The Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG) helps members develop and bring to market their innovative biobased and renewable chemical products through insightful policy and regulatory advocacy. BRAG is managed by B&C® Consortia Management, L.L.C., an affiliate of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On April 4, 2017, the Iowa Biodiesel Board (IBB) announced that the Iowa Department of Revenue’s 2016 Retailers Fuel Gallons Annual Report demonstrated that more than half of Iowa’s fuel retailers carried biodiesel blends in 2016.  In 2016, 344.8 million gallons of on-road biodiesel blends were sold, which accounts for 54.7 percent of total on-road diesel fuel sales.  The report also showed that twice as many gallons of 11 - 20 percent biodiesel (B11-B20) were sold compared to lower blends.  IBB credits the growth in the use of higher biodiesel blends to Iowa’s proactive state policies, which are working as intended to increase production and consumption.  Due to the instability at the federal level, Grant Kimberley, the IBB executive director, stated that Iowa’s biofuel producers need state tax credits to stay in place now more than ever to remain competitive.


 

 

By Kathleen M. Roberts

On March 29, 2017, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) published a notice in the Federal Register announcing the commencement of the preliminary phase of a biodiesel antidumping and countervailing duty investigation into Argentina and Indonesia.  ITC must make a preliminary determination within 45 days regarding whether there is a reasonable indication that the U.S. biodiesel industry is materially injured or threatened with material injury by imports of biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia.  ITC has scheduled a conference on the investigation for April 13, 2017.  Stakeholders that wish to appear at the conference must e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on or before April 11, 2017.   Written submissions containing information and arguments regarding the investigation will be accepted on or before April 18, 2017.  The investigation is in response to a petition filed by the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) Fair Trade Coalition on March 23, 2017.  More information on NBB’s petition is available in the BRAG blog post “National Biodiesel Board Fair Trade Coalition Files Antidumping, Countervailing Duty Petition.”


 

By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On March 23, 2017, the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Resources Board (ARB) announced the release of new carbon intensity pathways for fuels certified under the low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) using the CA-GREET 2.0 model.  Of the 18 pathways approved in March, eight are first generation biodiesel carbon intensity pathways and four are second generation renewable diesel carbon intensity pathways.  A pathway for biodiesel produced from used cooking oil has been provisionally certified, as well.  The approved pathways can be used for credit reporting purposes beginning with reports for Q1 2017.  The LCFS regulation aims to reduce the carbon intensity of fuels sold in California by 10 percent by 2020 in line with the California Health and Safety Code mandate to reduce greenhouse gases in California.


 

On March 23, 2017, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) announced that an antidumping and countervailing duty petition had been filed with the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) and the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) claiming that Argentine and Indonesian companies are violating trade laws by saturating the U.S. market with dumped and subsidized biodiesel.  The petition was filed on behalf of the National Biodiesel Board Fair Trade Coalition, which represents the NBB and U.S. biodiesel producers.  According to NBB, Argentine and Indonesian producers are selling their biodiesel in the U.S. at prices that are substantially lower than their costs of production, and government programs in both countries are providing illegal subsidies to their domestic biodiesel industries.  Between 2014 and 2016, biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia increased by 464 percent, which resulted in an 18 percent loss in market share for U.S. manufacturers.  Both countries have previously been charged with violating international trade laws.  Following NBB’s announcement, Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) released a statement urging DOC and ITC to give the suit every appropriate consideration and pledging to continue to work across the aisle to reform the biodiesel tax credit, so that it incentivizes the domestic production of clean, renewable biodiesel.


 

On January 17, 2017, Neste, a member of the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®), announced the rebranding of its “Neste Renewable Diesel” to “Neste MY Renewable Diesel,” and the updating of other names within the renewable products family to “Neste MY” brand names.  Neste MY Renewable Diesel is a low-carbon drop-in renewable fuel that does not require vehicle modifications, and can be refueled into any blending ratio due to its compatibility with existing diesel fuels.  Compared to conventional petroleum diesel, Neste MY Renewable Diesel enables up to 80 percent lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions throughout the lifecycle.


