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.

On September 19, 2014, Minnoco announced an expansion program which will allow Minnoco retailers to offer biofuels that perform better at lower costs. This includes the ability to offer E15, E30, E85, diesel fuel, and gasoline typically available for purchase. More information about the announcement can be found online.

Tags: biofuel, E15, E30, E85

 

On July 2, 2014, EPA released a signed, pre-published version of its final rule for "Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Pathways II and Modifications to the RFS Program, Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel Requirements, and E15 Misfueling Mitigation Requirements." Under the rule, EPA qualifies certain additional fuel pathways that the Agency has determined meet the lifecycle greenhouse gas reduction requirements for cellulosic biofuel under the RFS. The final rule also provides guidance regarding the feedstocks that EPA considers to be crop residues, including clarification that EPA considers corn kernel fiber to be a crop residue. In addition, under the rule, EPA is also "finalizing other minor amendments related to survey requirements associated with the ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) program and misfueling mitigation regulations for 15 volume percent ethanol blends (E15)." A copy of the rule is available online.


The final rule differs from the proposed version of the rule in several respects. For instance, in its "fact sheet" describing the rule, EPA states that it is "not finalizing the proposed advanced butanol pathway, the proposed pathways for the production of renewable diesel, naphtha and renewable gasoline from biogas, the definition of responsible corporate officer, or the proposed amendments to compliance related provisions in Section 80.1452 (requirements related to the EPA Moderated Transaction System (EMTS)). The Agency is deferring a final decision on these matters until a later time."


Under the final rule, the following pathways are now qualified for cellulosic and advanced fuel under the RFS:


* Compressed natural gas produced from biogas from landfills, municipal wastewater treatment facility digesters, agricultural digesters, and separated municipal solid waste (MSW) digesters;

* Liquefied natural gas produced from biogas from landfills, municipal wastewater treatment facility digesters, agricultural digesters, and separated MSW digesters; and

* Electricity used to power electric vehicles produced from landfills, municipal wastewater treatment facility digesters, agricultural digesters, and separated MSW digesters.


With this rule, EPA is trying to help facilitate RFS compliance by allowing additional pathways to qualify under the program.
 


 

On March 6, 2014, South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard (R) announced that the state will begin incorporating E15 fuel into its state fleet during a test period over the next six months. Currently, E10 is available and used in the state's flex-fuel and other vehicles, but the Governor wants to encourage the greater use of ethanol in his state. Ethanol is a $3.8 billion industry in South Dakota. Greater use of E15 is one potential solution to the E10 ethanol "blend wall." The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed reducing the 2014 renewable volume obligations for corn-starch ethanol due to blend wall concerns. A copy of the press release on the announcement released by Governor Daugaard's office is available online.


 

On March 3, 2014, EPA released its final rule on "Control of Air Pollution from Motor Vehicles: Tier 3 Motor Vehicle Emission and Fuel Standards" (the "Tier 3 rule"). A copy of the 1069-page Tier 3 rule is available online. A copy of EPA's five-page fact sheet on "EPA Sets Tier 3 Motor Vehicle Emission and Fuel Standards" is available online.


The Tier 3 rule is designed to reduce air pollution from passenger cars and trucks. Beginning in 2017, the Tier 3 rule will set new vehicle emissions standards and reduce the sulfur content of gasoline. It will treat the vehicle and its fuel as an integrated system. The final Tier 3 rule is very similar to the proposed version of the rule, although the final Tier 3 rule sets the ethanol content for emissions test gasoline at ten percent (E10) instead of at 15 percent (E15) as proposed.


The final Tier 3 rule is a part of the Obama Administration's efforts to combat the harmful impacts of climate change. It is expected to reduce several tons of harmful GHG emissions by 2030.
 


 

RFA sponsored a study released this month by the Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The study is available online. In the study, NREL analyzed various studies on the effects of E15 use in Model Year 2001 and newer cars and found no meaningful difference in the use of E10 and E15 in those vehicles. This is a significant finding because many in the oil and gas industries, among others, have warned of potentially harmful effects of using E15 in cars. EPA has approved E15 for use in Model Year 2001 and newer vehicles. Many in the biofuels industry have argued that, if more widely used, E15 could be one potential way to overcome the E10 blend wall, because it would allow for greater blending of ethanol in the U.S. fuel supply.


 
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