EPA qualifies distiller sorghum oil as advanced biofuel feedstock

By Erin Voegele | December 27, 2017

The U.S. EPA has released a notice of proposed rulemaking related to fuel pathways using distiller sorghum oil as feedstock for biofuel production. A 30-day comment period on the proposal is set to close Jan. 26.  

The proposed rule contains the EPA’s analysis of the lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with certain biofuels produced using grain sorghum oil extracted at dry mill ethanol plants at any point downstream from sorghum grinding, also known as distiller sorghum oil.

EPA’s assessment concludes that using distillers sorghum oil as feedstock results in no significant agricultural sector GHG emissions. The agency’s analysis determined that biodiesel and heating oil produced from distillers sorghum oil via a transesterification process, and renewable jet fuel, heating oil, naphtha and liquefied petroleum gas (LGP) produced from distillers sorghum oil via a hydrotreating process, would meet the lifecycle GHG emissions reduction threshold of 50 percent required for advanced biofuels and biomass-based diesel under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

The rule proposes to amend RFS regulations to define the term distillers sorghum oil. It also proposes to add approved pathways to the RFS regulations for biodiesel and heating oil manufactured from distillers sorghum oil using the transesterification process, and for renewable diesel, jet fuel, heating oil, naphtha, and LGP produced from distillers sorghum oil via a hydrotreating process.

Growth Energy has released a statement noting it has worked extensively with its producers, as well as the National Sorghum Producers, to make this update to the RFS program in order to provide additional market opportunities.

“This is great news for numerous ethanol producers who use grain sorghum as a feed-stock, as it opens up an additional market for one of their key coproducts,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor.

“Our industry has a history of leading innovation in the production of clean, renewable fuel and in creating value for associated co-products. This is an exciting step for producers who are poised to provide more homegrown fuels to America. We look forward to filing comments and working with the EPA to finalize this important rule.”

Additional information is available on the Federal Register website.