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Recent Reports & Policy Briefs

Comments to the Canadian Department of Transport on Rail Issues

Author: Growth Energy | Posted: September 01, 2014
Descriptions: Growth Energy and its members fully support and continue to advocate for the continued safe transport of ethanol by rail. The overwhelming majority of ethanol shipments continue to be made safely and without incident each and every day, and we believe that additional data and analysis needs to be done on many of these potential modifications before committing to extensive changes to the existing rail infrastructure. Growth Energy appreciates the opportunity to provide comments and is hopeful that this informal comment process provides for significant additional analysis that will address some of the root causes and solutions to derailments, not only modifications to tank cars, but operational issues like track inspection as well.

Long-Term Drivers of Food Prices

Author: John Baffes and Allen Dennis: The World Bank | Posted: May 21, 2013
Descriptions: Published by The World Bank Development Prospects Group & Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network Trade Department, this report examines the long term drivers of food prices. It is becoming increasingly apparent that the post- 2004, across-the-board, commodity price increases, which initially appeared to be a spike similar to the ones experienced during the early 1950s (Korean War) and the 1970s (oil crises), have a more permanent character. From 1997–2004 to 2005–12 nominal prices of energy, fertilizers, and precious metals tripled, metal prices went up by more than 150 percent, and most food prices doubled. Such price increases, especially in food commodities, not only fueled a debate on their key causes, but also alarmed government officials, leading to calls for coordinated policy actions. This paper examines the relative contribution of various sector and macroeconomic drivers to price changes of five food commodities (maize, wheat, rice, soybeans, and palm oil) by applying a reduced-form econometric model on 1960–2012 annual data. The drivers include stock-to-use ratios, crude oil and manufacturing prices, the United States dollar exchange rate, interest rate, and income. Based on long-run elasticity estimates (approximately −0.25 for the stock-to-use ratios, 0.25 for the oil price, −1.25 for the exchange rate, and much less for others), the paper estimates the contribution of these drivers to food price increases from 1997–2004 to 2005–12. It concludes that most of the price increases are accounted for by crude oil prices (more than 50 percent), followed by stock-to-use ratios and exchange rate movements, which are estimated at about 15 percent each. Crude oil prices mattered most during the recent boom period because they experienced the largest increase.

Ethanol’s Potential Contribution to Canada’s Transportation Sector

Author: The Conference Board of Canada | Posted: November 07, 2011
Descriptions: Ethanol can contribute to reducing Canada’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Government support has been offered based on GHG reductions, agricultural benefits, and energy diversity. Ethanol reduces GHG emissions relative to gasoline by between 40 and 62 per cent, depending on agricultural practices and production technologies. Historically, ethanol demand for corn and wheat in Canada has caused no increases in cropped areas or land-use changes. The impact of ethanol feedstock demand in North America has put little pressure on crop prices. Next-generation technologies, high-blend infrastructure, flex-fuel vehicles, and supporting policies could extend the role ethanol plays in Canada’s transportation markets.

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Comments to the Canadian Department of Transport on Rail Issues

Author: Growth Energy
Posted: September 01, 2014
Descriptions: Growth Energy and its members fully support and continue to advocate for the continued safe transport of ethanol by rail. The overwhelming majority of ethanol shipments continue to be made safely and without incident each and every day, and we believe that additional data and analysis needs to be done on many of these potential modifications before committing to extensive changes to the existing rail infrastructure. Growth Energy appreciates the opportunity to provide comments and is hopeful that this informal comment process provides for significant additional analysis that will address some of the root causes and solutions to derailments, not only modifications to tank cars, but operational issues like track inspection as well.

comments, rail, canada, shipments

Long-Term Drivers of Food Prices

Author: John Baffes and Allen Dennis: The World Bank
Posted: May 21, 2013
Descriptions: Published by The World Bank Development Prospects Group & Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network Trade Department, this report examines the long term drivers of food prices. It is becoming increasingly apparent that the post- 2004, across-the-board, commodity price increases, which initially appeared to be a spike similar to the ones experienced during the early 1950s (Korean War) and the 1970s (oil crises), have a more permanent character. From 1997–2004 to 2005–12 nominal prices of energy, fertilizers, and precious metals tripled, metal prices went up by more than 150 percent, and most food prices doubled. Such price increases, especially in food commodities, not only fueled a debate on their key causes, but also alarmed government officials, leading to calls for coordinated policy actions. This paper examines the relative contribution of various sector and macroeconomic drivers to price changes of five food commodities (maize, wheat, rice, soybeans, and palm oil) by applying a reduced-form econometric model on 1960–2012 annual data. The drivers include stock-to-use ratios, crude oil and manufacturing prices, the United States dollar exchange rate, interest rate, and income. Based on long-run elasticity estimates (approximately −0.25 for the stock-to-use ratios, 0.25 for the oil price, −1.25 for the exchange rate, and much less for others), the paper estimates the contribution of these drivers to food price increases from 1997–2004 to 2005–12. It concludes that most of the price increases are accounted for by crude oil prices (more than 50 percent), followed by stock-to-use ratios and exchange rate movements, which are estimated at about 15 percent each. Crude oil prices mattered most during the recent boom period because they experienced the largest increase.

food vs fuel,

Ethanol’s Potential Contribution to Canada’s Transportation Sector

Author: The Conference Board of Canada
Posted: November 07, 2011
Descriptions: Ethanol can contribute to reducing Canada’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Government support has been offered based on GHG reductions, agricultural benefits, and energy diversity. Ethanol reduces GHG emissions relative to gasoline by between 40 and 62 per cent, depending on agricultural practices and production technologies. Historically, ethanol demand for corn and wheat in Canada has caused no increases in cropped areas or land-use changes. The impact of ethanol feedstock demand in North America has put little pressure on crop prices. Next-generation technologies, high-blend infrastructure, flex-fuel vehicles, and supporting policies could extend the role ethanol plays in Canada’s transportation markets.

