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EPA proposes grain sorghum oil pathway

Sorghum oil one step closer to filling biodiesel production needs.

The Environmental Protection Agency issued a proposed rule in the Jan. 4 Federal Register on the life-cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with biofuels that are produced from grain sorghum oil extracted at dry-mill ethanol plants.

EPA is seeking comment for 30 days on its proposed assessment that using distillers sorghum oil as a feedstock results in no significant agriculture sector GHG emissions. Through EPA analysis, biodiesel produced from distillers sorghum meets the life-cycle GHG emission reduction threshold of 50% required for advanced biofuels and biomass-based diesel under the Renewable Fuel Standard program.

“After almost four years of work by National Sorghum Producers (NSP) industry partners and staff, we are excited to see this proposed rule in the Federal Register, putting us one step closer to sorghum oil filling biodiesel production needs,” said John Duff, NSP strategic business director. “This is significant positive news for sorghum producers and ethanol plants in the Sorghum Belt as it provides more opportunities and better returns producing ethanol from sorghum.”

The proposed rule is a result of NSP filing a petition and working extensively with EPA to provide data and analysis during the rule-making process. A pathway approval will allow the production of biodiesel and heating oil from distillers sorghum oil and renewable diesel, jet fuel, heating oil, naphtha and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) produced from distillers sorghum oil.

“This news is much anticipated, and we sincerely appreciate the help of our renewable energy partners, ethanol plants and producer leaders,” NSP chief executive officer Tim Lust said. “We are also grateful for all the congressional leaders who signed a supporting letter" as well as Sen. Jerry Moran (R., Kan.) and Reps. Roger Marshall (R., Kan.) and Jodey Arrington (R., Texas), "who made calls to the EPA supporting the pathway as well,” Lust added.

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