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Ethanol Industry Presses for Sustainable Aviation Fuel During Illinois, Minnesota Farm Events

The ethanol industry is renewing its push for sustainable aviation fuel during USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack’s visits to farm events in Illinois and Minnesota.

The Farm Progress Show in Decatur, IL and the Minnesota State Fair are seen as the backdrop this week for the latest push by the ethanol industry to get more corn alcohol into aviation fuel.

Renewable Fuels Association CEO Geoff Cooper, earlier said; “You absolutely can make a carbon-neutral fuel, whether it’s for aviation uses or for motor vehicles, and frankly, we see we see some opportunity for ethanol to play in that aviation space as well, there are some ethanol to jet fuel technologies that are emerging very quickly.”

The energy, transportation agriculture and other departments are working to scale up new technologies to produce Sustainable Aviation Fuel on a commercial basis. Cooper, “If you take and ethanol plant and pair it up with carbon capture and sequestration or replace some of the natural gas usage with biogas, or do some other things, you can get the carbon intensity of that fuel down to zero, or even negative.”

But Cooper says that will take accounting for full well-to-wheel life cycle emissions to maximize tax credits for the fuel–something the Treasury’s now working out, but EPA’s science board seems to be fighting.

Cooper says, “They’re calling for more extensive analysis. And if EPA wants to do more analysis around corn ethanol’s carbon footprint, have at it. Any objective, science-based analysis is going to show that corn ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard do reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Cooper’s group points out the so-called GREET model that measures life cycle emissions is part of the president’s Inflation Reduction Act. Biden vowed recently, farmers would provide 95 percent of Sustainable Aviation Fuel in the next 20-years.

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