US Government Challenging Abengoa Bankruptcy Plan

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

DOE logoKSCB News is reporting that Shell has been outbid for the cellulosic ethanol biorefinery owned by Spain-based Abengoa Bioenergy in Hugoton, Kansas. Synata Bio Inc, who owns the cellulosic ethanol technology formerly owned by Coskata, bid $48.5 million for the shuttered ethanol plant as part of Abengoa’s bankruptcy. In October, Shell put in a bid for $26 million and according to documents from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Kansas, Shell remains as the backup bid should there be any issues with the Synata sale. Closing on the purchase is set for December 8, 2016.

This is just one of several ethanol plants purchased from Abengoa as part of its bankruptcy. The two most recent approved purchases include winning bids from Natural Chem Group and Green Plains Inc. and ICM. However, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that the U.S. government is requesting that the bankruptcy plans be put on hold as a means to recoup more than $130 million agencies such as the Department of Energy gave the company to bring the project to fruition. The subsidies were supplied to help the project but are meant to be paid back to the government and the goal of the suit filed by the Department of Justice, DOE and others, is to recoup at least a portion of the funds.

The case is set to be heard in Delaware on December 6, 2016.

biofuels, Ethanol

NBB Welcomes 5th Edition of #Biodiesel Guide

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

screen-shot-2016-12-04-at-10-54-17-pmIn conjunction with the U.S. Clean Cities program, the Department of Energy (DOE) has released the fifth edition of its Biodiesel Handling & Use Guide. The publication serves as an educational tool for those who blend, distribute and use biodiesel, and is targeted to fleets, blenders, distributors and anyone involved in related activities. The guide offers basic information on the safe use of biodiesel in engines and boilers, and was designed to help users understand the procedures for handling and using biofuels fuels.

“This guide is an important tool for the industry as we see biodiesel volumes in the marketplace continue to grow,” said Scott Fenwick, technical director at the National Biodiesel Board (NBB). “More American’s are using biodiesel than ever before, and reliable, accurate information is critical for the fuel supply chain all the way down to end users.”

The Biodiesel Handling & Use Guide was authored by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), a DOE lab.

advance biofuels, Biodiesel, Education, NBB

#ExEx16 Helps Create $460 Million in Sales

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

RFA CEO Bob Dinneen and USGC CEO Tom Sleight at 2016 Export Exchange

RFA CEO Bob Dinneen and USGC CEO Tom Sleight at 2016 Export Exchange

The 2016 Export Exchange was successful in achieving its goal of increasing exports of U.S. grain and ethanol co-products, according to officials with the U.S. Grains Council and Renewable Fuels Association.

Buyers and end-users who attended the conference reported sales of approximately 2.6 million metric tons of grains and co-products worth $460 million traded in connection with the event, held Oct. 24-26 in Detroit. That included 924,500 metric tons of corn and 875,000 metric tons of distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS), as well as 25,200 metric tons of corn gluten, 428,000 metric tons of sorghum; and
5,000 metric tons of barley.

“Trade is absolutely critical to U.S. farmers right now, and these sales show that buyers attending Export Exchange 2016 took the buying opportunities very seriously,” said Tom Sleight, president and CEO of the Council. “Putting buyers and sellers together, building and sustaining relationships with our top global grain buyers have been hallmarks of Council activities worldwide. We are thrilled to see how much actual trade was done at the show and in association with it.”

“This conference and these tremendous sales figures show how much of an appetite there is globally for U.S.-produced feed grains and co-products. It’s no surprise that the top two commodities traded during the conference were corn and DDGS, a coproduct of U.S. ethanol production. With a record corn supply anticipated for the 2016/2017 marketing year, exports will continue to be essential as we move forward in a global market,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen.

More than 200 international buyers and end-users of coarse grains and co-products from more than 35 countries attended the Export Exchange. The event is held every two years and will next be held in 2018.

See stories and photos from the 2016 Export Exchange here.

Distillers Grains, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Export Exchange, Exports, RFA, RFS, USGC

Hearing Addresses #RFS Management

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

senate-hearingThe Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management held a hearing yesterday examining two reports by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) released this week. The hearing included testimony from Frank Rusco, GAO Director Natural Resources and Environment and Janet McCabe, EPA Acting Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation and was chaired by Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), who advocates repealing the RFS.

According to the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), the GAO reports “incorrectly suggest the RFS is falling short of its goals to support commercialization of advanced and cellulosic biofuels.”

“This hearing and the GAO reports really miss the point. The RFS has been a resounding success by any measure,” said RFA president and CEO Bob Dinneen, who adds that Congress realized in 2007 that it would take some time to get cellulosic biofuel to commercialization by allowing EPA to adjust advanced and cellulosic volume requirements.

