Kansas Corn Advocates For Aviation Biofuels

Sixteen of the nation’s top corn grower leaders, including KCGA President Brent Rogers, Hoxie, asked that aviation biofuels be treated fairly in tax policy by using the best standards available. The corn leaders sent a letter this week to U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen  encouraging her to adopt the GREET emissions model developed by the Department of Energy as her agency works with the IRS to determine which biofuels can qualify for sustainable aviation fuel tax credits under the Inflation Reduction Act. If adopted, the move could open the door for further development of ethanol-based aviation fuel. Kansas Corn has been closely involved in efforts to advance the adoption of ethanol-based sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

While corn growers are calling on Treasury to use the GREET model as an emissions standard, some groups want the government to turn to a less comprehensive international standard. Unlike other models, GREET considers the full environmental picture, the corn growers noted in the letter.

“The GREET model accurately accounts for on-farm carbon reduction activities and feedstock yield increases and the improved agriculture production practices that farmers have adopted over the last twenty years,” the letter states. “This further solidifies GREET as the methodology Treasury and the IRS should use to determine tax credits for SAF.”

The letter comes as ethanol is being considered for use in sustainable aviation fuel. Ethanol  has been used for years to lower greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks while saving consumers money at the pump, and experts say the biofuel would do for airplanes what it has done for autos.

Unlike other models, GREET considers the full environmental picture, the corn growers noted.

“GREET is the federal government’s most robust and updated model or methodology for transportation lifecycle assessment,” the letter states. “It is used globally to measure lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, and the Department of Energy has the best resources, expertise, and current ability within federal government agencies to assess lifecycle emissions accurately and scientifically.”

The tax credit from the Inflation Reduction Act will be crucial to ensuring ethanol is quickly made available in the aviation sector. A decision on that tax credit could come down to which emissions model is used to determine greenhouse gas emission reductions.

Citing a recent speech in which President Biden said farmers will lead the way on aviation biofuels, the letter notes, “If we are going to make the president’s promise a reality, we are going to have to have a reliable model in place and one that bases U.S. tax policy on the best information and instruments the U.S. government has to offer.”

Yellen is expected to make a final announcement on the tax credits this month.