Renewable Fuel Industry Swings Back In Delaware

Representing a wide range of renewable bioenergy stakeholders, the Fuels America coalition has been formed to protect the national Renewable Fuel Standard.

WILMINGTON, Delaware, September 27, 2012 – A growing coalition of advanced and traditional renewable fuel stakeholders today joined forces to defend America’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and the economic, clean energy and national security benefits it provides. The new Fuels America coalition spans the full spectrum of domestically grown renewable fuel, alongside national security, clean energy, environmental and other stakeholders. 

Fuels America will have an immediate and active presence in Delaware, where bioscience is a key driver of the state’s economy and numerous initiatives are under way to commercialize renewable fuels. One of Delaware’s largest employers and a world leader in biotechnology innovation, DuPont, has joined the Fuels America coalition to promote the benefits of all types of renewable fuel and protect the progress that has been made as a result of the Renewable Fuel Standard.

“Renewable fuel is making positive impacts on the U.S. economy, our nation’s energy security, and the environment,” said Jan Koninckx, Global Business Director, DuPont Biofuels. “In Delaware, jobs have been created in industrial bioscience and renewable fuels. These are highly skilled jobs, from technicians to scientists, business development people, and various other professionals working in the industry.”  

A strong core of renewable fuel research and development in Delaware contributes to the state’s economy and is bringing breakthrough technologies to the U.S. marketplace, including advanced biorefineries. 

The launch comes as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers a request to “waive” the RFS, a move that coalition members stressed would have serious unintended consequences for America’s energy independence and environmental safety.

“With the Fuels America coalition, we want to show the diversity of benefits the RFS creates, from innovation to implementation — and the breadth of what is at stake if there are changes to the RFS,” said Koninckx. “We recognize that, this year, the drought has caused real economic hardship to both livestock and ethanol industries, and we are working with our customers in those sectors to manage through it, but we need to stay the course on renewable fuels and the RFS — the most successful renewable transportation fuel policy the U.S. has ever had. The United States is leading in renewable fuels innovation now. The stakes are too high to reverse course on this visionary policy.” 

Other organizations in Delaware that are leading the way in clean energy studies include the University of Delaware, where groundbreaking research is being conducted on a special enzyme in algae that can detoxify contaminants and serve as a source of eco-friendly renewable fuel. The Delaware Biotechnology Institute also has received funding for research to create next-generation renewable fuels. The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced more than $13 million in new funding for Delaware-based research projects related to alternative fuels and advanced electric motors. 

“These are the types of investments that validate our leadership role in renewable fuels innovation and the importance of the renewable fuels industry to Delaware. Our state is a hub for advanced renewable fuel innovation; a number of breakthrough technologies have been developed here for cellulosic ethanol and other advanced renewable fuels like biobutanol,” said Koninckx, who is based in Wilmington.

“Those technologies are being deployed now, and as they become part of the transportation fuel mix, they will further decrease U.S. dependence on imported oil by bringing low-carbon fuel produced from domestic sources to market. Thanks to the RFS, nearly all gasoline today is blended with 10 percent biofuel, and the policy is driving major investment in advanced renewable fuels produced from a variety of materials beyond grain, grown here in the United States.”

The Fuels America campaign is nationwide, and will be active in Washington, DC, as well as in several states in addition to Delaware, including Colorado, Ohio and Montana. Each state will have its own online platform, featuring stories of renewable fuel innovators and communities with a stake in maintaining the RFS.