ACE: Carbon and Octane Future for Ethanol

Cindy Zimmerman 1 Comment

Low carbon and high octane are the future for ethanol, according to leaders of the American Coalition for Ethanol speaking Thursday at their annual conference in Omaha.

ACE Board President Duane Kristensen of Chief Ethanol in Nebraska said that as the agriculture and ethanol industries are dealing with challenging market conditions, things have to change. “With uncertainty surrounding the RFS and trade negotiations, we must engage in meaningful dialogue to find ways to increase demand for ethanol in our fuel supply domestically with E15 and higher ethanol blends, as well as in markets around the globe that are beginning to recognize ethanol’s high octane and environmental benefits in renewable fuels policies,” Kristensen said.

Listen to his remarks here:
ACE Board President Duane Kristensen opening remarks

ACE CEO Brian Jennings acknowledged the positive development of year-round E15, but pointed out the good news is being undermined by the bad and said now is the time for new strategy. “We’ve come to the conclusion we cannot merely play defense on the RFS and hope trade wars subside. We need to turn the page, to go on offense. We need a new vision for how to increase demand for ethanol and break free from the status-quo,” Jennings said.

“Combining ethanol’s high octane and low carbon strengths into a new growth strategy not only allows us to go on offense, it gives our champions in Congress something to be for as the discussion about climate change begins to ramp up in Washington,” Jennings added. “ACE members have what it takes to make things happen.”

Listen here:
ACE CEO Brian Jennings opening remarks

2019 ACE Conference Photo Album

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Nebraska Governor Thanks Ethanol Industry

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Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts welcomed members of the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) meeting in Omaha this week by thanking them for what they do.

“Ethanol is a very important industry, on a national and on a state level,” said Gov. Ricketts, noting that Nebraska is the second largest ethanol producing state in the nation with 25 plants employing 1400 people.

The governor acknowledged the difficult times facing the industry but encouraged everyone to continue to promote the benefits of ethanol with three simple points. “Save money at the pump, it’s great for the environment, and it’s going to help our farmers and ranchers,” he said.

ACE members also thanked Gov. Ricketts for his ethanol advocacy by presenting him with the organization’s Policy and Legislative Leadership Award.

Listen to the governor’s remarks here:

Gov. Pete Ricketts remarks to 2019 ACE Conference


2019 ACE Conference Photo Album

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ACE Elects Board of Directors

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New ACE Board members Troy Knecht and Owen Jones

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) announced new members of its board of directors Wednesday as the organization’s 32nd annual conference got underway in Omaha, Nebraska.

Six incumbents were re-elected to the board of directors for three-year terms:

Duane Kristensen, representing Chief Ethanol Fuels
Scott McPheeters, representing KAAPA Ethanol
Dan Root, representing Minnesota Corn Growers Association
Rick Schwarck, representing Absolute Energy
Dave Sovereign, representing Golden Grain Energy
Chris Studer, representing East River Electric Cooperative-

Two new members were elected to serve on the board of directors for a three-year term:

Troy Knecht, representing Redfield Energy
Owen Jones, At-large Member

ACE members will be hearing from Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts Thursday morning, an address which will be streamed on Facebook Live. Follow the action on Twitter with the hashtags #ACECONF19 and #WhatItTakes

First photos from the conference are posted – keep checking back as more will be added throughout the meeting.

2019 ACE Conference Photo Album

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ACE Conference Kicks Off in Omaha

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The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) annual conference begins today in Omaha starting with a welcome reception this evening sponsored by nine state corn grower organizations.

Business gets underway tomorrow morning with a welcome from Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, followed by industry updates and a keynote presentation by new U.S. Grains Council CEO Ryan LeGrand.

With the bottom line a big concern for ethanol producers, there are several sessions and the final general session panel on Friday devoted to improving profitability. That last session on “Steps to a Biorefinery” will feature speakers from Fluid Quip Technologies (FQT), ICM Inc., and ACE member plant Golden Grain Energy (GGE), moderated by consulting firm Ascendant Partners Inc.

Follow the conference action here and on Twitter and Facebook with the hashtags #WhatItTakes #ACECONF19.

Get a preview of the annual meeting this year from ACE Senior Director of Operations and Programming Shannon Gustafson.

Interview with Shannon Gustafson, ACE
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Growth Energy and GasBuddy Launch Unleaded88 on App

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Growth Energy and GasBuddy have partnered to bring Unleaded 88 to GasBuddy’s database and app.

