You are here: Home Blog RFS

RFS

Unintended Consequences from EPA Proposal Could Limit U.S. Access to Advanced Biofuels

By Leticia Phillips posted Feb 17, 2017
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has accepted comments on a proposal that would allow, among other things, biofuel producers to partially process renewable feedstocks at one facility and further process them into renewable fuels at another facility. EPA intends this broad rule to increase the economics and efficiency of producing biofuels, particularly advanced and cellulosic biofuels, a goal Brazil’s sugarcane biofuel producers broadly support.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has accepted comments on a proposal that would allow, among other things, biofuel producers to partially process renewable feedstocks at one facility and further process them into renewable fuels at another facility. EPA intends this broad rule to increase the economics and efficiency of producing biofuels, particularly advanced and cellulosic biofuels, a goal Brazil’s sugarcane biofuel producers broadly support. 

However, we are seriously concerned the proposal as currently written would upend nearly a decade of established practice and effectively prevent Americans from importing and using Brazilian sugarcane ethanol, one of the cleanest and most available advanced biofuels on the market, by changing how “biointermediates” are treated.

Since the beginning of the Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) program, sugarcane ethanol has played a modest but important role supplying Americans with nearly 2 billion gallons of advanced biofuel. This important designation under the RFS indicates that a fuel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent compared to fossil fuels.

The troubling concern with EPA's proposal is characterizing undenatured imported ethanol, like sugarcane ethanol from Brazil, as a biointermediate product. Denaturing is the addition of chemicals to ethanol to ensure the alcohol is both not suitable for human consumption and clearly “marked” for use in automobile fuel tanks in the United States. For many technical and regulatory reasons, nearly all sugarcane ethanol leaves Brazil in an undenatured state and the denaturing chemicals are then added in the United States to comply with regulations set by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau of the U.S. Treasury Department. To underscore, this approach has worked well for the past decade without any reported cases of fraud that have hampered other parts of the RFS program.

Categorizing undenatured imported ethanol as a biointermediate will impose significant and costly new obligations that may be infeasible and unfair for Brazilian sugarcane producers to meet. The unintended consequence may be blocking American access to this important source of advanced biofuel, and would treat foreign products differently from domestic biofuel supplies.

We also believe EPA’s definition of biointermediate does not fit undenatured sugarcane ethanol. The Brazilian ethanol producing process does not involve “sequential” production of pre-processing feedstock at one facility and transportation to another nearby facility for the ultimate conversion to renewable fuel. Rather, the product exported to the United States is a finished product, not a feedstock. It is a liquid fuel that can be used, without further processing, for transportation. 

Formal comments from Brazil’s sugarcane ethanol producers urge EPA to clarify that the biointermediate definition does not include undenatured sugarcane ethanol fuel that is subsequently imported into the United States and denatured.  This exception will not alter the status quo for foreign ethanol producers, but would allow EPA to provide the biointermediate provisions to the few US-based producers to which they should logically apply.

Brazilian Sugarcane Biofuel Producers Applaud Increased EPA Support for Advanced Renewable Fuels

By Elizabeth Farina posted Nov 23, 2016
The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (known by the acronym “UNICA”) today commented on the final 2017 renewable fuel standards from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The association’s statement should be attributed to UNICA’s President, Elizabeth Farina.

The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (known by the acronym “UNICA”) today commented on the final 2017 renewable fuel standards from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The association’s statement should be attributed to UNICA’s President, Elizabeth Farina.

“Brazil’s sugarcane ethanol producers applaud EPA for its continued leadership and support of advanced renewable fuels. By setting a higher final 2017 RFS volume requirement for advanced biofuels than originally proposed in May, EPA makes a powerful statement on the economic and climate benefits of renewable fuels.”
 
“Increasing requirements for advanced biofuels help ensure continued American access to sugarcane ethanol, one of the cleanest and most commercially ready advanced biofuels available today. This signal of support will also encourage innovations and increase production of second-generation biofuels, which hold incredible potential to increase per-acre ethanol productivity and unlock vast new cellulosic feedstocks.”
 
