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Sat, Mar 09, 2024

Biden Admin Delays Release of Aviation Fuel Climate Models

Models Need More Tweaking Before Publication

The Biden administration was set to unveil new modeling to gauge the effect of sustainable aviation fuels on the climate, citing disagreements among developers.

The revised model is supposed to help gauge whether corn-based ethanol derivatives will be able to qualify for credits when used in SAF development. The admin had said the corn industry could use the Department of Energy's Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions and Energy Use in Technologies model after suitable revisions to some of its internal modeling. Initially the White House said that it would be published on March 1st, but now that's been pushed back a few weeks.

Rumor has it that those involved with the modeling process can't find common ground regarding the actual impact of corn usage in SAF synthesis. Some believe that it should be weighted with a higher penalty, since carbon generation occurs during the harvesting phase. The ethanol industry wants to see its carbon impact as low as possible in order to get some of those sweet new $1.25-per-gallon tax credits under the Inflation Reduction Act.

In any case, water cooler talk in D.C. says that ethanol in and of itself won't get a blanket acceptance for the SAF tax credit, which would require the industry to spend additional funding on "greening up" its operations via alternative fuels and energy sources throughout the growing and harvesting process. In such a case, there would have to be a certification or inspection pathway to make sure that farms are, at the ground level, actually using the carbon-defraying tech, too.

Whatever the outcome, it's probably going to be kicking for quite some time - The USA is setting ambitious Sustainable Fuel targets that will need all hands on deck in the coming years. As the biggest alt-fuel producer in the US, the ethanol industry probably won't be left out of the picture.

FMI: www.whitehouse.gov

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