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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE June 5, 2015

Cellulosic Future Murky

By Todd Neeley, DTN  •    •  Posted June 5, 2015

The confusion the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has created on the Renewable Fuel Standard has been enough to force advanced biofuels companies to make decisions they may not have made otherwise. Although these companies remain optimistic about the future of the industry, the expansion of their operations has been slowed in the United States because of RFS doubts, representatives from a number of cellulosic ethanol companies said during a panel discussion Tuesday at the International Fuel Ethanol Workshop in Minneapolis.
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EPA RFS Proposal Public Hearing Details Outlined

By Rachel Gantz, OPIS  •    •  Posted June 5, 2015

The June 25 public hearing was first announced on May 29 when EPA issued its 2014-2016 RFS2 proposal. According to an advanced copy of the Federal Register notice, the public hearing will be held at the Jack Reardon Center, beginning at 9 a.m. CT “and end when all parties present who wish to speak have had an opportunity to do so.” [ read more … ]

Calif. Senate passes climate package aiming for 50% renewable power, halving petroleum use

Anne C. Mulkern, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted June 5, 2015

California’s Senate yesterday accelerated the state’s push for clean energy, passing a bundle of climate bills that aimed to shrink sharply greenhouse gas emissions, increase renewable power to 50 percent of electricity and chop in half petroleum use by 2030. The upper chamber’s set of 12 measures also included one calling for two state pension funds, which are the nation’s largest, to divest from thermal coal. Another bill sought to ramp up transit and inner-city rail. There were multiple measures looking to develop plans to help the state adapt as climate change proceeds. The bills still must pass the state’s Assembly, and similar ones from that chamber must be reconciled with Senate versions. But Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D) cast the effort in momentous terms, calling the climate legislation “the most far-reaching not just in California history, but in U.S. history.” [ read more … ]

Study links soot levels below EPA standards to higher death rate 

Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted June 5, 2015

A Harvard University study published yesterday links airborne soot to higher death rates in people over age 65, even at pollution concentrations below federal standards. Researchers said their study was the first to examine how fine particulate matter (PM2.5) affects a broad population, including people in rural areas. Fine particles are about one-thirtieth the width of human hair. Their results, they said, point to a need for further reducing fine particulate pollution. The study, they added, also shows that improving air quality beyond U.S. EPA standards that were last revised in 2012 could benefit public health. [ read more … ]

Initiative aims to turn forest residues into aviation fuel 

Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted June 5, 2015

Alaska Airlines will partner with a Northwest-based aviation biofuels collaborative with the goal of flying a test flight next year on alternative jet fuel.

The Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance, a five-year initiative that is funded by the Department of Agriculture, is focusing on jet fuel made from forest residues that is often otherwise burned after the timber harvest.

“Developing alternative jet fuel made from forest residuals represents a significant economic challenge with considerable sustainability benefits,” Michael Wolcott, co-director of the initiative, said in a statement.
[ read more … ]

Inside America’s weirdest energy lab 

David Ferris, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted June 5, 2015

Energy is one of his hardest lifts. It’s an axiom in the industry that a new product can succeed only with the vast application of time and money. Otherlab is trying to hack both. On a shoestring annual budget of $12 million, it tries to accelerate the path to a product by making fewer mistakes. Griffith does this by applying extensive scientific rigor to his ideas, and by trying to create prototypes so good that fewer iterations are needed. In attempting to disrupt energy, one of the largest and slowest-moving industries on the planet, Griffith is fiercely committed to keeping Otherlab small, by spinning out its best ideas as fast as possible. [ read more … ]

Note: News clips provided do not necessarily reflect the views of coalition or its member governors.