Syngenta Hosts Future of Fuel Discussion

Syngenta biofuels forum cites retail partnerships and new technologies as keys to industry success.

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Jack Bernens, Syngenta; Delayne Johnson, Quad County Corn Processors; and Kelly Manning, Growth Energy; discuss the future of fuel at Commodity Classic.

Earlier this year, Syngenta hosted an industry conversation on ethanol and the future of fuel at Commodity Classic in New Orleans. The event brought together industry leaders who discussed opportunities to grow demand for American ethanol in the wake of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2015 ruling on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

Generating Sustainable Success

Moderator Chris Tingle, head of Enogen® commercial operations at Syngenta, opened the discussion with a look back at why the RFS was established in the first place and how valuable ethanol is to the U.S. economy.

“Congress established the Renewable Fuel Standard in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and expand the nation’s renewable fuels sector, while reducing reliance on imported oil,” he said. “In 2014 alone, the ethanol industry created and supported nearly 400,000 new jobs across the country, while contributing nearly $53 billion to the Gross Domestic Product and generating more than $5.7 billion in federal tax revenues.”1

Last November, the EPA finalized the volume requirements and associated percentage standards under the RFS program in calendar years 2014, 2015 and 2016 for cellulosic biofuel, biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuel and total renewable fuel. According to panelist Kelly Manning, vice president of development for Growth Energy, the EPA ruling makes retail partnerships more important than ever as a strategy for growing demand for American ethanol.

“American ethanol has become an important success story,” Manning said. “For our industry to enjoy sustainable success, however, there needs to be an increase in ethanol demand.”

Pumping Up Infrastructure

In recent years, the EPA has taken steps to increase ethanol’s availability in the U.S. market. Most notable was when the agency allowed the use of gasoline blends containing as much as 15 percent ethanol in vehicle models from 2001 and newer.

“Looking ahead, retail partnerships like the Prime the Pump Fund will be key to expanding the availability for higher ethanol blends and growing demand for earth-friendly American ethanol,” Manning said.

Prime the Pump is an ethanol industry initiative created to help early retail adopters of high-level ethanol blends, such as E15, by awarding grants to reduce their initial investment in infrastructure. Last year, Syngenta announced that it would donate approximately $600,000 to the fund—part of the company’s commitment begun in 2013 to contribute $1 to the ethanol industry for every acre planted with Enogen corn enzyme technology.

Sustainable Production Key to Future

In addition to retail partnerships, new technologies are also critical to the future of fuel. Specifically, advances in cellulosic technology are helping to make biofuels more sustainable and produce more ethanol from the same bushel of corn.

Quad County Corn Processors (QCCP), based in Galva, Iowa, achieved EPA certification in 2014 to generate D3 Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) for cellulosic ethanol using Cellerate process technology. A D3 RIN is a serial number assigned to a batch of renewable cellulosic biofuel for the purpose of tracking its production, use and trading as required by the RFS. Cellerate is a collaboration between Syngenta and Cellulosic Ethanol Technologies, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of QCCP.

“With Cellerate, the biofuels industry now has the technology available to create 2 billion gallons of additional cellulosic ethanol—all from the same kernel of corn,” Johnson said in New Orleans. “QCCP is proud to be one of the first companies to issue D3 RINs. We look forward to higher D3 RIN requirements as new production comes on.”

Ethanol is making a significant contribution to the U.S. economy by not only helping to drive down gasoline prices for consumers, but also by reducing carbon emissions for a cleaner environment.

“Syngenta recognizes the importance of retail partnerships to help grow demand for American ethanol and initiatives to help make cellulosic ethanol a reality,” said Jack Bernens, head of Enogen at Syngenta, who also participated in the forum. “We believe both are key to the long-term success of the ethanol industry.”

1 Growth Energy,