Archive for the ‘biofuel’ Category

“Maddening” US ethanol prices mimic RINs volatility

US ethanol prices in 2014 have become what RINs were in 2013 — volatile and downright wacky.

In the opening three months of 2013, biofuels RINs went from the nerdy kid in freshman biology to a menacing and eccentric upper-classman that scared all the other kids in the cafeteria. The previously lesser-known renewable credits generated by physical gallons of biofuels became a household name of infamy as finger-pointing linked them to rising prices at the pump.

And if there’s one thing an array of industries, commodities, and political dealings have learned over the years, you don’t mess with prices at the pump.

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A different perspective on getting through the ethanol blendwall

Anna Temple of WoodMac tried at the annual AFPM meeting to put one aspect of the ethanol issue into a highly consumable number: eight.

The Houston-based downstream consultant, in one part of her presentation, said the Renewable Fuel Standard going forward could still trip up refiners, but she also addressed whether E85 has a part to play in meeting the ever-rising mandates set under RFS2.

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A cellulosic biofuels company’s woes could spell trouble for the RFS

The cellulosic biofuels industry has struggled to get off the ground, with technological and financial problems, but in 2013, there were signs that the industry was close to breaking through, with the first commercial shipments.  This year has brought more promise, as several plants are scheduled to come online.

But for one of the industry’s leading companies, 2014 has been a different story. That company is KiOR, a Texas-based firm backed by Silicon Valley venture capitalist Vinod Khosla. You may remember Khosla and KiOR as the subjects of a 60 Minutes piece in January about the struggles of green energy.

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Upping the Ante: US ethanol’s leadership sets out its stall after 2013′s setbacks

That the CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association would come out fighting after the 2013 annus horribilis was to be expected. When Bob Dinneen, a man they’ve come to call the Reverend in these parts because of his full throttle evangelisin’ on the blendstock’s position in the USA, took the stage to deliver the keynote opening address to the 2014 National Ethanol Conference last week, the packed auditorium knew broadly what to expect.

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California’s LCFS: credit prices, court cases and controversy in the “other” Washington

A few notes from the world of the Low Carbon Fuel Standard:

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Regulation & Environment: EPA action on 2014 renewable fuel standard didn’t end the process

When the Environmental Protection Agency released modification in the 2014 application of the renewable fuel standard, it was only the start of the process. The lobbying still goes on, as Herman Wang discusses in this week’s Oilgram News column, Regulation & Environment.

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It isn’t only corn: Brazilian sugar cane ethanol worries about changes in RFS

Much of the rhetoric surrounding the US Renewable Fuel Standard centers around the notion of home-grown fuels enhancing American energy security and independence.

That puts Leticia Phillips in a bit of a delicate situation, as she advocates for Brazilian sugar cane ethanol’s place in the US renewable fuel mix.

Phillips is the North American representative for UNICA, the Brazilian sugar cane industry association. And though lawmakers and the Obama administration have played up their support for domestically produced biofuels, Phillips said Brazilian ethanol has an ace up its sleeve: its lower life-cycle emissions, when compared to US corn-derived ethanol.

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A new showdown over renewable fuels: Big Ethanol vs. Big Cars

This is how the whole concept of a “war room” works in Washington.

The AAA — that’s now the formal name, but it used to be the American Automobile Association — sent out a press release today that landed in my mailbox at 12:05 pm Eastern time. The release said that the Environmental Protection Agency should reduce the 2014 renewable fuels mandate, which it has signaled it will do, because of concerns that the 10% blend wall would be hit, creating “a possible surge in gas prices or the increased use of potentially damaging E15 gasoline.”

The time of the response by the Renewable Fuels Association: 12:24 pm, just 19 minutes later. That’s what a “war room” does.

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A leading newspaper didn’t get the news about California’s gasoline change

The Wall Street Journal‘s editorial page checked in recently with its view on the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard. Not surprisingly, it’s against it.

But in making its case, it also committed a significant error.

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When it comes to the ethanol mandate, throw out the usual Washington left-right divide

The complicated politics of the Renewable Fuel Standard were on full display Wednesday, as an Iowa Republican — a member of a party generally favorable to the oil industry — vehemently defended the biofuels blending mandate, while a Vermont Democrat — from a party traditionally aligned with alternative fuels advocates — bashed it.

The differing opinions, presented at a forum hosted by National Journal in Washington, illustrate how tricky it could be to reform the law, which the oil industry has long sought to eliminate.

The issue does not neatly fall along political lines, but rather geographical.

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