transportation fuels, ghg, emissions, iluc, food vs fuel, food v fuel,

Ethanol: A Major Producer of Animal Feed

Author: Growth Energy
Posted: October 10, 2011
Descriptions: One third of corn used in ethanol production goes directly back into the food chain in the form of nutrient-dense distillers grains. As either Dried Distillers Grains with Solubles (DDGS) or as Wet Distillers Grains (WDG), this animal feed saves animal producers money. Industry estimates put distillers grains savings at 25 percent compared to corn used as feed. The only part of the corn kernel removed in ethanol production is the starch, leaving the proteins, oils and fiber behind as feed. Today, distillers grains are a major source of feed in the United States.

food vs fuel, livestock, ddgs, feed, profits, market speculation

One Million Competition Miles on Sunoco Green E15

Author: NASCAR
Posted: September 15, 2011
Descriptions: Since NASCAR’s switch at the Daytona 500 kickoff of the 2011 racing season, competitors in the motorsport’s three major national racing series—NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series, and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series—have reached more than one million miles in race, practice and qualifying on the new 15-percent ethanol blend fuel Sunoco Green E15. NASCAR officially hit the one million mile mark with the new fuel at Watkins Glen International Speedway in mid-August 2011.

nascar, e15, sunoco, green, food vs fuel, mileage, epa

Indirect land use change for biofuels: Testing predictions and improving analytical methodologies

Author: Seungdo Kim and Bruce E. Dale
Posted: May 16, 2011
Descriptions:

Current practices for estimating indirect land use change (iLUC) due to United States biofuel production rely on assumption-heavy, global economic modeling approaches. Prior iLUC studies have failed to compare their predictions to past global historical data. An empirical approach is used to detect evidence for iLUC that might be catalyzed by United States biofuel production through a “bottom-up”, data-driven, statistical approach. Results show that biofuel production in the United States from 2002 to 2007 is not significantly correlated with changes in croplands for corn (coarse grain) plus soybean in regions of the world which are corn (coarse grain) and soybean trading partners of the United States. The results may be interpreted in at least two different ways: 1) biofuel production in the United States through 2007 (the last date for which information is available) probably has not induced any indirect land use change, and 2) this empirical approach may not be sensitive enough to detect indirect land use change from the historical data. It seems clear that additional effort may be required to develop methodologies to observe indirect land use change from the historical data. Such efforts might reduce uncertainties in indirect land use change estimates or perhaps form the basis for better policies or standards for biofuels.

HIGHLIGHTS
– We search for evidence for ILUC due to US biofuel from the historical data.
– No significant correlations are found between US biofuel production and cropland changes elsewhere.
– US biofuel through 2007 probably did not induce ILUC or.
– This empirical approach using historical data is not capable of detecting ILUC.
– More sophisticated methodologies to detect ILUC from empirical data are needed.

Corn; Biofuel; Historical data; Indirect land use change; Renewable energy policy; Soybean

Food vs. Fuel Fallacies

Author: Growth Energy
Posted: April 12, 2011
Descriptions:

Three years ago, global food companies waged a deep-pocketed smear campaign against American ethanol. At the heart of their propaganda was the claim that ethanol was to blame for higher food prices (see news story from Roll Call)

Since then, a series of credible government and academic studies have proven that ethanol’s use of grain has, at best, a minimal impact on grocery prices. Because of oil’s influence over the cost of packaging, marketing and transportation, the greatest driver of grocery prices is oil. When oil prices go up, so do grocery bills.

But, as this report by Growth Energy found, the profits of grocery manufacturers went up along with those checkout counter tallies. Specifically, record profits were seen by members of two major industry groups — the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and the American Meat Institute (AMI).

What lawmakers, the press and the public deserve to know is that these companies are raking in record profits at the same time they are perpetuating the Big Lie that ethanol increases grocery store prices. It is time to set the record straight.

food vs fuel, iluc, corn, farming capacity, production, grain supplies, ddgs

Investigation of Knock Limited Compression Ratio of Ethanol Gasoline Blends

Author: James Szybist - Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Matthew Foster - Delphi Powertrain Systems; Wayne R. Moore - Delphi Powertrain Systems; Keith Confer - Delphi Powertrain Systems; Adam Youngquist - Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Robert Wagner - Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Posted: April 12, 2011
Descriptions:

Ethanol offers significant potential for increasing the compression ratio of SI engines resulting from its high octane number and high latent heat of vaporization. A study was conducted to determine the knock limited compression ratio of ethanol - gasoline blends to identify the potential for improved operating efficiency. To operate an SI engine in a flex fuel vehicle requires operating strategies that allow operation on a broad range of fuels from gasoline to E85. Since gasoline or low ethanol blend operation is inherently limited by knock at high loads, strategies must be identified which allow operation on these fuels with minimal fuel economy or power density tradeoffs.

Paper Presented At: SAE 2010 World Congress & Exhibition, 2010-04-13, Detroit, Michigan, United States

A single cylinder direct injection spark ignited engine with fully variable hydraulic valve actuation (HVA) is operated at WOT and other high-load conditions to determine the knock limited compression ratio (CR) of ethanol fuel blends. The geometric CR is varied by changing pistons, producing CR from 9.2 to 12.87. The effective CR is varied using an electro-hydraulic valvetrain that changed the effective trapped displacement using both Early Intake Valve Closing (EIVC) and Late Intake Valve Closing (LIVC). The EIVC and LIVC strategies result in effective CR being reduced while maintaining the geometric expansion ratio.

It was found that at substantially similar engine conditions, increasing the ethanol content of the fuel results in higher engine efficiency and higher engine power. These results can be partially attributed to a charge cooling effect and a higher heating value of a stoichiometric mixture for ethanol blends (per unit mass of air). Additional thermodynamic effects on the ratio of specific heats (γ) and a mole multiplier are also explored.

It was also found that high CR can increase the efficiency of ethanol fuel blends, and as a result, the fuel economy penalty associated with the lower energy content of E85 can be reduced by about twenty percent. Such operation necessitates that the engine be operated in a de-rated manner for gasoline, which is knock-prone at these high CR, in order to maintain compatibility. By using early and late intake valve closing strategies, good efficiency is maintained with gasoline, but peak power is about 33% lower than with E85.