Dinneen said advanced biofuel production is now growing dramatically. “Production and use of advanced biofuels has risen from less than 200 million gallons when the original RFS was adopted in 2005 to approximately 4 billion gallons (RINs) in 2016—a 20-fold increase. That’s a remarkable achievement that simply wouldn’t have occurred without the RFS.”

Dinneen also notes that the GAO reports fail to recognize other factors that impeded more rapid growth in advanced and cellulosic biofuel production, including the recession and financial crisis, lengthy delays by EPA in setting annual RFS volume requirements, and uncertainty caused by oil industry lawsuits and repeal efforts.

advance biofuels, Cellulosic, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Government, RFA, RFS

#Biodiesel Supporters Share Stories on the Hill

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

nbb-16-dcMore than 30 biodiesel supporters from multiple states shared their stories and the benefits on biodiesel in the halls of Congress this week.

“We have a great message to share with our elected officials,” said National Biodiesel Board CEO, Donnell Rehagen. “We want our messages and our success story to be top of mind now and when any tax extenders or reform is considered.”

The biodiesel industry representatives visited members of Congress with a call to extend the biodiesel tax incentive and move it from a blender’s tax credit to a producer’s tax credit. The current blender’s credit will expire at the end of this year and proposed legislation in both the House and Senate (HR 5240, S 3188) would adjust the credit to support domestic production over imports.

“Effective federal policy has helped level the playing field for our relatively new product. This is about so much more than a standard or tax code. It’s about real people, making a real difference to bring jobs and economic growth all while supporting clean air and renewable fuel options,” Rehagen explained.

Under the current “blender’s” structure of the incentive, foreign biodiesel imported to the U.S. and blended with petroleum diesel in the U.S. is eligible for the tax incentive. Increasingly, foreign biodiesel producers are taking advantage of the U.S. incentive by shipping their product here. In 2015 alone, some 670 million gallons of biodiesel and renewable diesel were imported to the U.S., making up nearly a third of the U.S. market.

advance biofuels, Biodiesel, NBB, politics

BioEnergy Bytes

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

  • BioEnergyBytesDF1Green Biologics, Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of Green Biologics Ltd., a U.K. industrial biotechnology and renewable chemicals company, has announced that its high purity bio-based n-butanol and acetone have received official certification under the USDA BioPreferred® program. The products are now certified as 100 percent bio-based and are marketed under the BioPure™ brand.
  • Biofuels Digest has reported that Blue Marble Biomaterials will become the first biomaterials company to utilize Regulation A+, a type of equity crowdfunding regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, and will offer equity shares to the public. Regulation A+ differs from other popular crowdfunding methods, such as Kickstarter. Under Reg A+, investors buy equity in the company. A natural-biochemical pioneer, Blue Marble intends to use the capital raised through its online public offering to expand production capabilities and research and develop new natural chemicals.
  • The English government is seeking input from the public and stakeholders on proposed changes to the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation Order. In particular it concerns increases to the obligation level, the appropriate level for the contribution of renewable fuels created from agricultural crops, and increases to the use of advanced renewable fuels.
  • ICSA president Patrick Kent has slammed leaked EU Commission proposals which would undermine previous biofuel policy. The leak is from a new renewable energy plan from the Commission which apparently will slash the target for the crop biofuel component of EU transport fuels from 7% to 3.4% by 2030. According to Kent, this strategy flies in the face of logic. The Commission which was supportive of biofuels has now decided to reverse its position without any scientific basis for so doing. Kent says, “What the Commission is proposing to do will deny tillage farmers access to an important income stream and also puts at risk tens of thousands of jobs across Europe. It will end investor interest in EU biofuels, with a direct knock on effect on the efforts to revive the Irish sugar industry – proposals which have received the direct support of all of the major political parties in Dail Eireann and it will make it harder to achieve EU targets to cut GHG emissions from road traffic.”
Bioenergy Bytes

#Ethanol Industry to EPA: Deny Point of Obligation Change

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

screen-shot-2016-12-01-at-9-50-39-amA letter was sent to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator McCarthy yesterday from the ethanol industry, along with some unlikely allies, calling on the EPA to deny the request for a change to the point of obligation for Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)  compliance.  The letter was signed by Growth Energy, API, RFA, PMAA, Advanced Biofuels Association, NACS, NATSO and SIGMA. The letter states:

Dear Administrator McCarthy,

The undersigned associations represent a significant majority of participants across the United States’ transportation fuels value chain. While each association has an individual, unique position – often conflicting – regarding the broader Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program, we write to express our unified position in opposition to efforts by petitioners to move the point of obligation for RFS compliance. It is unprecedented for all of these undersigned groups to unite in a single letter to express a uniformly held position.

Each of the undersigned associations strongly supports the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed denial of petitions for a rulemaking to change the point of obligation under the RFS. There is no sound public policy rationale for moving the point of obligation and further, such a change would add complexity and uncertainty to the current RFS program.