“We are proud of the modest but important role Brazil plays supplying the United States with clean, low-carbon renewable fuel.  Over the past four years, nearly 1.2 billion gallons of sugarcane ethanol imported from Brazil flowed into American vehicles.  During this time, sugarcane ethanol comprised only two percent of all renewable fuels consumed by Americans, but provided one-tenth of the entire U.S. advanced biofuel supply.”
 
“With the right market conditions, Brazil has the capacity to supply the U.S. with significantly greater quantities of advanced biofuel than the 200 million gallons assumed by EPA’s 2017 rule. Together, America and Brazil have built a global biofuels market, and we look forward to continuing to ensure the road to sustainable transportation is fueled by renewable biofuels.”
 
# # #
 
The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association is the leading trade association for the sugarcane industry in Brazil, representing nearly 60 percent of the country’s sugarcane production and processing.  More information on sugarcane ethanol and its role as an advanced biofuel is available at www.sugarcane.org/rfs.

Biofuels Play Central Role in Brazil’s Climate Goals

By Leticia Phillips posted Nov 22, 2016
The Paris Agreement on Climate Change entered into force in September, starting a coordinated effort by the world’s governments to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and limit climate change impacts. It’s far from the end, though. Entering into force starts the hard work—meeting each nation’s decarbonization targets. Every country’s intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) will reduce emissions and expand economic opportunities for clean energy. More than any other nation, Brazil’s INDC relies on biofuels to meet these goals.

This article originally ran at Ethanol Producer Magazine.

The Paris Agreement on Climate Change entered into force in September, starting a coordinated effort by the world’s governments to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and limit climate change impacts. It’s far from the end, though. Entering into force starts the hard work—meeting each nation’s decarbonization targets. Every country’s intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) will reduce emissions and expand economic opportunities for clean energy. More than any other nation, Brazil’s INDC relies on biofuels to meet these goals.

Brazil’s INDC targets 37 percent lower emissions by 2025 compared to 2005, with further reductions by 2030. This assumes biofuels supply approximately 18 percent of the country’s energy mix by 2030 through greater sugarcane ethanol production, expanded second-generation biofuels and additional biodiesel for transportation.

Biofuels can meet this challenge. Ethanol and bioenergy produced from sugarcane already constitute 15.7 percent of Brazil’s energy mix, replacing more than 40 percent of gasoline and avoiding 600 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions since the beginning of the ethanol program in the 1970s. Just this past harvest, Brazil produced 7 billion gallons of advanced ethanol and 15 million megawatt-hours of bioelectricity from cogeneration.

While Brazil’s INDC and its related biofuel goals are ambitious, experience shows they are also realistic. Ultimate success relies on three fundamental pillars: predictable policy, sustainable production and technological innovation.

 First, government policy must be clear and stable. Well-established rules of the road fostered Brazil biofuels with the first wave of ethanol’s growth government driven from the mid-1970s to the 1980s. The second wave of growth, starting in 2003, resulted from the introduction of flex-fuel vehicles. In the past few years, however, regulatory uncertainty has reduced investments and inhibited technological development. The lack of predictable policy has its cost and instead of having 10 to 30 new mills built per year, we see mills shutting their doors.  

Brazil should maintain a regulatory framework, incorporating the positive externalities of renewable fuel into prices via consumption mandates or tax differentials favoring biofuel over gasoline. 

Second, we must ensure sugarcane production continues to expand sustainably. Brazil’s Agro-Ecological Zoning policy prevents sugarcane expansion in the most sensitive biomes and in native vegetation, while authorizing expansion into 64.7 million hectares of suitable land. That’s about 7.5 percent of Brazil’s territory, compared to the one percent of land currently used for sugarcane production. Sustainability extends to paying sugarcane growers fair prices for their product. Brazil’s current approach is very effective, with the Council of Sugarcane Industry and Growers creating clear rules for cane prices and minimizing potential conflicts. 

While there’s no sustainability silver bullet, Brazil’s current policies are a good start and must be maintained. In addition, we should consider innovative models like self-regulatory commitments and third-party certifications. 

