Green Plains switch to potable and industrial ethanol to reduce glut

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 08/02/2017 - 7:30pm

In Illinois, ADM and Green Plains as well as potentially others are converting some of their fuel ethanol production to potable and industrial ethanol in an attempt to reduce the supply glut currently plaguing the market. ADM’s shift alone will remove 100 million gallons from the market but it’s only a fraction of its 1.8 billion of installed capacity or the country’s 16 million gallons of production. GPRE on the other hand idled 50 million gallons of production during Q2 and will transition its York plant to industrial and eventually potable ethanol following margins of just 7 cents per gallon compared to 15 cents last year.

Green Plains: The Digest’s 2015 5 Minute Guide

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Brazilian truck driver protests inhibiting ethanol trade

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 08/02/2017 - 7:29pm

In Brazil, ethanol trade flows are being hindered by truck drivers protesting higher diesel PIS/Cofins taxes by blocking roads. The ethanol market has also stalled as a result of the protests. Platts reported local incidents of protests, disruptions and closures in key areas of Ribeirao Preto where ethanol is produced, Guarulhos where it is stored near Sao Paulo and Santos near the largest ethanol port. Beyond that, protests are expected in Bahia, Espirito Santo, Mato Grosso, Minas Gerais, Santa Catarina and Sao Paulo states.

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Queensland biodiesel industry failing to launch despite policy

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 08/02/2017 - 7:28pm

In Australia, despite a 0.5% blending mandate for biodiesel in Queensland since the start of the year, it hasn’t translated to demand due to low oil prices and rising feedstock costs, leaving much of the production capacity idled. Demand for tallow and UCO in the US and Europe due to their own policies promoting biodiesel is one of the main reasons for higher feedstock prices. Offtake contracts with oil companies have been slow in coming, leaving companies waiting until they can ramp up production again to fill the mandate.

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Minnesota moving ahead with B20 despite trucker concerns

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 08/02/2017 - 7:27pm

In Minnesota, the state has decided to move to B20 as planned on May 1, 2018 despite protests from Minnesota Trucking Association and other energy stakeholders who say lack of appropriate controls of diesel quality could lead to economic disruption. There are also concerns that there isn’t sufficient fueling infrastructure but the state’s Department of Commerce said that it reviewed the situation and believes there won’t be a problem with an on-time roll out of the new blend.

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Queensland Government to provide A$1.17 million loan for North Queensland Bio‑Energy

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 08/02/2017 - 7:22pm

In Australia, the Queensland Government is providing a A$1.17 million loan to help make North Queensland Bio‑Energy’s proposed A$640 million biorefinery near Ingham a reality.

Minister for State Development Dr Anthony Lynham said the project could create up to 450 jobs during construction, more than 250 jobs once operational and give local canefarmers a new market.

North Queensland Bio‑Energy’s project involves the construction of a multi-purpose facility to produce sugar, ethanol and renewable electricity for export on an 80 hectare greenfield site south of Ingham.

The company proposes to produce approximately 430,000 tones of raw sugar annually for export, 60 million liters of fuel grade ethanol per annum and generate 550,000 megawatt hours of renewable “green” power for export to the local grid.

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Raízen and SP Ventures team on agribusiness incubator to launch start ups

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 08/02/2017 - 7:20pm

In Brazil, Raízen and SP Ventures, which manages investments in companies with agribusiness-related technologies, have joined forces to open Espaço Pulse. The business environment is geared towards agribusiness startups and is located in the Agtech Valley, in Piracicaba, in the interior of São Paulo.

The city is home to the national sugarcane industry and headquarters of ESALQ-USP. Pulse was created from the perceived increase in the volume of agribusiness startups around the country in recent months.

SP Ventures, manager of the São Paulo Innovation Fund, already has four investments in the city – Aegro, Inceres, Horus and Promip. In the coming months, new investments in companies of the region are expected. Pulse’s acceleration methodology is NXTP Labs, an Argentine accelerator with operations in Brazil and a partner in the project.

