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  • bluecheese4u bluecheese4u Jul 5, 2013 2:43 PM Flag

    Oil interests continue to worry biofuel proponents

    Oil interests continue to worry biofuel proponents

    by JEFF NATALIE-LEES, aberdeennews
    3:05 a.m. CDT, July 5, 2013

    Conflicts between the ethanol and oil industries have been simmering for years, but the battle is likely to heat up.

    "The year 2013 is going to be a pivotal year," said Matt Merritt, a spokesman for Sioux Falls-based Poet, the largest ethanol producing company in the U.S. "There will be a lot of focus on the Renewable Fuel Standard in Congress."

    The standard requires that more and more ethanol be used nationwide every year until 2022.

    The 2013 amount - 13.8 billion gallons of ethanol - increases to 14.4 billion gallons in 2014 and 15 billion gallons in 2015, according to Renewable Fuels Association website. More dramatically, the total amount of mandated biofuels, including cellulosic ethanol, more than doubles from 16.55 billion gallons in 2013 to 36 billion gallons in 2022.

    In order to reach that level, vehicles are going to need to use higher ethanol blends such as E15, said Kelly Kjelden, general manager at the Poet Biorefining plant in Groton.

    E15 is a 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline mixture, which has been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency for use in cars and light trucks 2001 or newer.

    The biofuels industry won a battle on June 24, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the American Petroleum Institute did not have sufficient grounds to block the use of the E15 fuel blend.

    "This was a big win for the ethanol industry," Kjelden said. "It is one more way E15 has been cleared for public use."

    Merritt said, "The oil industry is opposed to E15. For every gallon of ethanol used, that displaces a gallon of gasoline."

    Nationwide, most fuel stations that sell ethanol blends offer only E10, a mixture of 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gasoline. The 10 percent blend wall needs to go away, said ethanol proponents.

    Attempts to scale back future ethanol benchmarks are, in many ways, an attack on cellulosic ethanol, Merritt

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