EPA closes public comment period on grain sorghum as an advanced biofuel

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



Editor's Note: This story is corrected to reflect the fact that the EPA public comment period is closed, but the agency did not make a final decision regarding grain sorghum as an advanced biofuel under the RFS. 

Globally Positioned Agriculture
WASHINGTON, July 12, 2012 -The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) closed a public comment period regarding grain sorghum as an advanced biofuel under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.

The agency issued a Notice of Data Availability (NODA) to release its lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) analysis of grain sorghum used as a feedstock to produce ethanol under the RFS. The release of the NODA provided the public an opportunity to comment on EPA's analysis. The agency will now consider a final ruling. 

“U.S. farmers can have a tremendous positive impact on the environment by producing advanced biofuel from grain sorghum,” said National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson. “EPA's analysis indicates that utilizing different process energy technology options reduces lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) impacts of ethanol produced from grain sorghum by 53 percent compared to the petroleum baseline."

In 2007, Congress passed the Renewable Fuels Standard 2 (RFS2), which requires the production of 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels by 2022 from both conventional and advanced sources of biofuel.

“Based on our review of the NODA, we support the findings of EPA's analysis which indicates that grain sorghum qualifies as an advanced biofuel,” Johnson said. 

According to the EPA analysis, grain sorghum, when used to make ethanol at facilities that use natural gas, will meet the lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions reduction threshold of 20% required by the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 for conventional renewable fuel. When grain sorghum is used to make ethanol at facilities that use biogas digesters in combination with combined heat and power technology, it will meet the lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions reduction threshold of 50% required by EISA for advanced renewable fuel.

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