Spark ignition gasoline engines

Ten reasons why it’s different this time

Author: Bruce E. Dale
Posted: April 07, 2011
Descriptions: Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining (Volume 4, Issue 1, pages 1–3, January/February 2010): During a recent workshop on biofuels, I was asked the question: ‘Why is it different this time; why is there any reason to believe that the current interest in biofuels won’t just disappear as it has before?’ It is an excellent question and deserves a better answer than I was able to give then on the spur of the moment. Here are 10 reasons, some overlapping, why it’s different this time.

reason biofuels argument

Biofuels Done Right: Land Efficient Animal Feeds Enable Large Environmental and Energy Benefits

Author: Bruce E. Dale, Bryan D. Bals, Seungdo Kim, and Pragnya Eranki
Posted: April 07, 2011
Descriptions: Environ. Sci. Technol., 2010, 44 (22), pp 8385–8389: There is an intense ongoing debate regarding the potential scale of biofuel production without creating adverse effects on food supply. We explore the possibility of three land-efficient technologies for producing food (actually animal feed), including leaf protein concentrates, pretreated forages, and double crops to increase the total amount of plant biomass available for biofuels. Using less than 30% of total U.S. cropland, pasture, and range, 400 billion liters of ethanol can be produced annually without decreasing domestic food production or agricultural exports. This approach also reduces U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 670 Tg CO2-equivalent per year, or over 10% of total U.S. annual emissions, while increasing soil fertility and promoting biodiversity. Thus we can replace a large fraction of U.S. petroleum consumption without indirect land use change.

animal feed, ddg, food vs fuel

Ethanol—the primary renewable liquid fuel

Author: Rathin Datta, Mark A. Maher, Coleman Jones, Richard W. Brinker
Posted: April 05, 2011
Descriptions: From the Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology, this perspective paper establishes that ethanol has a long history of very good performance as a renewable liquid fuel blended with gasoline and can be used in over 80% of the automobile and other light duty transportation vehicles. It fits very well into the future of the combination of electricity and renewable liquid fuel for such transportation. It has also been established that renewable biomass feedstock is highly oxygenated and ethanol can be produced with high yields and efficiency with some conversion technologies—particularly the ‘Hybrid’ of gasification with bioconversion—that have been developed to the commercial implementation stage. Recent major studies conducted by the USDA, DOE and major National Laboratories have projected that large and sustainable biomass feedstock supplies are available and are going to be available to efficiently produce this ethanol in very large quantities of around 340 billion liters per year in the USA. The experience gained over the past 70 years in the south-eastern USA has been summarized to further support the fact that efficient and sustainable biomass supply can be developed and maintained to support much increased usage. Copyright © 2011 Society of Chemical Industry

Biofuel;biomass;bioprocesses;energy;green chemistry;industrial biotechnology

United States cost of military force projection in the Persian Gulf, 1976–2007

Author: Roger J. Stern, Princeton University
Posted: March 31, 2011
Descriptions: This paper presents the first estimate of United States military cost for Persian Gulf force (CPGfp) derived entirely by a quantitative method. An activity-based cost (ABC) model uses geographic distribution of aircraft carriers as a proxy allocator of Department of Defense (DoD) baseline cost to regional operations. Allocation follows simply from DoD data that since 1990 no less than one aircraft carrier has been continuously on-station in the Persian Gulf; that eight are required to keep one on-station there; that the Navy has had eleven–fifteen carriers since 1990; and that Army and Air Force units are virtually never deployed to combat operations without Navy units. For 1976–2007 CPGfp is estimated to be $6.8×1012 and for 2007 $0.5×1012 (2008$). This substantial military investment is not a remedy for the market failure at the heart of regional security problem, which is oil market power. When CPGfp is added to economic losses attributed to market power in another recent study (Greene, 2010), the severity of this market failure becomes more apparent. PDF available at Princeton University.

Energy security, National security, ABC, activity-based costing; CENTCOM, Central Command (Persian Gulf & Southwest Asia); CVN, aircraft carrier; EUCOM, European Command (Northeast Atlantic & Mediterranean); fp, force projection; DoD, Department of Defense; DoT, Department of Treasury; PACCOM, Pacific Command; PGfp, Persian Gulf force projection; RCC, regional combatant command

Comments on EPA’s “Biofuels and the Environment: First Triennial Report to Congress”

Author: Growth Energy
Posted: February 28, 2011
Descriptions: Comments of Growth Energy in response to a 30-day public comment period for the draft document “Biofuels and the Environment: First Triennial Report to Congress” Published at Vol. 76, No. 19, Pg. 5,154 (January 28, 2011) Docket ID No. EPA–HQ–ORD–2010–1077

EPA, life-cycle analysis

The Role of Modeling Assumptions and Policy Instruments on U.S. Biofuel Policies

Author: Gbadebo Oladosu & Keith Kline – Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Posted: February 24, 2011
Descriptions:

Full Title: The Role of Modeling Assumptions and Policy Instruments in Evaluating the Global Implications of U.S. Biofuel Policies

Presented at the 33rd IAEE International Conference "The Future of Energy: Global Challenges, Diverse Solutions" Rio de Janeiro, Brazil June 6-9, 2010

A primary objective of current U.S. biofuel law – the “Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007” (EISA) – is to reduce dependence on imported oil, but the law also requires biofuels to meet carbon emission reduction thresholds relative to petroleum fuels. EISA created a renewable fuel standard with annual targets for U.S. biofuel use that climb gradually from 9 billion gallons per year in 2008 to 36 billion gallons (or about 136 billion liters) of biofuels per year by 2022. The most controversial aspects of U.S. biofuel policy have centered on the global social and environmental implications of land use. In particular, there is an ongoing debate about whether “indirect land use change” (ILUC) would cause biofuels to become a net source, rather than sink, of carbon emissions. Estimates of ILUC induced by biofuel production can only be inferred through modeling. This paper evaluates how model structure, underlying assumptions, and the representation of policy instruments influence the results of U.S. biofuel policy simulations. The analysis shows that differences in these factors can lead to divergent model estimates of land use and economic effects. Model estimates of the net conversion of forests and grasslands induced by U.S. biofuel policy range from 0.09 ha/1000 gallons described in this paper to 0.73 ha/1000 gallons from early studies in the ILUC change debate. We note that several important factors governing LUC change remain to be examined. Challenges that must be addressed to improve global land use change modeling are highlighted.

