ORLANDO, Fla. — The innate persistence of the U.S. ethanol industry and its champions could drive renewable fuels to new heights in 2023, according to Geoff Cooper, the president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).
Cooper made his remarks in his annual "State of the Industry" presentation at the National Ethanol Conference held Feb. 28-March 2 in Orlando.
"When faced with challenges, roadblocks and failure, we don't give up," Cooper said. "We continue to innovate. We think outside of the box. We find workarounds. We eliminate the ways that won't work … and find the way that will work."
Cooper cited several policy and marketplace successes over the last year, such as passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, strong renewable fuel standard (RFS) volumes for 2022 and greater interest in sustainable aviation fuel. He noted that the unanimous net-zero-carbon commitment of the association's members is leading to a renaissance moment for ethanol, including unprecedented interest and innovation in green chemicals and other nontraditional uses.
"We have momentum on our side after some major victories in 2022," Cooper said. "Now, we need to keep it going. As we continue positioning ethanol for long-term success and growth, we need to be persistent in telling our story to policymakers, regulators, the media, industry stakeholders and the general public. We can't let others define us."
Much work needs to be done, Cooper said, including a permanent fix allowing year-round nationwide E15 — about which the EPA will hold public hearings this spring — a recommitment to E85 and flex fuel vehicles, restoring fair trade in major global markets, securing the future of the RFS and the development of future policies like a national clean fuel standard or the Next Generation Fuels Act.
Cooper concluded, "We are ready for growth … and we are set up for success because policymakers are recognizing the promise of low-carbon renewable fuels."
Cooper's full remarks are available here, with presentation slides available here.
Founded in 1981, the RFA is the leading trade association for the U.S. ethanol industry and advocates for greater demand for American-made renewable fuels and bioproducts worldwide.