Unleaded 88 is 15 percent ethanol, or E15, approved for cars 2001 and newer, and GasBuddy is a smartphone app and website used by millions of drivers every month to avoid paying full price for fuel. It is the world’s largest database of real-time, crowdsourced gas price data covering more than 150,000 North American gas stations.

This new partnership allows GasBuddy’s app users access to a comprehensive database of Unleaded 88 fuel at more than 1,800 retail locations around the country. Additionally, Growth Energy and GasBuddy have launched an advertising campaign within the app to promote the benefits of the renewable fuel to consumers.

E15, Ethanol, Growth Energy

Coalition Wants EPA to Reconsider Higher Ethanol Blends

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A coalition of ethanol, agriculture, and clean fuel organizations has requested judicial review of a recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rulemaking that would limit ethanol blending and restrict the use of blender pumps. The Urban Air Initiative (UAI) and National Farmers Union (NFU) are leading the alliance.

The petitioners believe that while the rule EPA approved to allow year round sales of E15 is a successful step forward, it puts new limitations on higher ethanol blends. “Specifically, the petitioners will argue that EPA misinterprets the “substantially similar” provision of the Clean Air Act to artificially limit ethanol blending. Because ethanol is a fuel additive used in EPA’s vehicle certification process, petitioners maintain that it is not subject to any volume limitations under the sub-sim law.”

Compounding the problem, according to Urban Air Initiative (UAI) president David VanderGriend, is a provision that would effectively make ethanol blender pumps subject to crippling new regulations. The rule would treat blender-pump retailers as fuel manufacturers, subjecting them to the same regulations as refineries. Consequently, blender pumps would only be allowed to dispense E15 and E85.

In addition to UAI and NFU, the petitioners include South Dakota Farmers Union, Farmers Union Enterprises, Jackson Express, Jump Start, the Clean Fuels Development Coalition, the Nebraska Ethanol Industry Coalition, Big River Resources, LLC, Fagen, Inc., Glacial Lakes Energy, LLC, and Little Sioux Corn Processors.

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USDA Updates Acreage and Production Forecasts

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In the August Crop Production report released today, USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) revised planted acres downwards, while at the same time increasing corn production to 13.9 billion bushels and raising the average national yield by more than 3 bushels to 169.5 bushels an acre in the latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand (WASDE) report.

NASS noted that survey respondents who reported acreage as not yet planted for corn, cotton, sorghum, and soybeans in fourteen states for the Acreage report were re-contacted in July. “Excessive rainfall had led to planting delays and challenges at the time of the survey, leaving a portion of acres still to be planted for corn in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin; cotton in Arkansas; sorghum in Kansas; and soybeans in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.”

Corn production for grain is forecast at 13.9 billion bushels, down 4 percent from 2018 but up 26 million bushels from the July projection as a decline in harvested acres is offset by an increase in yield, expected to average 169.5 bushels per harvested acre, down 6.9 bushels from 2018. The report indicates that Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, and South Dakota are forecast to have yields below a year ago and Missouri is the only major producing state forecast to have yields higher than last year.

Soybean production for beans is forecast at 3.68 billion bushels, down 19 percent from 2018. Based on conditions as of August 1, yields are expected to average 48.5 bushels per harvested acre, down 3.1 bushels from 2018. Area harvested for beans is forecast at 75.9 million acres, down 4 percent from the previous forecast, and down 14 percent from 2018. Area planted for all purposes totaled 76.7 million acres, down 4 percent from the previous estimate, and down 14 percent from 2018.

In the August WASDE report, 2019/20 U.S. corn outlook is for larger supplies, reduced exports and corn used for ethanol, and greater ending stocks. Corn used for ethanol is reduced 25 million bushels to 5.5 billion. Exports are lowered reflecting U.S. export competitiveness and expectations of increasing competition from Argentina, Brazil, and Ukraine. With supply rising and use falling, ending stocks are up 171 million bushels to 2.2 billion. The season-average corn price received by producers is lowered 10 cents to $3.60 per bushel.

All cotton production is forecast at 22.5 million 480-pound bales, up 23 percent from 2018. All wheat production for grain is forecast at 1.98 billion bushels, up 3 percent from the previous forecast and up 5 percent from 2018.