ILUC, Indirect Land Use Change, biofuels

Plant the Seed of Truth

Author: Growth Energy
Posted: November 17, 2010
Descriptions: Too often, special corporate interests work on behalf of profit instead of America’s broader interests. In the case of American ethanol, global oil and food companies, in conjunction with misguided fringe groups, have waged a deep-pocketed campaign of misinformation. At the heart of that propaganda campaign (see news story from Roll Call) five myths about ethanol. In this document you will find the truth, to help you sort out fact from fiction.

food vs fuel, big food, big oil

Beating Up on Ethanol

Author: Anna Palmer / Roll Call
Posted: November 17, 2010
Descriptions: Rising food and fuel prices have led the biofuel industry to take a beating on Capitol Hill the past few weeks. But the pummeling hasn’t been by chance — it’s part of a concerted effort spearheaded by the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Glover Park Group.

food vs fuel, gma, grocery manufacturers association, gpg, glover park group

Growth Energy Ethanol Policy Brief 2010 Update 11/10

Author: Growth Energy
Posted: November 16, 2010
Descriptions: This briefing paper is designed to give an overview of the role ethanol plays in achieving the goals laid out by President Obama to expand the use of renewable energy, while reducing our dependence on foreign oil and addressing the serious challenge of climate change. Sources updated November 2010.

ethanol, policy, brief, backgrounder, information, basic, learn

Decomposition Analysis of U.S. Corn Use for Ethanol Production from 2001-2008

Author: U.S. Department of Energy / Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Posted: October 20, 2010
Descriptions:

A report prepared for the California Air Resources Board by a team of scientists at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory found corn ethanol contributed “minimal to zero” impact from the Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) scheme. The report was compiled by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge lab at the request of CARB, which has appointed several teams of expert working groups to assess the methodology and data that went into California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard. That standard used a controversial ILUC formula which heavily penalized American grain farmers for carbon emissions theoretically produced by farmers overseas.

Read Growth Energy's statement to the press about this presentation.

ILUC, CARB, California Air Resources Board, Low Carbon Fuel Standard, Sacramento

The Health Benefits of Ethanol

Author: C. Boyden Gray
Posted: September 29, 2010
Descriptions: The most important attribute of ethanol and the reason it is blended in nearly 10% of all gasoline—it saves tens of thou- sands of lives annually—has gone completely unnoticed. It is critically important to set the record straight, for a whole host of reasons ranging from energy security to public health to deficit spending and finally, to new jobs. The health benefit stems from alcohol’s high octane value. Cars have to have high octane gasoline to avoid something called “engine knock” that today’s drivers escape, but that seriously jeopardized driving early last century. Charles Kettering, the famed GM scientist and inventor, discovered lead as a high octane antiknock agent almost 100 years ago and helped set off the automobile boom as a result. But lead turned out to be highly toxic and had to be removed from gasoline during the early Reagan years.

ethanol, health benefits, reagan, public health, leaded gasoline, mtbe, aromatics, btx, benzene, toluene, xylene, toxic, pollution

Global Agricultural Supply and Demand: Factors Contributing to the Recent Increase in Food Commodity

Author: USDA
Posted: September 20, 2010
Descriptions: World market prices for major food commodities such as grains and vegetable oils have risen sharply to historic highs of more than 60 percent above levels just 2 years ago. Many factors have contributed to the runup in food commodity prices. Some factors reflect trends of slower growth in production and more rapid growth in demand, which have contributed to a tightening of world balances of grains and oilseeds over the last decade. Recent factors that have further tightened world markets include increased global demand for biofuels feedstocks and adverse weather conditions in 2006 and 2007 in some major grain and oilseed producing areas. Other factors that have added to global food commodity price inflation include the declining value of the U.S. dollar, rising energy prices, increasing agricultural costs of production, growing foreign exchange holdings by major food importing countries, and policies adopted recently by some exporting and importing countries to mitigate their own food price inflation. Published: May 2008 (Revised July 2008)

agricultural prices, food prices, prices, supply, demand, global supply, global demand, ERS, USDA, food vs fuel

The 2007/08 Agricultural Price Spikes: Causes and Policy Implications

Author: Global Foods Market Group (UK Government)
Posted: September 20, 2010
Descriptions: A UK Government report analysing the price spikes for agricultural commodities in 2007/08, concludes that these were exacerbated by poorly performing markets. Uncertainties surrounding projected global stocks and the size of 2008 crop harvests combined with increasing energy prices and a weak US dollar, pushed up the price of wheat, maize, rice and other agricultural commodities in 2007 and 2008. The price spikes had a significant effect on the poorest households in the developing world, triggering an increase in the number of hungry people from 800 million to 1.02 billion. Published: Jan 22, 2010

food vs fuel, commodities pricing, food prices, global markets

Statement of Joseph Glauber Before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

Author: Joseph Glauber
Posted: September 20, 2010
Descriptions: Glauber discusses the effects of the expansion in biofuels production in the U.S. on commodity markets and food prices here and abroad. In the United States, two commodities, corn and soybean oil account for over 90 percent of biofuels production. From April 2007 through April 2008, corn and soybean prices rose by over 50 percent in response to a variety of factors, including domestic and global economic growth; global weather; rising input costs for energy; international export restrictions; and new product markets, particularly biofuels. Over the same period, global food commodity prices as measured by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) rose by over 45 percent and retail food prices in the U.S. increased by more than 5 percent. I will describe the factors affecting farm commodity prices and the effects of biofuels production on commodity prices, global food prices, and retail food prices in the United States. Published: June 12, 2008

senate, food vs fuel, grocery, food pricing, prices, commodities

What’s Driving Food Prices? – Update 2009

Author: Farm Foundation
Posted: September 20, 2010
Descriptions: In 2008, Farm Foundation commissioned three Purdue University economists to write the report, What’s Driving Food Prices? Released in July 2008, the report had two purposes: to review recent studies on the world food crisis, and to identify the primary drivers of food prices. The economists, Phil Abbott, Chris Hurt and Wally Tyner, identified three major drivers of food prices: world agricultural commodity consumption growth exceeding production growth, leading to very low commodity inventories; the low value of the U.S. dollar; and the new linkage of energy and agricultural markets. Each was a primary contributor to tightening world grain and oilseeds stocks. Between spring 2008 and February 2009, each of these driving forces reversed direction. A world financial crisis put the brakes on world income growth. Global crop production returned to more favorable levels for both the 2007/2008 and the 2008/2009 crops, as both production area and yields increased. After July 2008, the exchange rate of the U.S. dollar appreciated by as much as 22% against major currencies. Energy prices collapsed, influenced by changes in income and exchange rates. Lower energy prices constrained the economics of ethanol, contributing to weaker commodity prices. Published: March 2009

food vs fuel, commodities, pricing, food prices, grocery

What’s Driving Food Prices?