We urge EPA to finalize its conclusion and deny the petitions to move the point of obligation.

EPA, Ethanol, Growth Energy, RFA, RFS

Should EPA Increase Biofuels Use?

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

zp-nh1Our latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “What are you most thankful for this year?”

Family, friends, food and freedom…no doubt the simple majority shined in our Thanksgiving poll.

Here are the poll results:

  • Family – 13%
  • Friends – 3%
  • Food – 0%
  • Freedom – 0%
  • All of the above – 80%
  • Other – 3%

Our new ZimmPoll is live and asks the question, Should EPA increase biofuels use?

EPA set final levels for biofuels use in 2017 under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) last week that are in line with the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act, calling for the maximum 15 million gallons of conventional ethanol for the first time and increasing volumes for biomass-based biodiesel. What’s your reaction to that?

ZimmPoll

Finnish #Climate Report Phases out Coal, Ups #Biofuels

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

On November 30, 2016, the Finnish Government began discussing its approved National Energy and Climate Strategy that was released on November 24th. “National Energy and Climate Strategy to 2030,” outlines the country’s strategies and gives detailed actions that will be undertaken for the country to reach European Union (EU) climate objectives through 2030 as well as to help Finland to meet its Paris Climate Change Agreement. The biggest action, and the first of its kind for any country, is the complete phasing out of coal during the 2020s. A proposal on how to accomplish this goal will be prepared and may include the recommendations of “strong tax steering” or “legally prohibiting the use of coal” may be offered.

Finnish Government unveiling its National Energy and Climate Strategy during a press event. Photo Credit: Finnish Government

Finnish Government unveiling its National Energy and Climate Strategy during a press event. Photo Credit: Finnish Government

“We are facing a global and fundamental change of the whole energy economy. The National Energy and Climate Strategy adopted by the Finnish Government today is our response to this serious challenge,” said Minister of Economic Affairs Olli Rehn during a press conference to unveil the plan. Also on hand for the press event were Minister of Agriculture and the Environment Kimmo Tiilikainen, Minister of Transport and Communications Anne Berner, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Kai Mykkänen, and Minister of Justice and Employment Jari Lindström who presented the high-level strategies and objectives.

According to the report, the share of renewable energy of total energy consumption will increase to more than 50 percent in the 2020s. With this in mind, the overall goal of the energy plan is for Finland’s energy system to become carbon neutral with the majority of energy provided by sustainable, low carbon renewable sources. The energy plan outlines several measures to reduce GHG emissions in sectors outside of emissions trading with the majority in land and air transportation. In addition, the country’s large amount of biomass, or waste wood, will be a key feedstock to meet renewable energy goals.

Specific to biofuels, the country’s use of imported oil as well as jet fuel and kerosene will be cut in half during the 2020s as compared to the total energy consumption of 2005. This includes a transition away from fossil energy in the transport, heating and machinery sectors. According to energy plan, the percentage of biofuel in fuels sold to road transport will be increased to 30 percent by 2030.

With the increased role of biofuels, the report finds that there will also be an increase in the use of forest-industry by-products and forest chips. However, the plan states that raw material suitable for the wood processing industry will not be used for energy production and the plan calls for sustainability programs to be put in place to preserve the forests.

Also of note, in an effort to support the conversion to renewable energy, the energy plan calls for investment subsidies that will mainly be focused on commercializing new technologies especially those producing advanced biofuels for the transportation sector and technologies that use waste as feedstocks will also be supported.

advance biofuels, Alternative energy, bioenergy, biojet fuel, Climate Change

Growth Energy, Retailers Pink Out Program Raises $40K

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

growth-energy-logo1This past October Growth Energy partnered with several retailers who sell E15 for a Pink Out campaign to raise money and awareness for breast cancer. When a consumer purchased E15 during the month, each retailer donated 2 cents per gallon with the campaign raising $40,465.64 Participating retailers included Sheetz, Minnoco, Protec Fuel and Murphy USA.

“We are thrilled to have such incredible partners with whom we were able to donate $40,465.64 to deserving organizations working to find a cure for breast cancer and help those affected by it,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. “The ethanol industry is proud to help in the fight against cancer by replacing toxic carcinogens that were previously blended in gasoline. By partnering with leading retailers such as Sheetz, Minnoco, Protec Fuel and Murphy USA, this program ensures we continue to take up the fight on behalf of mothers, daughters and families everywhere.”

More than 700 dispensers pumped E15 at participating retailers with locations in Arkansas, Florida, Illinois and North Carolina. Of the funds raised, Sheetz donated its portion to the American Cancer Society, Minnoco donated its funds to Hope Chest for Breast Cancer, Protec Fuel donated its funds to the Florida Breast Cancer Foundation and Murphy USA donated its funds to Susan G. Komen.

E15, Ethanol, Growth Energy, Retailers