By Ponsi Trivisvavet
President of Syngenta Seeds, LLC
According to the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 34 percent in comparison to gasoline. Moreover, advanced biofuels have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 100 percent.1
July 10th is U.S. Energy Independence Day, a time to celebrate Earth-friendly American ethanol. Since the passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, ethanol has become an important success story and is helping America reduce its dependence on foreign oil, lowering prices at the pump, improving the environment with lower emissions, and growing the economy with jobs that can’t be outsourced. And, from an agricultural perspective, ethanol helps to ensure a more stable corn market and support rural communities.
In recent years, many steps have been taken to increase ethanol’s availability in the U.S. market. Most notable was when the EPA allowed the use of gasoline blends containing as much as 15 percent ethanol in vehicle models from 2001 and newer, which currently accounts for more than 84 percent of all vehicles on the road. And, nearly 20 million vehicles are approved for any blend of ethanol up to 85 percent ethanol. The widespread availability of flex-fuel vehicles – as well as those eligible to use E15 – demonstrates that there is a market ready for a less expensive, higher octane, more environmentally friendly alternative fuel.2
Looking ahead, retail partnerships will be key to expanding the availability for higher ethanol blends. This year, Syngenta is contributing $1 for every acre planted to Enogen®, the industry’s only corn designed specifically to enhance ethanol production, to the Prime the Pump Fund, an industry initiative committed to making that happen. Providing consumers access to higher ethanol blends in a growing number of retail locations, Growth Energy is working with high-volume, progressive-minded retailers to demonstrate the performance, cost savings and profit opportunity of marketing higher ethanol blends, such as E15.
New technologies are also critical to the future of fuel. Specifically, advances in cellulosic technology are helping to make biofuels even more sustainable by enabling the industry to squeeze more ethanol from the same kernel of corn. For example, Cellerate™ process technology, marketed to ethanol plants in North America exclusively by Syngenta, enabled Quad County Corn Processors (QCCP) to produce the first commercial quantities of cellulosic ethanol in the world in 2014, using corn kernel fiber as feedstock. QCCP subsequently achieved EPA certification to generate D3 Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) and has produced more than 4.2 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol, to date, which represents over 80 percent of total U.S. D3 RIN ethanol production in the last three years. The generation of D3 RINs is significant as it helps fulfill advanced and cellulosic requirements set forth by the RFS and demonstrates the viability of cellulosic ethanol.
EPA rulings last November and, most recently, in May regarding renewable fuel volume requirements illustrate the importance of retail partnerships to help grow demand for American ethanol and emerging technologies to help make ethanol even more sustainable. Syngenta believes both are key to the long-term success of the ethanol industry.
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Enogen® and Cellerate™ are registered trademarks of a Syngenta Group Company.
1,2 Growth Energy
Ponsi Trivisvavet is President of Syngenta Seeds, LLC, and is based in Minnetonka, Minn. Prior to joining Syngenta in 2008, Ponsi held positions with McKinsey & Company in the United States, Europe, Middle East, South Africa, and Asia as well as with Merrill Lynch in Asia. She holds a Master of Business Administration with distinction from Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.
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