Author: Farm Foundation
Posted: September 20, 2010
Descriptions: As is true of many issues in the food system, the full story behind rapid increases in food prices is not a simple one. Today’s food price levels are the result of complex interactions among multiple factors—including crude oil prices, exchange rates, growing demand for food and slowing growth in agricultural productivity—as well as the agricultural, energy and trade policy choices made by nations of the world. But one simple fact stands out: economic growth and rising human aspirations are putting ever greater pressure on the global resource base. The difficult challenge for public and private leaders is to identify policy choices that help the world deal with the very real problems created by today’s rising food prices without jeopardizing aspirations for the future. It is the intent of Farm Foundation that the objective information provided in this report will help all stakeholders meet the challenge to address one of the most critical public policy issues facing the world today. Published: March 2008

food vs fuel, commodities, pricing, food prices, grocery

The Impact of Ethanol Use on Food Prices and Greenhouse-Gas Emissions

Author: Congressional Budget Office
Posted: September 20, 2010
Descriptions: The production and use of ethanol in the United States have been steadily increasing since 2001, boosted in part by long-standing production subsidies. That growth has exerted upward pressure on the price of corn and, ultimately, on the retail price of food, affecting both individual consumers and federal expenditures on nutritional support programs. It has also raised questions about the environmental consequences of replacing gasoline with ethanol. This Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis, which was prepared at the request of Representatives Ron Kind, Rosa DeLauro, and James McGovern, examines the relationship between increasing production of ethanol and rising prices for food. In particular, CBO esti- mated how much of the rise in food prices between April 2007 and April 2008 was due to an increase in the production of ethanol and how much that increase in prices might raise federal expenditures on food assistance programs. CBO also examined how much the increased use of ethanol might lower emissions of greenhouse gases. In keeping with CBO’s mandate to pro- vide objective, impartial analysis, the report contains no recommendations. Published: April 2009

food vs fuel, commodities, pricing, food prices

Policy Research Working Paper (5371): Placing the 2006/08 Commodity Price Boom into Perspective

Author: The World Bank Development Prospects Group
Posted: August 03, 2010
Descriptions: The 2006-08 commodity price boom was one of the longest and broadest of the post-World War II period. Apart from strong and sustained economic growth, the recent boom was fueled by numerous factors, including low past investment in extractive commodities, weak dollar, fiscal expansion, and lax monetary policy in many countries, and investment fund activity. At the same time, the combination of adverse weather conditions, the diversion of some food commodities to the production of biofuels, and government policies (including export bans and prohibitive taxes) brought global stocks of many food commodities down to levels not seen since the early 1970s. This in turn accelerated the price increases that eventually led to the 2008 rally. The weakening and/or reversal of these factors coupled with the financial crisis that erupted in September 2008 and the subsequent global economic downturn, induced sharp price declines across most commodity sectors. Yet, the main price indices are still twice as high compared to their 2000 real levels, begging once more the question about the real factors affecting them. This paper concludes that a stronger link between energy and non- energy commodity prices is likely to be the dominant influence on developments in commodity, and especially food, markets. Demand by emerging economies is unlikely to put additional pressure on the prices of food commodities. The paper also argues that the effect of biofuels on food prices has not been as large as originally thought, but that the use of commodities by financial investors (the so-called ”financialization of commodities”) may have been partly responsible for the 2007/08 spike. Finally, econometric analysis of the long-term evolution of commodity prices supports the thesis that price variability overwhelms price trends.

food vs fuel, myths, commodity prices, speculation, gma, criticism

The Food Bubble: How Wall Street Starved Millions and Got Away with It

Author: Harper's Magazine
Posted: July 01, 2010
Descriptions: Contributing Editor Frederick Kaufman writes on the food bubble. As with all bubbles, this one was destined to collapse; yet unlike other bubbles, this one led to widespread global starvation. Kaufman looks specifically at the commodity of wheat: Goldman Sachs invented the Commodity Index in 1991 and began selling shares soon after; the price of wheat spiked in 2005. In 2008, it crashed amid the global downturn, and while the firm was safeguarded, millions suffered. By tracing this example of irresponsible investing, Kaufman makes a powerful point about the human impact of abstracted financial decision-making. Published: July 2010

food vs fuel, commodities, pricing, food prices, global markets, harpers

A USDA Regional Roadmap to Meeting the Biofuels Goals of the Renewable Fuels Standard by 2022

Author: USDA
Posted: June 25, 2010
Descriptions: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is developing a comprehensive regional strategy to help recharge the rural American economy. The strategy targets barriers to the development of a successful biofuels market that will achieve, or surpass, the current U.S. Renewable Fuels Standards (RFS2), as set out in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA). The RFS2, implementation provisions of which are detailed in the Environmental Protection Agency’s RFS2 Final Rule (March 26, 2010 Federal Register), becomes effective on July 1, 2010. The RFS2 will create new market opportunities for American agriculture to help fulfill its mandate: the American economy will be using 36 billion gallons (bg) of renewable transportation fuel per year in its transportation fuel supply by 2022.