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ORNL researchers use old tires and UCO to produce biofuel

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 08/02/2017 - 7:19pm

In Tennessee, using a novel, reusable carbon material derived from old rubber tires, an Oak Ridge National Laboratory-led research team has developed a simple method to convert used cooking oil into biofuel. The team’s approach combines modified, recovered carbon with sulfuric acids, which is then mixed with free fatty acids in household vegetable oil to produce usable biofuel. The study, done with collaborators Wake Forest University and Georgia Institute of Technology and detailed in Chemistry Select, provides a pathway for inexpensive, environmentally benign and high value-added waste tire-derived products — a step toward large-scale biofuel production, according to ORNL.

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India looking at methanol policy to help reduce fossil fuel imports

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 08/02/2017 - 7:15pm

In India, the transportation minister has called for a study into China’s methanol vehicle standards in an effort to look at potential in the country for a major shift for both road and water transport. Methanol production could possible be produced domestically from high ash coal with a 5,000 ton per day facility potentially online by 2023 instead of continuing to import from Saudi Arabia and Iran. The technology is said to be ready with at least one pilot project ongoing but hasn’t yet been implemented commercially.

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Corbion bids to acquire TerraVia

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 08/02/2017 - 8:47am

In California, Corbion has made a $20M stalking horse stock and asset purchase bid for TerraVia .

The purchase agreement provides TerraVia with a binding bid of $20 million in cash along with the assumption of certain liabilities, which is subject to higher or otherwise better offers. As part of the transaction, Corbion will be assuming the ongoing financial obligations of the business and its joint venture ownership, therefore the total financial commitment is expected to be in excess of the cash purchase price. Through this proposed transaction, TerraVia employees, who bring with them a wide range of highly valued skills and expertise, together with its customers, have an opportunity to benefit from joining a global leader in its markets.

The bidding process

To facilitate the bidding process, TerraVia and its wholly owned U.S. subsidiaries have filed Chapter 11 reorganization. Pursuant to section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code, TerraVia intends to implement bidding procedures to allow other qualified bidders the opportunity to submit bids through a court-supervised process to purchase certain or all of the assets being sold. TerraVia anticipates that a sale will be completed within 60 to 90 days.

Interim financing

In addition, TerraVia also announced that it has received a commitment for debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing from holders of approximately 63% of the outstanding principal amount of its senior unsecured convertible notes. The DIP financing will be used to finance the working capital needs of TerraVia’s business through the completion of the sale transaction and to support payments to vendors for post-petition purchases in the ordinary course.

The DIP financing announced today provides the necessary financing to support continued operations and TerraVia’s ability to service customer demand, while the Section 363 bankruptcy restructuring process provides the tools to execute an expedited and orderly strategic transaction. This process will create a level playing field for all interested bidders to compete to provide the highest or otherwise best offer for certain or all of TerraVia’s assets.

The company going forward

The chapter 11 cases and the sale process should have no material impact on TerraVia’s ability to fulfill its obligations to its customers and employees going forward. TerraVia has filed a series of motions with the Bankruptcy Court requesting authority to continue normal operations, including requesting Bankruptcy Court authority to continue paying employee wages and salaries, certain vendors and customer obligations in the ordinary course without interruption.

The Solazyme-TerraVia backstory

“We make oils” said the prospectus for the old Solazyme when it completed its celebrated IPO five years ago, pledging to transform the market for oils through the power of algae to make them. The company subsequently ratcheted its focus down to speciality ingredients and nutrition — but that’s been typical of almost every algae-based venture, most of which long abandoned the fuels and big chemicals markets in a search for price points that were more reachable in the near-term.

Solazyme transformed itself far more than others — renaming the company and focusing solely on nutrition. That move generally felt like a Hail Mary to raise fresh money when interest in industrials collapsed with the fall of oil prices in 2014-15.

We last looked at TerraVia in depth during April, in our “TerraVia in the Wilderness Years” column. At the time we noted:

How much clock does TerraVia have? With a “going concern” warning and a debt re-org on the menu for this year, it’s far from dire but equally far from “you have lots of time”. TerraVia will have to find it’s mojo soon if it to remain independent, we suspect. 2017 appears to be the year.

The momentum the company is detailing in releases is not yet translating into financial results — that’s for sure. The good news? The [most recent quarterly] results were in line with the painful corporate guidance in the Q3 call with investors and analysts. The bad news? The company’s auditors inserted a “going concern” notice into the company’s 2016 annual report.