Third, we must enhance research and development to unlock next-generation biofuels and increase ethanol’s competitiveness. Second-generation ethanol is a reality in Brazil. Raizen is producing ethanol from cane bagasse in Sao Paulo and Granbio is producing ethanol from bagasse and straw in Alagoas. The Center for Sugarcane Technology has demonstrated we can quadruple ethanol’s productivity through innovation in the near future. Optimizing production, advancing genetic enhancements and expanding agronomy to increase feedstocks, on top of industrial re-engineering of our first-generation production to second-generation ethanol, can raise production from 1,850 gallons per hectare to 6,500 gallons per hectare.

From the beginning of Brazil’s ethanol program, technological innovations multiplied ethanol production by 20-fold, doubled cane yields and cut prices in half. We believe current innovations will create similar results in the next few decades, if research and development continue on track.

 Reducing power sector emissions is an important start to slowing climate change, but to truly decarbonize, we must tackle transportation emissions. Earlier this year, U.S. transportation emissions passed power sector emissions for the first time since 1979 as new clean energy came online, and this trend will likely play out elsewhere as countries decarbonize. Biofuels are a proven solution to replace fossil-based transportation fuel. Together, America and Brazil have built a global biofuels market, showing how stable policy can create economic growth and environmental benefits. 

Brazilian Sugarcane Biofuel Producers Urge Increased EPA Support for Advanced Renewable Fuels

By Elizabeth Farina posted Jul 11, 2016
The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (known by the acronym “UNICA”) today commented on proposed 2017 renewable fuel standards by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The association also issued the following statement, which should be attributed to UNICA’s President, Elizabeth Farina.

Brazilian Sugarcane Biofuel Producers Urge Increased EPA Support for Advanced Renewable Fuels

By Elizabeth Farina

The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (known by the acronym “UNICA”) today commented on proposed 2017 renewable fuel standards by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The association also issued the following statement, which should be attributed to UNICA’s President, Elizabeth Farina.

“Brazilian sugarcane producers are proud of the modest but important role they play supplying the United States with clean, low-carbon renewable fuel.  Over the past four years, nearly 1.2 billion gallons of sugarcane ethanol imported from Brazil flowed into American vehicles.  During this time, sugarcane ethanol comprised only 2% of all renewable fuels consumed by Americans, but has provided one-tenth of the entire U.S. advanced biofuel supply.”

“Our official comments make clear that with the right market conditions, Brazil has the capacity to supply the U.S. with significantly greater quantities of advanced biofuel than the 200 million gallons assumed by EPA’s 2017 proposal.”

“EPA has the ability to stimulate the market for advanced biofuel.  We urge the Agency to keep as close to the statutory volume requirements as possible and take measures to encourage the production and import of low-carbon renewable fuels, rather than discouraging these fuels by lowering their demand.”

# # #

The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association is the leading trade association for the sugarcane industry in Brazil, representing nearly 60 percent of the country’s sugarcane production and processing.  More information on sugarcane ethanol and its role as an advanced biofuel is available at www.sugarcane.org/rfs

UNICA Appreciates EPA Increasing Advanced Biofuels in Final RFS Rule

By Leticia Phillips posted Nov 30, 2015
The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (known by the acronym “UNICA”) issued the following statement regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final renewable volume obligations for 2014-2016 through the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). It should be attributed to Elizabeth Farina, UNICA President.

The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (known by the acronym “UNICA”) issued the following statement regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final renewable volume obligations for 2014-2016 through the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). It should be attributed to Elizabeth Farina, UNICA President.

“UNICA is heartened by EPA’s recognition the RFS requirements for advanced biofuel can and should increase. Today’s decision appears to leave the door open for continued American access to sugarcane ethanol from Brazil, one of the cleanest and most commercially ready advanced biofuels available today.”
 
“EPA has taken another step toward a cleaner, healthier environment, and Brazilian sugarcane producers stand ready to make even higher volumes of advanced biofuel available to America. According to the latest estimates, Brazil is on track to produce nearly six percent more sugarcane ethanol this year compared to 2014 – an additional 450,000 gallons. Under the right market conditions, Brazil has the capacity to produce up to two billion additional gallons of this advanced biofuel for export according to installed capacity figures.” 
 