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RFA CEO Surprised by New Waivers

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Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Geoff Cooper was surprised and angry when the Environmental Protection Agency waited until the very end of the day Friday to announce 31 more exemptions from complying with the Renewable Fuel Standard were granted to oil refineries, representing 1.43 billion gallons of additional lost RFS demand.

“We don’t understand how in the world EPA could agree with these refiners that they are somehow suffering economic harm due to the RFS when we’ve had RIN prices at historic low levels for the better part of a year and a half now,” said Cooper.

With a total of 85 small refinery exemptions (SRE) now granted by EPA, Cooper says that means four billion gallons of RFS requirements have been erased. “What that does is put the actual RFS requirements below the so-called E10 blend wall and completely takes off any pressure for the refining sector and blenders to expand into higher blends like E15 and E85,” he said.

In addition, the waivers will completely offset any gain the industry might have experienced from the approval of retail sales for E15 in the summer this year and puts additional pressure on the already stressed farm economy and biofuels industry resulting from trade disruptions and planting problems. “Things are not good in the Heartland,” says Cooper.

In this interview, Cooper also talks about what the industry is doing to fight back against what they believe is illegal action on the part of EPA.

RFA CEO Geoff Cooper reacts to new waivers
Audio, EPA, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA, RFS

Ethanol Report on RFA Sturgis Promotion

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The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) had another great promotional event at the Buffalo Chip Campground for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally last week in South Dakota.

In this episode of The Ethanol Report podcast, we hear from Buffalo Chip owner Woody Woodruff, Twisted Sister lead singer Dee Snider, Craig Ammann with Lallemand Biofuels and Distilled Spirits, various bikers filling up with free E10, and RFA’s Robert White.

Listen and enjoy and check out some of the photos from the Sturgis ethanol promotion below.
Ethanol Report on RFA Sturgis Promotion

2019 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally with RFA at The Chip photo album

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Farm and Biofuel Groups Dismayed by EPA Refinery Waivers

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Small refinery waivers will continue to take a chunk out of the gallons of biofuel that should be blended into our nation’s transportation fuel supply under the Renewable Fuel Standard, thanks to the Environmental Protection Agency’s announcement late Friday that granted 31 more exemptions, representing 1.43 billion gallons of additional lost RFS demand. Only six of the requests for 2018 were denied by the agency, and this latest action brings the total number of waivers granted from 2016-2018 to 85. That compares to only 23 granted in the previous three years.

Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Geoff Cooper says they were shocked by the announcement after President Trump heard directly from farmers and ethanol plant workers about the disastrous economic impacts of these small refinery handouts during his visit to an Iowa ethanol plant two months ago. “At a time when ethanol plants in the Heartland are being mothballed and jobs are being lost, it is unfathomable and utterly reprehensible that the Trump Administration would dole out more unwarranted waivers to prosperous petroleum refiners,” said Cooper.

“Waivers reduce demand for ethanol, lower the value of our crop and undermine the President’s support for America’s farmers,” said National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) President Lynn Chrisp. “Farmers are facing a sixth consecutive year of depressed income and commodity prices, with farm income for 2019 projected to be half of what it was in 2013.”

American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings says EPA’s action reinforces the need to challenge the agency in court to restore lost volumes of renewable fuel resulting from the unprecedented number of retroactive waivers. “The RFS is supposed to ensure the use of ethanol and biodiesel increases from one year to the next, but 85 Small Refinery Exemptions later and over 4 billion waived gallons represents an enormous step backwards,” said Jennings.

The biodiesel industry is being hit especially hard by the refinery waivers, according to the National Biodiesel Board (NBB).

“EPA and administration personnel are well aware that the ongoing spree of big oil exemptions destroy demand for biodiesel and render the RFS program meaningless,” said Kurt Kovarik, NBB’s Vice President of Federal Affairs, who adds that damage to the U.S. biodiesel and renewable diesel industry could reach $7.7 billion or 2.54 billion gallons.

House Agriculture Committee chair Collin Peterson (D-MN) also reacted to the news. “The Administration tried to bury bad news for rural America by quietly approving 31 more waivers this Friday afternoon that undermine the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and the market for corn. On Wednesday, I hosted a packed forum at Farmfest with Secretary Perdue where farmers raised this issue again and again. Farmers are on the front lines of the tariff war and this announcement by the EPA will only make things worse.”

ACE, Biodiesel, corn, EPA, Ethanol, Ethanol News, NBB, NCGA, RFA, RFS