We also noted:

It’s been rough going for TerraVia in recent weeks. The company announced a painful round of layoffs — 25 percent of the company’s workforce, which had already been substantially reduced in the past two years. And the company suspended operations at its Peoria, Illinois demonstration-scale facility, and said it was seeking “strategic opportunities to partner its AlgaVia line of products” — which of course could range from a joint venture to an outright sale of the brands (while retaining perhaps a manufacturing contract).

The product portfolio today

The company earlier this year had six active products in “food & nutrition” and one in “speciality ingredients” – the latter generally refers to the AlgaPur range of specialty personal care oils including Capric, Lauric and Oleic-based oils — and Unilever is currently AlgaPur high lauric oil in certain of its soap brands.

Two of those products under the AlgaVia brand are in the “seeking partner” shelf at the moment. Leaving the company with its DHA, it’s AlgaWise Omega-9 algae oil, the thrive Culinary Algal Oil (launched in 2015) and the afore-mentioned AlgaWise algae butter.

There is a pipeline of “additional products we expect to launch in the food, nutrition and specialty ingredients markets in 2017 and 2018” and on those really will rest the fate of the company’s painful and wrenching shift of company name from Solazyme to TerraVia. After all, AlgaPur is essentially a carryover from Solazyme days, Thrive was launched during that period as well, and since there are a half-dozen companies at least in the algae space focused on nutritionals without changing identity — in many ways it comes down, for now, to AlgaWise butter. That’s been the fruit, so far, of the a titanic identity shift last year and an refocusing of the brand onto nutrition. Butter is a $4.4 billion market and a price point around $4400 per ton, so there’s room for encouragement and that may well be what Corbion sees.

What Corbion is getting

There’s lots for Corbion to like — after all, the company is focused on food, biochemicals, bioplastics, and biomedicals — so there’s plenty of cross-over, and Corbion has been looking at more advanced technologies. We expect that the TerraVia name will be swiftly retired — but some reasonably established brands will go on — especially the AlgaPur relationship with Unilever.

Getting in on the auction of the assets

This is s stalking-horse bid for the company — the price could go higher and the acquiror could change. We’ll know all within 60 to 90 days. Meanwhile, interested bidders “are encouraged to contact, as soon as practicable” the Rothschild team — that’s Nicholas Barnes or Tero Jänne at (212) 403 3500.

More on the story.

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Catalysis on a Hot Tin Roof: The Digest’s 2017 Multi-Slide Guide to the ChemCatBio consortium

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 08/02/2017 - 8:39am

ChemCatBio is a research and development consortium dedicated to identifying and overcoming catalysis challenges for biomass conversion processes. Led by U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories, the consortium works “with industry to rapidly transition R&D discoveries into commercial processes and grow the bioeconomy in the United States.”

The current research focus encompasses five themes: Upgrading of synthesis gas and synthesis gas-derived intermediates; Catalytic fast pyrolysis; Hydroprocessing of fast pyrolysis and catalytic fast pyrolysis bio-oils; Upgrading biogenic carbon in aqueous waste streams; and Upgrading of lignin, carbohydrates, and other biologically derived intermediates.

This overview on the consortium was presented at the DOE’s Project Peer Review in Denver this year.

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UK Oil Firing Technical Association looking into biofuel to replace kerosene by 2022

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 08/01/2017 - 6:56pm

In the UK, Oftec, the Oil Firing Technical Association, is investigating the viability of low carbon biofuels that it hopes will allow for the replacement of kerosene in household heating by 2022 in line with government targets. The green liquid fuel is the second of a two-step process to help transition heating to more sustainable consumption, followed by a boiler replacement program. Off-grid homes are particularly targeted. The association hasn’t specified the nature of the fuel it is developing.

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No impacts yet as result of lower PIS/Cofins tax on Brazilian hydrous ethanol

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 08/01/2017 - 6:52pm

In Brazil, the impact on hydrous ethanol prices as a result of the lowering of the PIS/Cofins taxes wasn’t immediate, with prices holding steady from the day before. When the government raised taxes for hydrous ethanol along with gasoline and diesel, the ethanol industry immediately complained saying they would be priced out of the market. So the government in turn reduced the tax on ethanol by about a third of the added taxes in an effort to try to improve the fuel’s competitiveness.

