SAF Leaders Urge Biden Administration to Use GREET Model

Sustainable aviation fuel leaders are pressing the administration to modernize its carbon measuring model for the biofuel—key to winning tax credits to attract needed investment.

Seventy industry leaders, including major airlines, wrote Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen that the default model to measure SAF carbon emissions won’t fly because it fails to account for climate-smart feedstock and biorefining practices allowing for tax credits.

Renewable Fuels Association head Geoff Cooper, earlier said “You absolutely can make a carbon-neutral fuel, whether it’s for aviation uses or for motor vehicles.”

The biofuels and aviation industries want the administration to apply the Energy Department’s so-called GREET model, not the old model, to measure full life-cycle emissions of sustainable aviation fuel and make it eligible for credits. Nebraska’s Adrian Smith on the old model said, “I’m told that because this model is somewhere between 10 and 15 years out of date, U.S. grown corn and soy do not qualify. If U.S. grown corn and soy don’t meet this model’s standards, the sustainable aviation fuel produced from them would be ineligible.”

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack told ethanol leaders last month they need to fight for SAF credit eligibility. Vilsack said, “The issue is this industry taking full and complete advantage of a 36-billion-gallon industry that has never existed, that now will.”

But Vilsack acknowledged that requires qualifying for credits and said tax guidance for that should be ready by year’s end. The SAF leaders say the Inflation Reduction Act explicitly allows for the use of “any similar methodology” to the existing one to determine SAF credit eligibility.