Those who are against an EPA proposal to cut the amount of renewable fuel required to be used in the country testified before a U.S. Senate panel Tuesday. The director of global business for biorefineries at DuPont, Jan Koninckx, testified that the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is working and should not be modified. “The bottom line here is, driven by the RFS we have completely reinvented how we fuel our vehicles using renewable fuel. And we do so without adding additional CO-2 into the atmosphere,” Koninckx says.
DuPont is building the 30-million gallon capacity cellulosic ethanol plant in the central Iowa town of Nevada. The plant converts the stalks and leaves from the corn plant, know as stover, into ethanol. Another such plant is under construction in Emmetsburg.
Koninckx told the panel the law encouraged the company to invest in a new technology. “We had to unlock the sugars trapped in biomass by chemically convert them into advanced fuel and create an entirely new supply chain,” he says. Koninckx says the company has worked in partnership with the U.S.D.A., scientists and local farmers to convert what had been corn harvest waste into fuel. ” Step by step, with our partners, we knocked out these technical challenges,” Koninckx says.
He and others argue that lowering RFS requirements will hurt rural economies and stymie the growth of the new industry. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is a member of the Senate Ag Committee. Grassley has also expressed concern that reducing RFS mandates will halt the investments in rural Iowa.
Many livestock producers support the EPA’s proposal, hoping it will help keep feed costs lower by reducing demand for corn.