“America and Brazil have built a thriving global biofuels market, creating economic growth and environmental benefits, through good policy implementation. UNICA applauds today’s decision by EPA to maintain that growth by encouraging production of clean, low-carbon fuels.” 

# # # 

The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association is the leading trade association for the sugarcane industry in Brazil, representing 60 percent of the country’s sugarcane production and processing.  More information on sugarcane ethanol and its role as an advanced biofuel is available at www.sugarcane.org/rfs

Entering The Homestretch On EPA’s Journey Toward RFS Volume Standards

By Leticia Phillips posted Nov 12, 2015
The Office of Management and Budget has begun reviewing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume targets for 2014-2016, signaling an end to the long and winding road toward regulatory certainty for America’s advanced biofuels market.

The Office of Management and Budget has begun reviewing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume targets for 2014-2016, signaling an end to the long and winding road toward regulatory certainty for America’s advanced biofuels market.

The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) has supported EPA’s RFS implementation decisions in the past, but formally opposed EPA’s proposal to significantly reduce RFS volume targets for 2014, 2015, and 2016 based on three fundamental issues:

Lower Statutory Volumes Are Unsupported And Unnecessary

Reducing statutory volumes of advanced biofuels and total renewable fuels is unnecessary, in part because Brazil can increase production and export higher volumes of sugarcane ethanol under the right market conditions to help meet EPA goals.

According to the latest sugarcane harvest estimates, Brazil is on track to produce nearly six percent more ethanol this year compared to last – an additional 450,000 gallons.  And under the right market conditions, Brazil has the capacity to produce up to 2 billion more gallons of sugarcane ethanol for export to America in future years, according to installed capacity figures from Brazil's National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas, and Biofuels (ANP). But sugarcane producers need consistent, long-term policy signals if they are to plan properly and deliver these higher volumes of clean biofuel.

Volume Reductions Outstrip EPA Authority And Undermine RFS Intent

EPA lacks the proper rationale to lower advanced biofuels and total renewable fuels volume targets in the proposed manner and amount, and the RFS statute does not support this action. EPA was never granted complete discretion to reduce advanced biofuels – instead it is only authorized to reduce biofuel volumes when projected volumes are less than minimum applicable standards.

In addition, EPA’s proposed reductions run counter to Congressional intent to increase domestic consumption of low-emission fuel. Congress structured the RFS so advanced biofuels would eventually supplant conventional biofuels in America’s fuel supply, but the proposed rule discourages cleaner fuels while incentivizing less-efficient and more polluting conventional and fossil fuels.

Reducing Clean Fuels Consumption Threatens Climate Goals

Eschewing clean and renewable biofuels in favor of gasoline undermines President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the recently announced bilateral climate agreement between America and Brazil, and both countries’ INDC pledges for December’s COP21 international climate summit.

Transportation fuel generates 28 percent of U.S. emissions and 17 percent of Brazil’s emissions, but EPA and lifecycle analyses from around the world have found sugarcane ethanol is 90 percent cleaner than conventional gasoline on a full lifecycle basis. Ethanol has consistently been proven the cheapest and most efficient fuel feedstock produced at a commercial scale to replace fossil-based transportation fuels. Every gallon of biofuel creates long-term climate benefits as well as short-term public health benefits, and EPA’s proposal threatens climate action.

Don’t Reverse Course On The Road To Sustainable Transportation

America and Brazil have built a global biofuels market through good policy implementation, creating economic growth and environmental benefits. EPA’s proposed RFS volume reductions threaten that growth and hamstring the promise of advanced biofuels to create sustainable transportation.

UNICA urges EPA to not rewrite the RFS program goals before they can be achieved, but if it continues to assert it has authority and rationale to reduce statutory volumes for biofuels, EPA should do responsibly by:

  • Only lowering statutory volumes by an absolute minimum, because ample supply of advanced biofuels exists and can meet increased annual volumes.
  • Keeping volume requirement reductions for advanced biofuels and renewable fuels above 20 percent in 2015 and 2016, considering statutory reset previsions.
  • Changing Equivalence Values for low-lifecycle emission fuels like sugarcane ethanol to help increase advanced biofuel supply and help obligated parties meet statutory volume requirements.