USDA, strategy, biofuels, RFS2, renewable fuels standard

2008 Energy Balance for the Corn-Ethanol Industry

Author: USDA
Posted: June 21, 2010
Descriptions: The Agricultural Resource Management Survey of corn growers for the year 2005 and the 2008 survey of dry mill ethanol plants are used to estimate the net energy balance of corn ethanol. This report measures all conventional fossil fuel energy used in the production of 1 gallon of corn ethanol. The ratio is about 2.3 BTU of ethanol for 1 BTU of energy inputs, when a portion of total energy input is allocated to byproduct and fossil fuel is used for processing energy. The ratio is somewhat higher for some firms that are partially substituting biomass energy in processing energy.

usda, 2008, energy balance

Letter to President Obama on E15 Testing

Author: Growth Energy
Posted: June 21, 2010
Descriptions: On June 17, 2010, Growth Energy sent a letter to President Obama urging him to take whatever steps are necessary to accelerate the Department of Energy testing required for the Green Jobs Waiver application.

e15, green jobs waiver, department of energy, doe, epa, testing

Comparing Performance and Cost of Various Ethanol Blends and Standard Unleaded Gasoline

Author: American Coalition for Ethanol
Posted: May 20, 2010
Descriptions: Mileage and Cost comparison using Unleaded, E10, E20, and E30: As ethanol production and use has expanded from coast to coast in the United States, increased public discussion and media attention has focused on various properties of those blends versus standard unleaded gasoline. Among the most frequent matters for debate has been the matter of fuel efficiency and the resulting effect on cost of vehicle operation.

ethanol, fuel economy, performance, flex30

The CHOICE Act support letter

Author: Growth Energy
Posted: April 26, 2010
Descriptions: The undersigned organizations represent a broad cross section of renewable energy and alternative fuel interests. We would like to express our support for The CHOICE Act (S. 1627), which Senator Harkin and Senator Lugar introduced, and to offer our assistance in assuring passage of this landmark legislation. The title says it all — consumers should have options in choosing energy, or CHOICE, and should be able to choose from a range of fuels.

choice act, legislation, harkin, lugar, reid

Removal of Ethanol Import Tariff

Author: IHS Global Insight
Posted: April 04, 2010
Descriptions: The U.S. ethanol industry has been supported by various government policies, such as the ethanol tax credit and a tariff on imports of ethanol for fuel. Recently, the future of some of these policies has been put in doubt. The ethanol tax credit, which had been at 51 cents per gallon for many years, was lowered to 45 cents per gallon. This change was part of the 2008 Farm Bill, which was crafted and enacted at a time of record-high prices for many energy products, including gasoline. The 2008 Farm Bill included a continuation of the tariff on imports of ethanol, but that provision expires at the end of 2010, and continuation of the import tariff beyond that point is in question. In the absence of the import tariff, the question is not whether ethanol imports will occur, but how much the import volume will be. Although imported ethanol could come from several countries and be made from several feedstocks, ethanol made in Brazil from sugar cane is most likely to be imported in large quantities. Under the proposed RFS 2 rules, sugar-based ethanol from Brazil could compete not only with corn-based ethanol in the United States, but also in the "advanced" biofuels portion of the mandate.

Need these.

State-level Economic Impacts of Removing the Ethanol Import Tariff

Author: Dennis P. Robinson, Ph.D.
Posted: April 04, 2010
Descriptions: U.S. ethanol production has benefited from several protective government policies—such as an ethanol tax credit and an import tariff on ethanol for fuel. Since 1999 the number of operating ethanol plants has tripled and their production capacity has experienced a five-fold increase. There are 26 states that have one or more currently operating ethanol plants and two addition states with ethanol plants under construction (RFA, 2008). In addition, there are 24 ethanol plants either under construction or undergoing major expansion. However, recent events have cast doubt concerning the future of these policies. For example, as part of the 2008 Farm Bill the ethanol tax credit has been lowered from 51 to 45 cents per gallon. Even though the 2008 Farm Bill includes a continuation of the import tariff on ethanol for fuel the provision expires in 2010.

Need to add

Growth Energy Road Map to a Greener America

Author: Growth Energy
Posted: April 04, 2010
Descriptions: The U.S. economy has experienced a record decline, with unemployment nearly double digits, millions of Americans out of work and struggling. At the same time, the price of foreign oil continues to rise, reaching $73 a barrel last week. We continue to spend $50 billion a year protecting foreign oil fields and shipping routes. The Washington Post has equated the rise of oil from $80 to $100 a barrel as having the same impact on the U.S. economy as a $150 billion tax hike. We must confront our nation’s addiction to foreign oil, and potentially devastating effect on our environment. The solution to these problems — from creating green jobs to becoming more energy independent — can be found right here at home, right now, with America’s farmers and ethanol producers.

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Indirect Land Use Emissions in the Life Cycle of Biofuels: Regulations vs Science

Author: Adam J. Liska and Richard K. Perrin, University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Posted: April 04, 2010
Descriptions: Recent legislative mandates have been enacted at state and federal levels with the purpose of reducing life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from transportation fuels. This legislation encourages the substitution of fossil fuels with ‘low-carbon’ fuels. The burden is put on regulatory agencies to determine the GHG-intensity of various fuels, and those agencies naturally look to science for guidance. Even though much progress has been made in determining the direct life cycle emissions from the production of biofuels, the science underpinning the estimation of potentially significant emissions from indirect land use change (ILUC) is in its infancy. As legislation requires inclusion of ILUC emissions in the biofuel life cycle, regulators are in a quandary over accurate implementation. In this article, we review these circumstances and offer some suggestions for how to proceed with the science of indirect effects and regulation in the face of uncertain science.

Need list

Growth Energy Renewable Fuel Standard 2: Hearing Testimony

Author: Mark D. Stowers, Ph.D.
Posted: March 24, 2010
Descriptions: Testimony of Mark D. Stowers, PhD. on the proposed rule intended to implement changes to the Clean Air Act's Renewable Fuel Standard program.

ethanol, renewable fuel standard, RFS, EPA, environmental protection agency, environment, economy, green jobs waiver, greenhouse gas emissions, indirect land use change, yields,

Growth Energy EPA Waiver: EPA’s Response

Author: Environmental Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy
Posted: December 01, 2009
Descriptions: In EPA’s letter, the agency states that its engineering assessments indicate that the “robust fuel, engine and emissions control systems on newer vehicles (likely 2001 and newer model years) will likely be able to accommodate higher ethanol blends, such as E15.”

