Companies Form Association to Deal with Stalled Advancement of Biofuels

Low Carbon Synthetic Fuels Association blames legislative and regulatory inequities that have slowed or even hindered the development of advanced biofuels.

Advanced biofuel producers this week announced the formation of the Low Carbon Synthetic Fuels Association (LCSFA), with members including TRI, Rentech Inc., Velocys, CHOREN, Flambeau River Biofuels/Johnson Timber, AP Fuels and World GTL.

The group said it formed to address existing legislative and regulatory inequities that have slowed or even hindered the development of advanced biofuels. It's the association's view that federal programs have resulted in incentives that do not necessarily promote or reward the best performing and most environmentally friendly fuels.

Specifically, the LCSFA represents the Biomass-to-Liquids (BtL) industry. BtL is produced through the gasification of renewable biomass and the subsequent conversion of the gasified biomass using the Fischer-Tropsch (F-T) synthesis process. The renewable fuels produced are predominantly synthetic diesel and jet fuel, which are nearly identical to current crude oil-derived fuels, although significantly cleaner.

BtL fuels rely on an established synthesis technology (F-T) which can be brought to market quickly, the group points out, unlike many other advanced biofuels, which remain in the research and development or "pre-commercial" stages.

The fuels can be produced from abundant, non-food organic materials such as wood waste from urban recycling programs, paper mills or forestry residues, without increasing land use. Moreover, BtL fuels are fully compatible with the existing fuels infrastructure, enhance engine performance and reduce emissions.

"We look forward to advanced biofuels mandated by Congress that will ensure the safe use and performance of the more than 400 million engine products in use today. LCSFA members may offer a viable solution to achieving national renewable fuel mandates," said Kris Kiser, Executive VP of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute and Spokesperson for AllSAFE, a national manufacturing coalition of major onroad and nonroad engine, vehicle, and equipment manufacturers whose members' products consume gasoline, diesel, and the variety of biofuels that are blended with those conventional fuels.

On September 25, the LCSFA urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in its comments to promote clean, renewable advanced biofuels that improve air quality, reduce GHG emissions, and are compatible with the existing engines, equipment and fuels infrastructure. This week, the EPA will begin considering comments on its "Changes to Renewable Fuel Standard Program" ("RFS2 Proposal").

The LCSFA's comments are endorsed by a range of partners including Auburn University, Audi America, Chemrec AB, Mercedes Benz USA, Pacific Renewable Fuels, Renewable Energy Institute International and Volkswagen.

According to William Guerry, who serves as General Counsel and represents the LCSFA before EPA and other government entities, "Through the implementation of the RFS2, the EPA has the opportunity to avoid picking favorites and move toward a regulatory structure that sets goals and rewards the best technology solutions. This will give fuel producers, marketers and even consumers greater flexibility when deciding how they comply with the new, higher mandates for renewable fuel use."

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