EPA has the power to spur advanced biofuels by maintaining their statutory volume requirements and encouraging production of low-lifecycle emission fuels. Let’s not reverse course on the road to sustainable transportation by artificially lowering demand.

UNICA Submits Formal Comments Opposing EPA’s Proposed RFS Changes

By Leticia Phillips posted Jul 29, 2015
The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (“UNICA”) this week submitted formal comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency opposing changes to the proposed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume targets for 2014, 2015 and 2016.

The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (“UNICA”) this week submitted formal comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency opposing changes to the proposed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume targets for 2014, 2015 and 2016.

In the past UNICA has supported EPA's decisions implementing the RFS and as a result of Brazil’s long-term commitment to sugarcane ethanol, Brazilian sugarcane ethanol producers have supplied the majority of the U.S.’ undifferentiated advanced biofuels since EPA began implementing the RFS.Brazil Ethanol Exports

But now, UNICA urges EPA to reconsider its proposal to reduce required volumes of advanced biofuels and total renewable fuels for 2015, 2016, and possibly beyond. UNICA has three issues with EPA's proposed significant reductions of the statutory volume requirements:

  • Lowering the statutory volumes by the specified amounts is not supported by the statue nor necessary, at least in 2016 when Brazil could export higher volumes of advanced biofuels under the right market conditions. We believe EPA understates the capacity and ability of Brazilian imports to assist in implementation. 
  • EPA lacks proper rationale to lower the advanced biofuels and total renewable fuels volumes in the manner and amount it proposes. 
  • EPA's proposed reductions do not support Congressional intent on the RFS jeopardize progress toward increased use of low-emission fuels, nor do they support President Obama's Climate Action Plan or the recently announced bilateral climate agreement between the U.S. and Brazil. 

Brazilian Investments Mean More Supply Than EPA Estimates
Brazil’s sugarcane ethanol producers are investing over $3.5 billion through 2017 in new ethanol pipelines, inland waterways, and port facilities. Sugarcane ethanol production is continuing to rise and preliminary figures for 2015-2016 estimated 7.8 billion gallons produced.

About 65 percent of Brazil’s vehicle fleet is composed of flexible fuel vehicles, which can run on E25 instead of E100, allowing hydrous ethanol production to be dehydrated and fulfill export contracts. This flexible hydrous ethanol market means export commitments would not suffer even if faced with a negative harvest season and thus, lower volumes of sugarcane ethanol.

EPA’s proposal opines Brazil cannot supply the 3-4.7 billion gallons in advanced biofuels it calculates would be required between 2015-2016 under the RFS statutory volumes, and Brazil would be unlikely to reach such figures when its highest level of U.S. exports was 680 million gallons in 2006. But in fact, UNICA forecasts under the right market conditions, Brazil can have the capacity to produce an estimated 2 billion gallons of sugarcane ethanol for export to America in 2016, according to installed capacity figures from Brazil's National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas, and Biofuels (ANP).

Brazil Ethanol Production

EPA’s At An RFS Crossroads – Avoid The Wrong Route
Congress’ intent in establishing the RFS, EPA’s action to date, President Obama’s Clean Power Plan goals, and the U.S.-Brazil climate accord show international leadership and commitment to ensuring emissions reductions. But EPA's Proposed Rule threatens the integrity of these commitments and UNICA urges EPA to avoid action reducing advanced biofuel imports or prioritizing less-efficient fuels over sugarcane ethanol, certified as 90 percent cleaner than conventional gasoline.
If EPA continues to assert it has authority and reasonable justification to reduce statutory volumes for biofuels, UNICA urges EPA to:

  • Lower statutory volumes only to the absolute minimum. UNICA supports efforts to increase the annual volumes for these fuels and believes they should not be lowered any further in 2015, 2016 or beyond. 
  • Avoid reducing volume requirements for advanced biofuels or total renewable fuels below 20 percent in 2015 and 2016 in view of statutory reset provisions. 
  • Consider changing Equivalence Values ("EVs") for low-lifecycle emission fuels like sugarcane ethanol to spur further growth in advanced biofuels and help obligated parties meet statutory volume requirements.

