Lawmakers introduce legislation to classify corn as an advanced biofuel

NAFB News Service

New legislation introduced Monday in the House of Representatives would allow for ethanol from corn starch to qualify as an advanced biofuel.

The Fuels Parity Act would also require the Environmental Protection Agency to use the Argonne GREET model to determine the greenhouse gas emission profile of biofuels under the RFS.

Corn is currently prohibited from qualifying as an advanced biofuel, even if it can meet the required scientific thresholds, by a provision in the 2007 RFS expansion known as the “corn discrimination clause.”

No other feedstock is limited, only corn starch used for ethanol.

Allowing corn to qualify as an advanced biofuel would incentivize lower emissions from ethanol production and allow corn to access another bucket of the RFS.

If ethanol can meet the scientific thresholds, then it should be allowed to qualify as an advanced biofuel and generate an advanced biofuel RIN, according to lawmakers introducing the legislation.

The National Corn Growers Association supports the Fuels Parity Act.

NCGA President Tom Haag said the legislation “Recognizes the declining carbon intensity of today’s low-carbon ethanol and helps level the playing field.”

Published analysis from the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory concludes corn ethanol’s carbon intensity decreased 23 percent from 2005 to 2019 due to increased corn yield, reduced fertilizer intensity and improved ethanol production efficiency, with corn ethanol now between 44 and 52 percent lower in carbon intensity than the gasoline it replaces.

Argonne’s analysis is consistent with recent research from Environmental Health and Engineering that corn ethanol today is 46 percent lower in carbon intensity than gasoline, with the potential for further reductions from additional corn feedstock and production process improvements.

Under the law, advanced biofuels must deliver a 50 percent or more reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to gasoline, a requirement today’s ethanol now meets.

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