EPA, green jobs waiver, gina mccarthy, e15

Growth Energy EPA Waiver: Comments Filed with EPA

Author: Growth Energy
Posted: July 20, 2009
Descriptions: Comments filed with EPA on July 20, 2009.

e15, green jobs waiver

Growth Energy EPA Waiver: Application

Author: Growth Energy
Posted: March 06, 2009
Descriptions: This is the application for a waiver pursuant to section 211(f)(4) of the Clean Air Act for E15 submitted by Growth Energy on behalf of 52 United States ethanol manufacturers and additional partners.

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Growth Energy EPA Waiver: Cover Letter

Author: General Wesley Clark, Jeff Broin
Posted: March 06, 2009
Descriptions: Cover letter from General Wesley Clark and Jeff Broin accompanied the 2009 waiver application to increase ethanol blend limit to 15 percent.

lisa, jackson, margo, oge, clark, broin,

Growth Energy EPA Waiver: Environmental White Paper

Author: Jim Mennell
Posted: March 06, 2009
Descriptions: Advancing from ethanol-gasoline blends at 10 percent ethanol to ethanol blends at 15 percent ethanol or higher not only will increase energy security and independence, enhance economic development, create American jobs, retain billions of dollars in the U.S. economy, and reduce transporation costs, such advancement will result in significant benefits to the environment.

Need to add

Growth Energy EPA Waiver: Mancini Catalytic Converter Letter

Author: Doug Mancini
Posted: March 06, 2009
Descriptions: Doug Mancini, former Delphi and Ford Motor Company engineer, explains that catalytic converters in flex fuel vehicles and non flex fuel vehicles are the same.

EPA, waiver, e15, e-15, e10, e-10, 10 percent, 15 percent

Growth Energy EPA Waiver: Scientists Letter to EPA

Author: Jim Balzer, Michael Harrigan, Dr. Bruce Jones, Doug Mancini, Gary Mead
Posted: March 06, 2009
Descriptions: A group of automotive fuel systems experts with over 100 years of combined experience, write EPA leadership requesting the use of 15 percent ethanol in gasoline.

Need to add

Growth Energy EPA Waiver: Economic Impacts of Increasing the Ethanol Blend Limit

Author: Principal Investigators: Nancy Hodur, F. Larry Leistritz, Ph.D., Donald Senechal
Posted: March 04, 2009
Descriptions: Conducted by the Windmill Group, the objectives of this study were to determine nationwide economic impacts of an increase in the ethanol blend limit to 15 percent. One time capital investment impacts and annual impacts from operations were estimated as well as the impact on final demand for output, earning and employment (direct and secondary impacts).

ethanol, economy, construction, operations, ethanol plant, renewable fuels association, rfa, economic impact, direct impacts, secondary impacts, jobs, employment, bgy, corn, blend limit, 20 percent, e15, e20,

Effects of Intermediate Ethanol Blends on Legacy Vehicles and Small Non-Road Engines, Report 1 – U

Author: Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy
Posted: February 17, 2009
Descriptions: Peer-reviewed study regarding the effects of E-15 and E-20 on motor vehicles and small non-road engines concludes that when E-15 and E-20 were compared to traditional gasoline, there are no significant changes in vehicle tailpipe emissions, vehicle driveability, or small non-road engine emissions as ethanol content increased.

e15 e20

Growth Energy Policy Brief: California’s Dangerous Gamble with Indirect Land Use Change

Author: Growth Energy
Posted: February 01, 2009
Descriptions: Reducing carbon emissions in transportation fuel, a subject of recent national debate, is in fact an ambitious and admirable goal for the state of California. It is also a goal fraught with danger. Unless sound, proven science is used to determine carbon emissions, the state and nation could suffer the reverse effect: a transportation system that actually emits more pollution.

indirect land use change, transportation, ethanol, california, CA, greenhouse gas emissions, ghg, environment, carbon, emissions, fuel, air resources board, schwarzenegger, governor, ARB, carbon accounting, crops, displace, theory, university of nebraska, iluc, delucchi, epa, environmental protection agency, biofuel, biofuels, brazil, farmers, standards, life cycle,

Improvements in Life Cycle Energy Efficiency and Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Corn-Ethanol

Author: Adam J. Liska, Haishun S. Yang, Virgil R. Bremer, Terry J. Klopfenstein, Daniel T. Walters, Galen E. Erickson, and Kenneth G. Cassman
Posted: January 21, 2009
Descriptions: Corn-ethanol production is expanding rapidly with the adoption of improved technologies to increase energy efficiency and profitability in crop production, ethanol conversion, and coproduct use. Life cycle assessment can evaluate the impact of these changes on environmental performance metrics. To this end, we analyzed the life cycles of corn-ethanol systems accounting for the majority of U.S. capacity to estimate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and energy efficiencies on the basis of updated values for crop management and yields, biorefinery operation, and coproduct utilization.

corn, ethanol, production, improved technologies, energy efficiency, profitability, crop production, ethanol conversion, coproduct, Life cycle, environmental, corn-ethanol, greenhouse gas emissions, ghg, crop management, yields, biorefinery, gasoline, farmers, cellulosic, transportation fuels, journal of industrial ecology, industrial, ecology,biofuel

Growth Energy Policy Brief: The Truth About Food Prices

Author: Growth Energy
Posted: November 11, 2008
Descriptions: For much of 2008, grocery manufacturers and their allies in Washington blamed corn-based ethanol for a dramatic increase in food prices. But the dramatic drop in corn prices that followed demonstrated how flawed “food versus fuel” claims have been. Corn and other agricultural commodity prices shrunk by more than half, yet food prices continued to rise. The implication is clear: U.S. ethanol demand,while growing, plays a marginal role in total consumer food pricing.

food, vs, v, vs., fuel, grocery, manufacturers, prices, corn, versus, ethanol

Letter to California Air Resources Board from Concerned Scientists

Author: Concerned Scientists
Posted: June 24, 2008
Descriptions: Researchers and scientists in the field of biomass to biofuel conversion write to California Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols urging CARB to base their low carbon fuel standard on proven science.

carb, mary nichols, california, energy legislation, iluc, letter, lcfs, low carbon fuel standard.