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UK says biofuels consumption rose 6.7% on year during Q1

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 08/01/2017 - 6:45pm

In the UK, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy says in its latest update on renewable fuel consumption that liquid biofuels consumption provisionally rose by 6.7 per cent, from 327 million liters in 2016 Q1 to 349 million liters in 2017Q1. This represented 3.1 per cent of gasoline and diesel consumed in road transport.

Ethanol consumption increased by 9.8 per cent, from 184 million liters in 2016 Q1 to 202 million liters in 2017 Q1, while biodiesel consumption rose by 2.8 per cent, from 143 million liters in 2016 Q1 to 147 million liters in 2017 Q1.

In 2017 Q1, the largest share of consumption was from ethanol (58 per cent), with the remaining 42 per cent coming from biodiesel, compared with 2016 Q1’s shares of 56 per cent and 44 per cent respectively.

In 2017 Q1, biodiesel accounted for 2.0 per cent of total diesel consumed in transport, and ethanol a record 5.0 per cent of motor spirit. The combined contribution of the two fuels was 3.1 per cent, 0.2 percentage points higher than 2016 Q1’s share.

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French rapeseed yields seen meeting or beating 2009 record

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 08/01/2017 - 6:44pm

In France, rapeseed production is expected to reach a record high with the latest tests showing an average of 3.8 metric tons per hectare, matching the 2009 record, with some regions showing yields as high as 4.5 tons per hectare or even 5 tons in those grown in deep soil. The farm ministry estimated average yields of 3.2 tons per hectare earlier in the season. The June heat wave that saw prices spike temporarily in anticipation of crop damage wasn’t as severe as feared, leaving analysts to increase their estimates back higher.

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European T2 ethanol falls to three-month low on increased supplies

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 08/01/2017 - 6:43pm

In the Netherlands, with more supply on the market and demand falling as of the end of July, T2 ethanol prices fell to their lowest in three months. Winter demand is already covered and some believe the former Abengoa plant in Salamanca, Spain, although small, could be back online by year’s end following a trial start up in June. With the European grain harvest on the horizon, ethanol production will also likely increase in line with cheaper feedstocks.

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UK biofuels industry looks for options when fossil fuel vehicles phase out post-2040

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 08/01/2017 - 6:41pm

In the UK, the biofuels industry is already looking at what life will be like post-2040 when the ban on new gasoline and diesel cars comes into effect. Though there is a lot of time between now and then, and there will be need for internal combustion engines into the future well after the ban on new cars comes into place. Afterwards, other uses for fuels such as electricity production and ethanol as the basis for green chemicals should continue to provide demand even if it isn’t for transport. Some criticize the move saying that it is short sighted because there isn’t enough lithium for the batteries required for a 100% electric vehicle shift.

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ARS researchers find algae likes a tasty papaya smoothy

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 08/01/2017 - 6:39pm

In Hawaii, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) researchers are leading an effort to produce biodiesel using a type of green algae known as Auxenochlorella protothecoides (formerly Chlorella protothecoides) tied with the pulp of discarded papayas, namely, those deemed too blemished, malformed, or damaged to be sold for market.

The system devised by researchers calls for growing the algae in giant bioreactors where, hidden from sunlight, the algae are fed what might be likened to a papaya smoothie.

Keith’s team thinks their remains from the oil-extraction process, called “algal meal,” can offer Hawaiian farmers a low-cost source of feed for fish or livestock, cutting importation costs.  The algae’s fondness for papaya also could offer a way for growers to recoup some of the losses on about one-third of Hawaii’s $11-million papaya crop discarded because of defects.

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European biodiesel producers want EU to keep saying no to Argentine and Indonesian imports

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 08/01/2017 - 6:38pm

In Belgium, EU member states are to decide on the European Commission’s proposal to radically lower the antidumping duties on Argentinian and Indonesian biodiesel imports. The European biodiesel industry warns of the dramatic impact that this decision may have on 120,000 jobs and on the efficiency of the overall future of EU trade defense. It is critical for the EU and national authorities to realize that, if approved, the current commission proposal would bring to an end any European biodiesel production.