 

On October 19, 2016, EPA delivered the proposed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume standards for 2017 and biobased diesel standards for 2018 via proposed rule to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB).  This proposed rule will increase the renewable fuel volume requirements as reported in the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) post “EPA Releases Proposed Renewable Fuel Volume Requirements.”  The proposed volume requirements are:
 


 
Cellulosic biofuel, from 230 million gallons in 2016, to 312 million gallons in 2017;
 

 
Advanced biofuel, from 3.61 billion gallons in 2016, to four billion gallons in 2017;
 

 
Renewable fuel, from 18.11 billion gallons in 2016 to 18.8 billion gallons in 2017; and
 
Biomass-based diesel, from two billion gallons in 2017 to 2.1 billion gallons in 2018.


These volumes would change the percentage standards to 0.173 percent for cellulosic biofuel, 2.22 percent for advanced biofuel, 10.44 percent for renewable fuel, and 1.67 percent for biomass-based diesel.  The final rule is expected to be published in the Federal Register during December 2016.


 
On September 12, 2016, the  Biodiesel and Renewable Diesel Incentive Extension Act of 2016 (H.R. 5994) was introduced to the House of Representatives and referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means. The bill was introduced by Representative Diane Black (R-TN), and would extend the $1 per gallon biodiesel and renewable diesel blenders credit, originally set to expire December 31, 2016, through  December 31, 2018. The blenders tax credit of $1 was created in 2005 for biodiesel or renewable diesel used in qualified mixtures.  The Advanced Biofuels Association (ABFA) has spoken out in favor of extending the tax credit, with ABFA President Michael McAdams stating, "it is clear that the best chance for our industry to continue to have tax credit support at the federal level is for all of us to unite behind the existing blenders credit. Given the shortness of the year and the importance of certainty for the overall biodiesel industry, we simply owe it to all our members to give them the best opportunity to continue to have a tax credit in  2017  and  2018."

 

On September 13, 2016, Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) member Flint Hills Resources, along with Benefuel® Inc., announced the startup of the Duonix Beatrice biodiesel plant, and the first successful commercial-scale application of Benefuel's innovative ENSEL technology. ENSEL technology is capable of converting a range of lower cost feedstocks such as recycled cooking oil and distillers corn oil into high-quality biodiesel. Once fully operational, the Duonix Beatrice plant will produce approximately 50 million gallons of biodiesel annually. The plant has already made commercial sales of product that meets or exceeds ASTM specifications for biodiesel.

The ENSEL technology uses a solid catalyst that combines esterification of high free fatty acid feedstocks and transesterification of triglycerides into a single step, which eliminates waste, improves process efficiency, and expands feedstock options. The product is further enhanced by an upgraded, backend distillation process that removes additional impurities which, when used on high free fatty acid feedstocks such as distillers corn oil, produces a higher quality biodiesel with superior cold weather performance. In addition to producing 50 million gallons of biodiesel, Duonix Beatrice is expected to produce a variety of coproducts such as glycerin, which can be used as a food additive and as a compound found in a number of medical, pharmaceutical and personal care products.


 

On August 24, 2016, Brazil's government announced that it would not be extending a tax break on ethanol sales that is due to expire in December 2016. During the 2015 Paris Climate Accord, Brazil pledged to increase cane-based ethanol and biodiesel to nearly 18 percent of its total energy mix by 2030, requiring an increase in annual ethanol production from 30 billion liters in 2015/2016 to 50 billion liters in 2030. The loss of the ethanol tax break prevents biofuel from being cost competitive with gasoline, and will severely impede the ability of ethanol and biodiesel to make up a larger percentage of Brazil's energy mix. Elizabeth Farina, head of the cane industry association Unica, stated that this change will push cane mills to switch from biofuel to sugar production. Two days after the announcement that Brazil would not be renewing the ethanol tax break, Brokers INTL FCStone predicted that the top cane growing region of Brazil would produce 4.7 percent less ethanol in the 2016/2017 crop than it did in 2015/2016.


 
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