OLYMPIA, WASH.—Growth Energy, the nation’s largest biofuels trade association, today urged regulators in Washington state to clarify their definition of “biofuels” under the state’s Cap-and-Invest program in a way that allows them to “maximize the use of bioethanol to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
In a letter to Washington state’s Department of Ecology, Growth Energy Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Chris Bliley highlighted the proven emissions benefits of bioethanol while debunking myths about biofuels and the impact of their production on land use and food prices.
“Today’s bioethanol represents a nearly 50 percent reduction in GHG emissions compared to gasoline. And as readily available technologies such as carbon sequestration and climate-smart agriculture practices are adopted, ethanol can continue to improve toward net zero,” said Bliley. “For instance, by using the latest science on indirect land use change value (ILUC) rather than outdated and flawed data, the impact of ILUC on ethanol’s carbon intensity is closer to 4 gCO2e/MJ.2 This is a nearly 80% reduction from out-of-date models being used.”
Regarding concerns about biofuels’ impact on food production, Bliley noted that “our industry produces both food and fuel, and that the production of bioethanol “results in a wide variety of co-products, perhaps the most significant of which is high-quality animal feed that contributes directly to the production of chicken, beef, pork, and other nutritious food.”
“Specifically, one bushel of corn produces 2.8 gallons of bioethanol as well as 17-18 pounds of distillers dried grains (DDGs), a highly nutritious animal feed. Our industry produces nearly 40 million tons of animal feed per year. That feed is supplied to food producers here in the U.S. and around the world. Additionally, the renewable CO2 from bioethanol production is also critical for meat processing, beverage carbonation, and water treatment,” Bliley added in the letter. “Additionally, as discussed previously relative to land use, farming practices like crop intensification and cover cropping have significantly improved the yield of all crops, further negating the impact of biofuel production on food crops. As the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and numerous others have noted, yields have (and continue to) climbed more than 700 percent while acreage has remained unchanged for the last century.”
Read the full letter here.