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Aviation industry in crosshairs for next biofuel push

Aviation industry in crosshairs for next biofuel push

“Touting sustainable aviation fuel as a ‘new method’ for reducing transportation carbon emissions ignores the fact that it will unravel decades of existing carbon reductions in over-the-road transportation and increase fuel prices for commercial fleets,” said the National Association of Truck. Stop Operators, a trucking industry representative, in a statement. “In fact, renewable jet fuel production is simply designed to displace existing and future, less expensive renewable diesel production.”

Tax credit boost

Cooper said that the SAF industry has some positive signs. The tax credit has been a huge boon for the SAF industry, he said, and new technologies have emerged in the past year that provide new feedstocks for SAF. For example, companies like Honeywell have developed a way to further process ethanol, a popular starch-based biofuel, into jet fuel, which opens up the SAF industry to hundreds of existing bio-refineries and provides for a feedstock other than lipids.

Alder Fuels of Washington, DC, a producer of “green crude,” is also working with Honeywell to use feedstocks like regenerative grasses and forest and agricultural residues. With a more diverse range of feedstocks, the Energy Department projects the industry would be able to produce 50 billion to 60 billion gallons per year with biomass like corn, grain, algae, agricultural and forestry residues and municipal solid waste streams.

Congress seems eager to move ahead on aviation biofuels, including some lawmakers who have been reluctant to back energy transition fuels.

Congress has long fought over what to do about biofuels, which has caused a regional split over how much biofuel, like ethanol, to blend into gasoline under the renewable fuel standard. Lawmakers from Midwestern states that produce key crops like corn and sugarcane used to make ethanol have long supported increased biofuel blends.

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