The European Commission intends to bring the EU antidumping duties on Argentinian biodiesel imports in conformity with the October 2016 World Trade Organization Appellate Body’s report by Aug. 10. At the beginning of July, the commission issued a general disclosure document, according to which it plans to bring the antidumping duties down to provisional levels or even lower.

The extremely low level of new proposed duties will be unable to counter the distortive impact of dumping. Additionally, since the result of the WTO panel on EU duties against Indonesia is still uncertain, it appears as completely illogical that the commission already intends to drop the existing measures on Indonesian imports. The negative economic impact would be high, thousands of jobs (120,000, mostly in related EU agricultural activities) would be lost, for no convincing reason.

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2 GOP Govs defy Trump’s regulatory expand-o-grab

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 08/01/2017 - 5:32pm


Above: Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts

Two GOP state governors hitting the phones and airwaves hard to restrain federal government over-reach is a common sight, but not when the Administration in question is the Trump Administration.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts are the headliners in a battle in and about Washington DC this week. You can call it what you want: it’s Gettysburg.

On the surface, it’s about renewable fuels’ access to energy markets: As Reynolds stated, “I urge the EPA to raise the advanced biofuel, biodiesel and cellulosic volumes. The RFS is a bold policy, and Iowans and the industry as a whole have always risen to the challenge.” Meanwhile, Ricketts pointed urgently to “the President’s statements of support for the corn ethanol industry and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s commitment to implement the program in a way that honors Congressional intent.”

Like the celebrated battle of 1863 — at a more fundamental level we are seeing a clash between two powerful sectional forces over the fate of two competing economic systems — one based in digging stuff out of the ground, and one based in planting and cultivating in the ground.  After the years of Farm Aid, agriculture pivoted to energy to find a new market — and now it’s Oil Patch vs Farm Patch, with boatloads of state revenue, landowner income and private-sector jobs to the winner. The outcome could be a downward spiral point for farm states that are seeing state tax revenues under severe pressure — just when taxpayers in these states had been hoping for some tax relief.

So, the stakes are high. The Administration is aiming for the power to reset Renewable Fuel Volumes without deference to Congressional targets — that’s the Trump “expand-o-grab”— and farm states, facing painful recessions, are ready for battle over the biggest available value-add they have, the energy markets.

Why the crisis atmosphere?

The Omaha World-Herald put it best:

“Nebraska’s economic output in the first quarter this year was 4 percent less than the same period a year ago. This was the worst first-quarter figure of any U.S. state…Households, businesses and governments all need to be prepared for possible belt-tightening beyond what’s already been done…With a statewide ballot measure on property tax relief possible for November 2018, Nebraskans need to consider carefully how to balance practical tax relief with adequate funding for schools and other needs.”

Yes, the US farm sector is spiraling dow, fast — falling crop prices are driving down land values — which affects everything from farm credit to state tax revenues.

Why is land value important? With a value of $2.40 trillion in 2015, the value of farm real estate (land and structures) accounted for over four-fifths of the total value of U.S. farm sector total assets, according to USDA.

Why should everyone, everywhere watch this battle?

Agricultural production accounts “for around 51 percent of the U.S. land base”, says USDA. “Land use and land-use changes have important economic and environmental implications for commodity production and trade, open space, soil and water conservation, air quality and atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, and other areas of interest.”

Here’s the hard data on land values, and farm income.

What’s the fix to falling farm-state revenues?

Without a rise in farm commodity prices no one is expecting and no-one outside of farm states is desiring — you’re going to hear “exports” from the Administration.

However, agricultural exports are in decline, and with the strong dollar, that’s not likely to change. Here’s USDA chart on that.

The fix? They see it in US transportation fuel markets — where demand is up, renewables have a strong value proposition, and US farm sector energy production capacity is over 21 billion (ethanol-equivalent) gallons.

However, distribution is controlled by the petroleum industry — hence the market-forcing mechanism of the Renewable Fuel Standard as set by Congress in 2005 and revised in 2007. The EPA oversees the annual volumes and is holding hearings this week on a controversial reverse on renewable fuel volumes — and that’s why the battle for the future of the farm sector is in DC, why EPA is at the heart of it, and why GOP farm-sector governors are on the hustings to protect their economies and tax bases.