UNICA understands EPA finds itself at an RFS crossroads, but EPA needn't rewrite the program’s goals before they can be achieved, and should not unfairly affect Brazilian exports. EPA can stimulate the market for advanced biofuels by keeping as close to the statutory volume requirements as possible and encouraging importation and production of low-lifecycle emissions renewable fuels, rather than discouraging them by lowering demand.

Working Together to Benefit Brazil, America, and the World

By Leticia Phillips posted Jun 30, 2015
Today, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is visiting Washington, D.C. to strengthen the relationship between two of the Western Hemisphere’s biggest nations. But as with any successful relationship, compromise is key on important issues, and President Rousseff plans to discuss several three issues critical to the global ethanol trade with President Obama.

Today, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is visiting Washington, D.C. to strengthen the relationship between two of the Western Hemisphere’s biggest nations. But as with any successful relationship, compromise is key on important issues, and President Rousseff plans to discuss several three issues critical to the global ethanol trade with President Obama.

America’s Renewable Fuel Standard

The issue: The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is significant for both America and Brazil’s ethanol industries, and is a central topic for President Rousseff’s visit. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identifies sugarcane ethanol as an advanced biofuel because it reduces emissions 61 percent compared to gasoline. 

Between 2012-2014, over one billion gallons of sugarcane ethanol flowed from Brazil to U.S. vehicles, and while sugarcane ethanol comprised only two percent of all renewable fuel consumed by Americans, it provided nearly 15 percent of the U.S. advanced biofuel supply. EPA’s recent RFS proposal significantly reduced target volumes for advanced biofuels below Congressionally mandated levels, but increased requirements for advanced biofuels in 2015 and 2016. 

Our position: Americans deserve access to the cleanest possible fuels, but reducing RFS target volumes threatens the future of U.S. ethanol supplies. EPA should protect the RFS’ integrity by maintaining volume requirements for advanced biofuels, and should guard against using the regulatory process to impose anti-competitive requirements on foreign biofuels.

Climate Change and Transportation Emissions

The issue: Brazil and the U.S. must consider transportation sector emissions as negotiators work toward an international climate change agreement at December’s COP21 conference in Paris. The World Energy Council reports fossil fuels currently represent 63 percent of all global emissions, with transportation fuel generating 28 percent of total U.S. emissions and 17 percent total Brazilian emissions.

Transportation emissions aren’t limited to ground transport however, and biofuels must become viable alternatives to aviation fuel. The international aviation industry is committed to growing at a carbon-neutral rate until 2020 then reducing emissions 50 percent by 2050, but biofuel production and consumption must expand to achieve this goal. The U.S. and Brazil have cooperated on technological innovation exchange since 2011, and numerous commercial and military flights have since demonstrated the potential of aviation biofuels.

Our position: Ethanol is arguably the cheapest option available to replace fossil-based transportation fuel at large scale. Some commercial technologies can reach virtually zero emissions, and every gallon of biofuel creates long-term climate benefits and short-term public health benefits. The U.S. and Brazil must work together to develop solutions on a global scale, including incentive policies (tax or environmental) to encourage production and consumption, or private sector cooperation to drive investment and innovation.

Bilateral Cooperation to Benefit Both Countries 

Brazil and the U.S. are proof pragmatic public policy can create economic growth and environmental benefits. Earth has an urgent need for low-carbon, sustainable transportation fuels, and as the two biggest ethanol producers and exporters in the world, our countries have much to share in experience and technology with other nations. 

As the world’s two largest ethanol producers, Brazil and the U.S. have a responsibility to collaboratively build a global biofuels market providing clean, affordable, and sustainable solutions to the planet’s growing energy needs. Brazil’s government and sugarcane ethanol industry are committed to not only expanding the mutually beneficial relationship with America, but to growing the international biofuels market.

UNICA comment on EPA proposed mandates under RFS

By Leticia Phillips posted May 29, 2015
The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (known by the acronym "UNICA") issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's rules proposal for the 2014, 2015, and 2016 Renewable Fuels Standard. It should be attributed to Elizabeth Farina, UNICA President.

