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RFA Efforts Seek Fair Treatment for Ethanol as SAF Feedstock

August 28, 2023



A major farm show and state fair this week in two Midwest states will provide the backdrop for the Renewable Fuels Association’s latest push to see American-made, lower-carbon ethanol supported as a feedstock for sustainable aviation fuel.


A full-page advertisement in Monday’s St. Paul Pioneer Press welcomes USDA Sec. Tom Vilsack to Minnesota—“Ethanol Country.” Sec. Vilsack is scheduled to visit the Minnesota State Fair today.


“Just last month, President Biden said: ‘Mark my words: In the next 20 years, farmers are going to be providing 95% of all the sustainable airline fuel,’” the ad states. “We agree. U.S. farmers and ethanol producers are up to the challenge … and we're ready to deliver low-carbon aviation fuel.  But to ensure sustainable aviation fuels really take off, we’ll need your continued help and support. Government standards for sustainable aviation fuel must be guided by sound science and current data, not outdated European schemes that disqualify America’s farmers from fulfilling the President’s vision.”


The Department of Treasury is preparing final guidance related to tax credits for SAF under the Inflation Reduction Act, and RFA and its allies (including airlines, SAF producers, farm groups, members of Congress and university researchers) have argued that the Treasury should recognize the Department of Energy’s GREET model as a viable methodology for the purposes of determining SAF carbon intensity (and, thus, tax credit values), as RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper spelled out in a blog post last week.


This topic will be front-and-center for the industry this week at the Minnesota State Fair, as well as at the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Ill., where RFA will be present. Following today’s event in Minnesota, Sec. Vilsack is expected to visit the Farm Progress Show, along with several federal lawmakers and other political officials.