With the Environmental Protection Agency soon to decide whether to grant a waiver that would allow fuel containing ethanol blends of up to 15 percent to be used in newer road vehicles, at least one company with a strong interest in the decision has a back-up plan in case the ruling doesn’t go its way.
In doing some reading on E15, I ran across a publication called Ethanol Producer Magazine and an article from a couple of weeks ago titled “Groups launch new campaign against E15.”
Predictably, the article leads with the campaign against E15 then allows the CEO of Growth Energy, the pro-ethanol lobbying group that filed the initial request for the E15 waiver, to respond.
However, the most interesting part of the story can be found in the second-to-last paragraph where the author mentions that in June agriculture giant Archer Daniels Midland submitted a formal request to the EPA “seeking approval for E12 as a hedge against a negative decision regarding E15.”
Ethanol Producer went on to quote from an ADM statement, which said: “ADM continues to believe that the E15 waiver requested by Growth Energy is the ideal next step to ensure America’s energy and economic security ... Allowing only some cars to use E15 would discourage adoption of E15 by retailers and consumers. For these reasons, if the EPA won’t allow E15 for all cars, we believe an E12 decision for all vehicles would provide an immediate impact on the marketplace, and would be the next best thing for reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil and creating jobs in rural America.”
It seems the wheels are already in motion for a "Plan B" if the E15 waiver is denied. And if E12 is also turned away, what’s next, E11?
Yes, as it turns out, that’s also a possibility.
Biofuels Digest, which bills itself as “The world’s most widely read biofuels daily,” has an item on its website about a conference call ADM CEO Patricia Woertz held this May with analysts and reporters during which she reportedly said that “while the industry is still pushing for conversion to E15 in the longer term … E11 or E12 would pose fewer logistical problems and would increase ethanol blending by 1.3-2.6 billion gallons per year.”
So, while the EPA mulls the E15 waiver, the effort to increase ethanol usage marches on.