The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (known by the acronym "UNICA") issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's rules proposal for the 2014, 2015, and 2016 Renewable Fuels Standard. It should be attributed to Elizabeth Farina, UNICA President.

While UNICA is disappointed that today's Renewable Fuels Standard proposal from the U.S. EPA significantly reduces target volumes for advanced biofuels below Congressionally mandated levels, we are pleased to see growing requirements for advanced biofuels in 2015 and 2016. This leaves the door open for continued American access to sugarcane ethanol, one of the cleanest and most commercially ready advanced biofuels available today. 

EPA identifies Brazilian sugarcane ethanol as an advanced biofuel because it reduces greenhouse gases by more than 60 percent compared to gasoline.  This advanced biofuel from an American ally plays a modest but important role supplying the United States with clean renewable fuel. For the past three years, more than one billion gallons of sugarcane biofuel imported from Brazil flowed into American vehicles. During this time, sugarcane ethanol has comprised only 2 percent of all renewable fuel consumed by Americans, but has provided nearly 15 percent of the U.S. advanced biofuel supply.  

Our association looks forward to commenting on this proposal and will continue to play an active role in the RFS rulemaking process, serving as a source of credible information about the efficiency and sustainability of sugarcane ethanol. Likewise, Brazil will continue to be a strong, dependable partner helping America meet its clean energy goals.

# # #

The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association is the leading trade association for the sugarcane industry in Brazil, representing 60 percent of the country’s sugarcane production and processing.  More information on sugarcane ethanol and its role as an advanced biofuel is available at www.sugarcane.org/rfs

Looking For Sensible RFS Answers In The Halls Of Congress

By Leticia Phillips posted Dec 09, 2014
The advanced biofuels industry may get some answers tomorrow during a House Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care, and Entitlements hearing on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recent decision to not finalize 2014 volume targets under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS).

The advanced biofuels industry may get some answers tomorrow during a House Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care, and Entitlements hearing on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recent decision to not finalize 2014 volume targets under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS).  

Janet McCabe, EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation, is expected to be the sole witness and face questions about EPA’s delay on releasing RFS targets. Unfortunately, the hearing may also call the program itself into question. While several members of the subcommittee, including Chairman James Lankford (R – OK) have criticized the RFS as unworkable and urged its repeal, we hope the hearing sticks to the facts.

The RFS has worked for America, cutting both emissions from vehicle fuels while elevating the United States to become the second-highest exporter in a growing international ethanol market. As we mentioned in our statement on EPA’s decision last month, the RFS has helped lower U.S. emissions through clean renewable fuels – including 435 million gallons of sugarcane ethanol from Brazil in 2013 alone.

While EPA missed a golden opportunity to increase the volume of low-carbon fuels flowing to American drivers by not finalizing the 2014 volume standards, it at least stepped back from proposed cuts to advanced biofuel targets, preserving U.S. advanced biofuel supplies for the time being.

Slashing RFS targets, or scrapping the program altogether, would be a fundamental step backward for America’s renewable energy industry, threaten U.S. access to low-carbon fuel, and run counter to international emissions reduction goals.

During tomorrow’s hearing, we hope to hear clarity on when and how EPA will address the 2014, 2015, and 2016 RFS mandates so Brazil’s sugarcane ethanol producers can ensure a dependable supply of advanced biofuels to America’s drivers – not hyperbole about a program that’s driving economic and environmental benefits.

Our Authors

 

Géraldine Kutas, Head of International Affairs & Senior International Adviser to the President of UNICA Géraldine Kutas
Head of International Affairs & Senior International Adviser to the President

 

Leticia Phillips, Representative-North AmericaLeticia Phillips
Representative, North America

 

Sugarcane Solutions Blog

What’s your first-generation biofuels literacy?

On April 22, we celebrate International Mother Earth Day. Many people want to take action on that occasion by planting a tree or informing themselves on climate change solutions and environmental conservation. However, in today’s era of post-truth politics and information overload, we often struggle to make sound judgements about what is best for the environment and what is agenda-driven rhetoric. Same goes for lawmakers who are in charge of setting the policies that will lead us to a more environmentally friendly economy and lifestyle.

Read on

OLDER POSTS

 
Site Map
About Us Privacy Policy
News