Farmers want path for corn-based ethanol use in sustainable aviation fuel cleared

Corn farmers say the sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) market provides incredible opportunities for agriculture, but there are challenges ahead. 

Illinois farmer Chris Gould says SAF is the next big market for corn growers.  “The automotive ethanol market is pretty well developed,” he says.  “There isn’t going to be a ton of growth from here.  If corn is going to be consumed in a new way, this is the next best way.”

AUDIO: Chris Gould, Illinois Corn

But, Michigan farmer John Delmotte of Dundee tells Brownfield the industry faces regulatory barriers that need to be addressed to allow SAF to really take off.  “We recognize we still have some work to do there,” he says.  “We’re hoping that the administration will move forward with the Argonne National Laboratory’s GREET model that allows corn to be a viable feedstock for SAF.  Our goal is to move those bushels of grind into the SAF market.” GREET is a tool that assesses a range of life cycle energy, emissions, and environmental impact challenges and that can be used to guide decision-making, research and development, and regulations related to transportation and the energy sector.

“I would like EPA to say we’re going to cut the politics and we’re going to follow science-based information,” he says.  He says the agriculture industry has worked hard to reduce its carbon footprint. “It’s time to continue to move forward with renewable fuels,” he says.  “Especially when we talk about ethanol for passenger vehicles, but moreover and most importantly for sustainable aviation fuel.”

Delmotte says the airline industry is asking for it and American farmers want to do their part in delivering it.

AUDIO: JOhn Delmotte, Michigan Corn

Brownfield interviewed Gould and Delmotte during the 2024 Commodity Classic in Houston, TX.  

  • Stop subsidizing corn ethanol. The RFS mandate has been a disaster for the environment, cost hundreds of millions in repairs and costs consumers more (don’t buy the “its cheaper at the pump” argument, you are getting less energy.)

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