Biden Administration Guidance on SAF Tax Credit a Huge Step in Right Direction
December 15, 2023
With Some Details Still to Be Worked Out, U.S. Treasury Department Says Argonne National Laboratory’s GREET Model Will Be an Approved Carbon Intensity Model
Contact: Emma Koehler
JOHNSTON, IOWA – Today, the United States Treasury Department announced an updated carbon intensity model will be approved to determine eligibility for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) tax credits. The methodology, Argonne National Laboratory’s Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions and Energy Use in Technologies (GREET) model, is the model that uses the most current and accurate science.
“First, it’s important to note this is a huge victory for science over politics,” said Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Executive Director Monte Shaw. “Anti-agriculture agitators both in the U.S. and Europe have been pushing the Biden Administration to only recognize models with outdated data and debunked penalties against farm feedstocks like corn and soybeans. IRFA appreciates the Treasury Department for standing with the best science available.”
The Treasury Department first provided SAF credit guidance in December 2022. Today’s announcement provides further guidance, in collaboration with additional federal agencies. It is anticipated that a modified version of the GREET model will be released in March of 2024.
“With the GREET model approved, there is now a path available for airlines to meet their carbon reduction targets as SAF from soybean oil and ethanol represents an enormous portion of all possible SAF feedstocks,” stated Shaw. “In turn, today’s news is incredible for biofuels producers and farmers because the SAF market represents the single biggest opportunity for a rural transformation since the introduction of corn hybrids a century ago. At the same time, we should not forget that the key to unlocking the SAF market for ethanol continues to be carbon capture and sequestration (CCS). Without CCS to reduce the carbon intensity score of ethanol, it is nearly impossible for our home-grown ethanol to qualify for SAF – even with the GREET model.”
In addition to ongoing efforts by the Argonne National Laboratory to continuously update and improve the GREET Model, under the direction of Secretary Tom Vilsack, the USDA has invested to ensure that the most up-to-date farming data was available to the modelers.
“Secretary Vilsack has been a constant force inside the administration in educating other departments, insisting on the best science, and pushing back against the anti-agriculture agitators,” said Shaw. “IRFA members owe a debt to Secretary Vilsack and the entire Iowa congressional delegation for using every opportunity to ensure farmers would not be unfairly barred from participating in the massive SAF market.”
The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association represents the state’s liquid renewable fuels industry and works to foster its growth. Iowa is the nation’s leader in renewable fuels production with 42 ethanol refineries capable of producing 4.5 billion gallons annually – including 34 million gallons of annual cellulosic ethanol production capacity – and 11 biodiesel facilities with the capacity to produce 410 million gallons annually. For more information, visit the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association website at: www.IowaRFA.org.