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Better Fuels: A Clear Voice for the Advanced Biofuels Industry  

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

By Michael McAdams, President of the Advanced Biofuels Association

As the industry voice for advanced and cellulosic biofuels, ABFA is excited to put a spotlight on our industry’s progress and perspectives through our newest tool, the Better Fuels Blog. With public policies that impact our industry heating up in Washington, especially related to the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), we hope this blog will shed a little more light and a little less heat on why advanced and cellulosic biofuels are an important part of America’s energy portfolio.

From our perspective, the current RFS debate has become mired in short-term concerns – like the blend wall and prices for RINs – and has lost sight of the bigger picture about policy signals necessary to foster investment in a robust market for advanced biofuels.  It also doesn’t help that some stakeholder groups have attempted to create a view that the RFS is broken and should be repealed entirely, rather than allowing the Environmental Protection Agency to use its authority and flexibility to make needed adjustments.

When Congress expanded the RFS a few years ago, lawmakers envisioned an industry that would deliver more sustainable fuels, which would provide larger greenhouse gas reductions and develop “drop-in” fuels that would be totally compatible with our existing pipelines, fuel pumps and engines.  ABFA member companies are delivering on that vision.

Many of our members have built or purchased commercial-scale plants that will produce renewable gallons qualifying as advanced under the RFS this year.  And many more are either breaking ground or plan to have commercial plants in operation by 2015.  In the weeks and months ahead, we’ll profile those advancements, but as a quick preview:

  • One of ABFA’s founding members Neste will deliver more than 100 million gallons of renewable diesel this year to the state of California.
  • Viesel is delivering significant gallons today in the state of Florida from not one, but two operating plants.
  • Sapphire Energy is producing green crude from the nation’s first integrated algal biorefinery in New Mexico.
  • Sundrop Fuels is building its first commercial-scale plant in Louisiana, which will begin production in 2016.
  • And, ABFA members Gevo, KiOR and Tyson recently showcased how they are producing significant volumes of advanced renewable drop-in fuels today during a Capitol Hill briefing.

That’s why repeal of the RFS would be such a step backwards for America’s energy future.  In a world with changing strategic alliances, a skyrocketing population and increasing demand for lifestyles that involve more energy, our country requires a diverse and secure energy future.

Advanced and cellulosic biofuels are an important part of the diversified, balanced portfolio of energy options that America needs.  Because they are produced from renewable sources like plants, trees, algae, waste, animal fats and other forms of biomass – not petroleum – advanced biofuels complement rising domestic oil and natural gas production.

But to grow and thrive in the marketplace, renewable fuels need both a stable policy environment and a level playing field that does not favor one energy source over another. With our future posts, we’ll highlighting the need for the federal government to offer consistency and to maintain policies that are technology and molecule neutral, so that managing the risk of regulatory and legislative uncertainty is no longer a principal challenge in this industry.

ABFA is committed to helping America transition to a low-carbon economy with enhanced energy security by building better fuels. So, take a look around our website and check back in to hear more about the progress and future of this important industry.

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