Sorghum oil is now an approved feedstock under the Renewable Fuel Standard after a signing event Tuesday at EPA headquarters in Washington, D.C.
The EPA’s announcement marks a significant step toward leveling the playing field for ethanol plants extracting oil from sorghum. National Sorghum Producers worked closely with the EPA for over two years to establish a biofuels pathway for sorghum oil in the RFS, and this announcement provides new market access for the crop.
“This is a great day for U.S. sorghum farmers and our partners in the ethanol and biodiesel industries,” said NSP Chairman Don Bloss, a sorghum farmer from Pawnee City, Nebraska. “NSP has worked tirelessly for over two years to make this happen. A pathway for sorghum oil opens new markets for ethanol plants extracting oil from sorghum and ultimately adds value to the grain farmers produce.”
In December 2017, the EPA released a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) concerning renewable fuels produced from sorghum oil under the RFS program followed by a 30-day comment period. EPA’s analysis showed biodiesel produced from sorghum oil has greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions savings of 82 percent. This will give ethanol plants extracting oil from sorghum access to sell into the biodiesel market.
“This pathway for sorghum oil reaches far beyond the farmer,” said Tom Willis, NSP board director and CEO of Conestoga Energy. “This is an avenue for creating jobs in rural America we so desperately need, and it helps provide energy security from a renewable water-conserving source.”
In addition to the nine ethanol producers already extracting oil from sorghum, several other facilities will now be able to purchase and use sorghum. The pathway also makes possible additional investments in fuel infrastructure in the Sorghum Belt.
“We owe a significant amount of gratitude to several individuals and entities for making this possible,” NSP CEO Tim Lust said. “This includes EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler and his staff, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, Senators Jerry Moran, Deb Fischer, Pat Roberts, Roy Blunt, Clair McCaskill, and Ben Sasse and Congressmen Roger Marshall, Jodey Arrington, Kevin Yoder, Mac Thornberry, Adrian Smith, Lynn Jenkins, Frank Lucas, Tom Cole, and Blake Farenthold who all signed support letters and made phone calls on our behalf. We also extend our thanks to ethanol trade groups and numerous ethanol plants, fuel marketers and technology providers. This wide swath of support was key to this effort, and we sincerely appreciate the leadership of each one.”