Ethanol Blog

Biofuels Group Questions Brazil's US Corn-Based Ethanol Carbon Calculation

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Staff Reporter
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The Brazilian government's emissions reduction program will require an expanded use of biofuels, and one biofuels interest group in the United States is pressing the nation to make sure those standards will be fair for imported corn-based ethanol.

The Renewable Fuels Association this week submitted comments on Brazil's RenovaBio program approved in December 2017. That program requires the average carbon intensity of gasoline to be reduced by 10.1% by 2028. The Brazilian government is seeking public comment on the proposed annual emissions reduction targets.

The RFA said in its comments it is important for Brazil to set the carbon intensity of fuels correctly, in order to expand biofuels trade between the two nations.

In comments to Brazil's Ministry of Mines and Energy, RFA President and Chief Executive Officer Bob Dinneen said Brazil must follow science in setting the carbon intensity.

"Given that many of our member companies produce ethanol that is exported to Brazil, the pathway for imported corn ethanol is of particular interest to RFA," Dinneen writes. "It is imperative that the CI scoring of biofuel pathways under RenovaBio is conducted in an accurate, transparent and science-based manner."

RFA said Brazil's efforts to develop and refine the tool used to determine carbon intensity, but questioned why there appears to be a wide discrepancy between the carbon intensity of imported corn ethanol and corn ethanol produced in Brazil.

Currently, the Brazilians calculate that imported corn ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50% compared to Brazilian gasoline. However, Brazil-produced corn ethanol is found to reduce GHG emissions by 70%.

With certain further refinements, RFA said it believes the calculator can provide both regulators and regulated entities with reliable estimates of the CI associated with various fuel pathways.

"RenovaBio's program will likely encourage significant growth in biofuels consumption in Brazil; thus, we believe the program's methodology for estimating carbon intensity must correctly reflect the emissions impacts of U.S.-produced corn ethanol, the lowest cost, lowest carbon fuel on the global market," Dinneen said in the comments.

"Last year, Brazil was the top U.S. ethanol export market. If current trade barriers are resolved, we expect that implementation of RenovaBio could provide additional opportunities for biofuel trade with Brazil. If done incorrectly, however, it could also result in another non-tariff barrier to U.S. ethanol. We look forward to working with the Brazilian government and industry to ensure the benefits of all biofuels are properly recognized both in RenovaBio and in transportation-climate policies worldwide."

Read RFA's comments here: http://www.ethanolrfa.org/…

Todd Neeley can be reached at todd.neeley@dtn.com

Follow me on Twitter @toddneeleyDTN

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