A new report from the Iowa Department of Revenue released last week shows biodiesel sales and use nearly doubled in the state in 2011. The Iowa Biodiesel Board applauded the results, crediting smart energy policy for the growth in the use of this renewable fuel.
The report shows that the total number of pure biodiesel (B100) gallons sold by fuel retailers in Iowa increased from 7.4 million in 2010 to 13.9 million in 2011. This does not include off-road or farm use.
"These numbers show the energy policy put into place at the state and federal levels is moving us in the right direction," says Randy Olson, executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board. "That's almost 14 million gallons of fuel that we didn't have to make from foreign oil, and it translates to millions of dollars that pumped up Iowa jobs instead of going overseas."
Olson credits a combination of the federal biodiesel tax incentive, the federal renewable fuel standard, and state legislation providing infrastructure and incentives to retailers.
In 2011 Iowa produced an impressive 17% of U.S.'s total biodiesel production
Biodiesel blends comprised about 42% of all on-road diesel sold at the retail level in the state in 2011, a sign that the retailer incentive is working as intended, while still leaving room for growth, says Olson. Iowa is home to 13 biodiesel plants. In 2011, the state produced about 175 million gallons of biodiesel, an impressive 17% of the nation's total production.
Biodiesel is a renewable fuel made from agricultural byproducts and co-products, such as soybean oil. The Iowa Biodiesel Board is a state trade association representing the biodiesel industry. For more about biodiesel and the IBB visit www.iowabiodiesel.org.
Soy check off studies cost of losing EU market for biodiesel; if left unresolved EU policy could cost U.S. soybean farmers $1.1 billion per year
In other biodiesel news, the national soybean checkoff has funded a study to look at the cost to U.S. soybean farmers if they lose the European Union market for biodiesel.
The soy checkoff study shows a European Union renewable-energy policy would ultimately cost U.S. soybean farmers money by lowering U.S. soybean prices.
The study, funded by the United Soybean Board (USB), shows the EU's Renewable Energy Directive, which currently excludes biodiesel made from U.S. soybean oil in renewable energy quotas, could decrease U.S. soybean prices by as much as 35 cents per bushel. If left unresolved, the regulation would cost U.S. soybean farmers more than $1.1 billion per year.
European Union's policy unfairly singles out biodiesel made from U.S. soybeans
The checkoff organization contends the policy unfairly singles out biodiesel made from U.S. soy. USB's immediate past chairman Marc Curtis says the checkoff continues to work with the American Soybean Association (ASA) on efforts to gain inclusion for biodiesel made from U.S. soybeans. "The EU is the second-largest market for U.S. soybeans, and that market is at risk due to this regulation," says Curtis, a soybean farmer from Mississippi. "We can use this study to show allied organizations and the U.S. government how much of an impact this regulation would have on U.S. soybean farmers. It will also give the U.S. government facts to demonstrate to the European Commission that the regulation needs to be based on sound science."
ASA continues to work with the U.S. government to reach an agreement with the EU to include biodiesel made from U.S. soy in the policy. Meanwhile, the U.S. government will begin sending certificates with every shipment of U.S. soy to the EU. The certificates will verify U.S. soy complies with U.S. conservation laws and regulations that satisfy the policy's criteria.
Europe's biodiesel regulation would negatively impact price of U.S. soybeans
According to the study, the EU biodiesel regulation would negatively affect the price of U.S. soybeans as well as the cost of shipping U.S. soy to other markets. U.S. soybean farmers currently enjoy a 10-cents-per-bushel advantage over farmers from Brazil and Argentina on soy shipments to Europe, the study shows. However, on shipments to China and India, that shipping advantage over South America drops to less than 3 cents per bushel.
The EU's policy requires all transportation fuels used there to include 10% renewable energy. In order to qualify as a renewable fuel, it must reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 35%. The Europeans claim biodiesel made from U.S. soy reduces GHG emissions by only 31%. Soy-checkoff-funded research shows biodiesel made from U.S. soy reduces GHG emissions by between 39% for U.S. soybeans shipped to and crushed in Europe and 49% for processed U.S. soy biodiesel shipped to Europe. USB has funded efforts to provide this data to key decision makers in the EU and in other parts of the world.
Soybean oil remains the dominant feedstock for biodiesel production in the United States, and the soy checkoff funds most of the U.S. biodiesel research and promotion through the National Biodiesel Board.
The 69 farmer-directors of USB oversee the investments of the soy checkoff to maximize profit opportunities for all U.S. soybean farmers. These volunteers invest and leverage checkoff funds to increase the value of U.S. soy meal and oil, to ensure U.S. soybean farmers and their customers have the freedom and infrastructure to operate, and to meet the needs of U.S. soy's customers. As stipulated in the federal Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soy checkoff.
For more information on the United Soybean Board, visit www.unitedsoybean.org