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  • Allen Schaeffer

Meet the Engine Technology Forum

Updated: Feb 2

Internal-combustion engines stand at the intersection of our fossil fuel-based economy of energy abundance and the renewable-energy future.


A new day has dawned. After 23 years as the Diesel Technology Forum, the organization has transitioned to become the Engine Technology Forum.

 

While still very much about diesel engines and the fuels that they use, we have evolved to meet the moment and engage today’s conversation.

 

We believe that:

 

  • The challenges facing society are complex without a singular solution of a fuel or technology type.


  • Advanced internal-combustion engine (ICE) technology will continue to be a dominant part of the fuel and technology mix for decades to come.


  • The already growing success of renewable fuels like biodiesel, renewable diesel and renewable natural gas will continue to accelerate and expand, offering important near-term progress on carbon reduction.


  • New ICE designs and fuels such as hydrogen and eFuels will become players.


  • Zero-emission technologies will continue to emerge, and we expect a world where those and ICE technologies and fuels compete and coexist.


  • ETF members, who are leaders in the fields of advanced ICE and petroleum and renewable fuels, will continue to develop and deliver the best solutions for their customers.

 

Internal-combustion engines stand at the intersection of our fossil fuel-based economy of energy abundance and the renewable-energy future.

Internal-combustion engines and renewable biofuels are a vital part of our energy system. It is up to us collectively to help all stakeholders embrace the importance of, and role for, these fuels and technologies to achieve our common goals. This is not always an easy task.

 

The biodiesel industry has made incredible progress over the past decade. Production volumes have grown substantially. A new level of quality is now evident in every gallon of product. Producers and your trade associations have done yeoman’s work to boost the image of biofuels by telling everyone their benefits as well as how they contribute to our society, provide jobs and support the agricultural industry.

 

Engine and equipment makers increasingly endorse the use of these fuels. Last year, 3 billion gallons of your renewable biofuels went into the tanks of hundreds of thousands of engines, machines and vehicles. This displaced an equal amount of higher-carbon fossil fuels and provided the users with a viable, affordable and available means of reducing their carbon footprint without transitioning to new vehicles or infrastructure. There is no doubt that engine and equipment makers, and fuel producers, are doing their part to contribute to the success of timely decarbonization and lower emissions.

 

If only we could say the same about the U.S. EPA. Despite growing demand and production investment for renewable biomass-based diesel fuels, EPA’s announcement on the three-year volumes for the Renewable Fuel Standard was a disappointment, to say the least. It was well below all expectations and what industry is currently delivering and has planned for in the pipeline. The decision sets back the industry, rather than energize a more rapid opportunity for reducing greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions from the use of low-carbon biodiesel and renewable diesel fuels.

 

The EPA’s volume set for 2023 is misaligned with current conditions. Compared to the same period in 2022, qualifying biomass-based diesel production increased by more than 30 percent, or 400 million gallons, in the first five months of 2023. The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Short Term Energy Outlook for June 2023 projects increases in U.S. production of biodiesel and renewable diesel of more than 800 million gallons in 2023 and 900 million gallons in 2024.

 

The EPA’s small nudge in biofuel volumes at this time of otherwise progressive climate policies is as confusing as it is inconsistent. In its rulemaking, the agency stated, “Low-carbon fuels are an important part of reducing GHG emissions in the transportation sector, and the RFS program is a key federal policy that supports the development, production and use of low-carbon, domestically produced renewable fuels.”

 

Yet rather than issuing a robust and growth-oriented future-volume set rule that expanded the use of renewable diesel and biodiesel fuels to drive faster and deeper reductions in GHG emissions, EPA touted it primarily as an “energy-security strategy to reduce 140,000 barrels of foreign-oil imports.”

 

Setting the record straight on the essential role of internal-combustion engines and biobased renewable fuels and how they fit into today’s energy-transition strategy is a shared mission.

 

We don’t see the world where “combustion” is the “problem” and “electrification” is the “solution.” We see the world where we are all working together on available, affordable and diverse solutions. That includes internal-combustion engines and renewable fuels.




Author: Allen Schaeffer

Executive Director

Engine Technology Forum

301-668-7230

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