Biofuel: Sorghum Gets Heads Up from EPA – Ethanol Extraction

Photo: Lindsay Pace, Mississippi State University

EPA has approved sorghum oil as an eligible feedstock under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

The EPA’s announcement marks a significant step toward leveling the playing field for ethanol plants extracting oil from sorghum. The National Sorghum Producers (NSP) worked closely with the EPA for over two years to establish a biofuels pathway for sorghum oil in the RFS, and this announcement provides new market access for the crop.

“This is a great day for U.S. sorghum farmers and our partners in the ethanol and biodiesel industries,” said NSP Chairman Don Bloss, a sorghum farmer from Pawnee City, Nebraska.

“A pathway for sorghum oil opens new markets for ethanol plants extracting oil from sorghum and ultimately adds value to the grain farmers produce.”

In December 2017, EPA released a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) concerning renewable fuels produced from sorghum oil under the RFS program followed by a 30-day comment period.

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EPA’s analysis showed biodiesel produced from sorghum oil has greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions savings of 82%. This will give ethanol plants extracting oil from sorghum access to sell into the biodiesel market.

“This pathway for sorghum oil reaches far beyond the farmer,” said Tom Willis, NSP board director and CEO of Conestoga Energy. “This is an avenue for creating jobs in rural America we so desperately need, and it helps provide energy security from a renewable water-conserving source.”

In addition to the nine ethanol producers already extracting oil from sorghum, several other facilities will now be able to purchase and use sorghum. The pathway also makes possible additional investments in fuel infrastructure in the Sorghum Belt.


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