As Rob Walther, Vice President of Federal Advocacy, POET, puts it:

“At a time that the agricultural crisis, noted by the Wall Street Journal, is picking up momentum and rural America is in serious jeopardy of mass farm bankruptcies, we can ill afford regressions in the federal government’s commitment to the heartland. … The cellulosic and advanced numbers do not take into account significant gains being realized by both hemi-cellulose and corn fiber technologies not just at POET, but around the industry.”

The 2017 volumes, EPA’s 2018 proposal at a glance

Corn ethanol

In 2017: 15 billion gallons.
EPA proposes for 2018: 15 billion gallons.
Industry says: Thank you!
Spotlight comment – Bob Dinneen, CEO, RFA: “We believe EPA is well-justified in that decision, given the overwhelming evidence that more than sufficient D6 RINs [conventional ethanol renewable identification numbers] will be available for compliance this year and next.”

Biomass-based diesel

In 2017:  2.1 billion gallons.
EPA proposes for 2018 and 2019: 2.1 billion gallons.
Industry says: Too low!
Spotlight commentDoug Whitehead, chief operating officer at the National Biodiesel Board: “Domestic production capacity is significantly underutilized, with 4.2 billion gallons of registered capacity according to EPA’s own assessment. This doesn’t even include non-registered plants or foreign production we expect will continue to reach our shores.

Advanced biofuel

In 2017: 4.28 billion gallons.
EPA proposes for 2018: 4.24 billion gallons.
Industry says: Too low!
Spotlight commentGrant Kimberley, executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board and director of market development for the Iowa Soybean Association: “EPA’s current proposed volumes would stall biodiesel, an important Iowa manufacturing sector, at a time when it is already operating below its capacity. The U.S. can meet production demand, and has substantial room for growth, which EPA’s proposal does not acknowledge.”

Cellulosic ethanol

In 2017:  301 million gallons.
EPA proposes for 2018: 238 million gallons.
Industry says: Too low!
Spotlight comment – Jan Koninckx, Global Business Director for Advanced Biofuels at DuPont Industrial Biosciences: “For cellulosic ethanol, there is no question that the task for forecasting volumes for the next calendar year is difficult. However, in 2016 and 2017, EPA did a much better job of forecasting the cellulosic volume than for any of the prior years AND this past Friday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed upholding EPA’s process and the outcome. Given this result, there should be no question that EPA must revisit the process used in the current proposal for cellulosic ethanol and follow its own guidance and process used for the 2016 and 2017 cellulosic RVOs.”

‘Huskers vs Sooners: The Bottom Line

Forget Russia, this Administration is so pro-Oklahoma that we’re surprised the national anthem hasn’t been changed to “The Surrey with the Fringe on Top”. This latest episode, featuring the Renewable Fuel Standard, is described by some as a regulatory battle, or a skirmish that will end up as a battle in the courts. By others, as the best Nebraska-Oklahoma showdown since 1971’s Game of the Century.

But it’s none of those. This is a sectional political battle, this is a weighing of democratic might and will. Oil Patch vs Farm Patch — and both sides vying for the support of the Border States. The former with a Copperhead appeal to lower prices and less regulation, the latter with a Whig appeal to the broad national benefits of expanded domestic production through national investment.

Why does the bioeconomy base care so much? They fear a market lock-out without the RFS, and they fear the loss of financing without policy stability.

But there’s one thing the industry can work harder on, and that’s technology risk.

Policy can be technology-forcing, but nothing is market-forcing like technology, and the industry needs to get behind the technologies that are working, and get the technologies that aren’t working over the line. Policymakers, financiers, the public — everyone likes a winner.  The era of “build, commission, and pray” has got to end. Gettysburg wasn’t won with rifles that wouldn’t shoot.

We’re The Digest, we get it — the complexity of advanced fuels, $45 oil, the problems, the smart people working real hard. But the hour for delivery is now. The brave legions now making the rounds of Washington DC in the cause of defending the RFS are lining up just about the same way that General James Longstreet laid out the forces who made the 1863’s Pickett’s Charge.

Now, now and now. The forces are on the field. The battle is about to be joined. As they say in the business of war: make ready.

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