Biofuels & Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Myths versus Facts

Author: Department of Energy
Posted: April 18, 2008
Descriptions: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is committed to advancing technological solutions to promote and increase the use of clean, abundant, affordable, and domestically- and sustainably-produced biofuels to diversify our nation’s energy sources, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce our dependence on oil. U.S. Energy consumption is expected to grow over 18 percent by 2030. Biofuels must continue to play a significant role as we work aggressively to diversify our nation’s energy sources and provide a balanced portfolio of energy solutions to help meet our growing demand for energy. Since 2007, DOE has announced over $1 billion in multi-year biofuels research and development projects. Integral to this work is the ongoing examination of reducing greenhouse gases as well as land and water use.

fact sheet, doe, energy, biofuels

E20: The Feasibility of 20 Percent Ethanol Blends by Volume as a Motor Fuel

Author: State of Minnesota and the Renewable Fuels Association
Posted: March 18, 2008
Descriptions: This study evaluated effects of E-0, E-6, E-20 and E-85 on the evaporative emissions rates from permeation in five newer California vehicles and found that there was no statistically significant increase in diurnal permeation rates between E-6 and E-20.

E-0, E-6, E-20, E-85 vehicles evaporative emissions

Letter to Science from Bruce Dale

Author: Bruce E. Dale, Ph.D.
Posted: February 16, 2008
Descriptions:

University of Michigan scientist Bruce E. Dale responds to Tim Searchinger's article in Science magazine saying:

Direct land use changes caused by biofuels can be studied by life cycle analysis. Indirect land use changes currently cannot. We should not make biofuel policy decisions on such an uncertain scientific foundation.

bruce dale, science magazine, searchinger, letter, response

Letter to Science from Michael Wang

Author: Michael Wang
Posted: February 14, 2008
Descriptions:

Michael Wang responds to Tim Searchinger's article in Science magazine saying:

"The Searchinger et al. study demonstrated that indirect land use changes are much more difficult to model than direct land use changes. To do so adequately, researchers must use general equilibrium models that take into account the supply and demand of agricultural commodities, land use patterns, and land availability (all at the global scale), among many other factors. Efforts have only recently begun to address both direct and indirect land use changes (see Birur et al. 2007). At this time, it is not clear what land use changes could occur globally as a result of U.S. corn ethanol production. While scientific assessment of land use change issues is urgently needed in order to design policies that prevent unintended consequences from biofuel production, conclusions regarding the GHG emissions effects of biofuels based on speculative, limited land use change modeling may misguide biofuel policy development."

searchinger, iluc, science magazine, article, letter, lifecycle analysis

Growth Energy EPA Waiver: Optimal Ethanol Blend-Level Investigation

Author: Energy & Environmental Research Center, Minnesota Center for Automotive Research for the American Coalition for Ethanol
Posted: November 07, 2007
Descriptions: This report studied the effects of ethanol blends ranging from E-10 to E-85 on motor vehicles and found that exhaust emissions levels for all vehicles at all levels of ethanol blend were within the applicable Clean Air Act standards.

vehicle mileage fuel economy hwfet miles per gallon

Life-cycle energy and greenhouse gas emission impacts of different corn ethanol plant types

Author: Michael Wang, May Wu and Hong Huo
Posted: May 22, 2007
Descriptions: Since the United States began a programme to develop ethanol as a transportation fuel, its use has increased from 175 million gallons in 1980 to 4.9 billion gallons in 2006. Virtually all of the ethanol used for transportation has been produced from corn. During the period of fuel ethanol growth, corn farming productivity has increased dramatically, and energy use in ethanol plants has been reduced by almost by half. The majority of corn ethanol plants are powered by natural gas. However, as natural gas prices have skyrocketed over the last several years, efforts have been made to further reduce the energy used in ethanol plants or to switch from natural gas to other fuels, such as coal and wood chips. In this paper, we examine nine corn ethanol plant types—categorized according to the type of process fuels employed, use of combined heat and power, and production of wet distiller grains and solubles. We found that these ethanol plant types can have distinctly different energy and greenhouse gas emission effects on a full fuel-cycle basis. In particular, greenhouse gas emission impacts can vary significantly—from a 3% increase if coal is the process fuel to a 52% reduction if wood chips are used. Our results show that, in order to achieve energy and greenhouse gas emission benefits, researchers need to closely examine and differentiate among the types of plants used to produce corn ethanol so that corn ethanol production would move towards a more sustainable path.

corn ethanol, life-cycle analysis, greenhouse gas emissions, ethanol plants

Growth Energy EPA Waiver: Fuel Permeation from Automotive Systems: E0, E6, E10, E20 and E85

Author: Coordinating Research Council, Inc.
Posted: December 12, 2006
Descriptions: Study evaluated effects of E-0, E-6, E-20 and E-85 on the evaporative emissions rates from permeation in five newer California vehicles and found that there was no statistically significant increase in diurnal permeation rates between E-6 and E-20.

E-0 E-6 E-20 E-85 emissions permeation

Growth Energy EPA Waiver: Blending of Ethanol in Gasoline for Spark Ignition Engines

Author: Stockholm University et al.
Posted: May 17, 2005
Descriptions: This study tested and compared evaporative emissions from E-0, E-5, E-10, and E-15 and found lower total hydrocarbon emissions and lower evaporative emissions from E-15 than from E-10 and E-5.

evaporative emissions blends

A Rational Approach to Qualifying Materials for Use in Fuel Systems

Author: CEC and SAE
Posted: June 19, 2000
Descriptions: The paper will describe the rationale for selecting the fuel surrogate fluids and why this new SAE standard should replace all existing test fuel or test fluid standards for fuel system materials testing.

fuel systems

Use of Mid-Range Ethanol/Gasoline Blends in Unmodified Passenger Cars and Light Duty Trucks

Author: Minnesota Center for Automotive Research
Posted: April 20, 1999
Descriptions: One-year study evaluated the effects of E-10 and E-30 in fifteen older vehicles in “real world” driving conditions; found no effect on driveability or component compatibility from either fuel and found that regulated exhaust emissions from both fuels were well below federal standards.

e10 e30