Gasoline Markets and #Ethanol

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Retail fuel outlets have many considerations when it comes to offering higher ethanol blends for consumers – from regulatory hurdles, equipment replacement timelines, financial incentives and long term strategies. But higher blends are vital when it comes to increasing the domestic market for ethanol at this point.

Renewable Fuels Association vice president of industry relations Robert White led a discussion on the topic during the National Ethanol Conference with Ryan McNutt, CEO, SIGMA; Jimm Cross, PMAA Western Region Chairman and President, Cross Petroleum; John Eichberger, Executive Director, Fuels Institute; Rick Long, General Manager & Associate General Counsel, PEI.

Listen to that panel here: Understanding Gasoline Markets Panel at #RFANEC

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High Octane, Low Carbon Future Panel at #RFANEC

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L-R: David McShane, Ricardo; Jim Anderson, Ford Motor Company; Jim Szybist, Oak Ridge National Lab; Geoff Cooper, RFA

Automakers, DOE scientists, and other experts agree that octane is the key to enabling greater efficiency and reduced emissions in the internal combustion engines of the future. The question is making that happen and that is the discussion had at the National Ethanol Conference this week.

Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) Senior VP Geoff Cooper moderated the conversation with Ricardo Executive Vice President David McShane, Ford Motor Company Technical Expert Jim Anderson, and researcher Jim Szybist with Oak Ridge National Lab.

Listen to the panel here: High Octane, Low Carbon Panel at #RFANEC

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Military Vets Urge Trump to Add Biofuels to Energy Plan

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Military veterans involved in the biofuels industry, like East Kansas Agri-Energy (EKAE) President and CEO Jeff Oestmann, are requesting that the Commander-in-Chief deploy the use of ethanol and other renewable fuels in the fight to make America First in energy.

“Missing from the president’s (America First Energy) plan is any mention of ethanol or biofuels in general – we are seeking to change that,” said Oestmann, who served in the Marines, during the opening general session of the National Ethanol Conference yesterday. He and other U.S. military veterans working in the ethanol industry drafted a letter to President Trump to remind him that “ethanol is a crucial domestic energy source that plays an important role in reducing oil imports.”

Oestmann says nine of the 52 employees at EKAE are veterans, as are a good percentage of the attendees at the conference who were asked to stand – including Geoff Cooper and Robert White with the Renewable Fuels Association. “Working and investing in the ethanol industry allows us to continue honoring our commitment to making America stronger and more independent,” said Oestmann, encouraging all veterans present to sign the letter to President Trump during the conference at the RFA booth.

Listen to Oestmann (Oohrah!) here: EKAE CEO Jeff Oestmann at #RFANEC

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President Trump Sends Greetings to #RFANEC

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President Donald Trump sent greetings to National Ethanol Conference attendees this week and his regrets that he could not attend.

In a letter to the NEC read by Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen, President Trump reiterated his unwavering support for ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard.

“Rest assured that your president and this administration values the importance of renewable fuels to America’s economy and to our energy independence. As I emphasized throughout my campaign, renewable fuels are essential to America’s energy strategy,” Trump wrote.

“As important as ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard are to rural economies, I also know that your industry has suffered from overzealous, job-killing regulation. I am committed to reducing the regulatory burden on all businesses, and my team is looking forward to working with the Renewable Fuels Association, and many others, to identify and reform those regulations that impede growth, increase consumer costs, and eliminate good-paying jobs without providing sufficient environmental or public health benefit,” Trump added.

Listen to Dinneen read Trump’s letter: Trump letter to #RFANEC

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Reporters Curious About #Ethanol Issues

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Reporters covering the National Ethanol Conference in San Diego had questions about a number of topics when given the opportunity to have a press “scrum” with Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen.

The first questions centered on the discussion Dinneen had on stage at the NEC with petroleum industry representatives and how the industries can work together. “I’ve been trying to move the dialogue to a different plane where we’re talking about the future growth and certainty for both our industries,” he said.

One issue Dinneen ran out of time to discuss with the panel was the point of obligation change requested by the petroleum industry under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which was requested by the petroleum industry. “Our view is that it should not change, I think it would create a lot of uncertainty in the program that would not be healthy,” said Dinneen. “What happens with that issue I can’t judge.”

Listen to the reporter Q&A here: RFA CEO Bob Dinneen press questions

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#RFANEC Future of Fuels Policy Panel

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RFA CEO Bob Dinneen; AFPM CEO Chet Thompson; and Marty Durbin, API Executive Vice President

Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen reached across the aisle to invite his friends from the petroleum industry to join him on stage at the National Ethanol Conference to discuss the future of fuels policy and find areas of agreement.
American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers president and CEO Chet Thompson and American Petroleum Institute Executive Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer Marty Durbin both expressed optimism about working with the Trump administration especially when it comes to regulatory reform and the America First Energy plan.

Topics of discussion included potential for high octane/low carbon fuels, state low carbon fuel programs, electric vehicles, CAFE standards, global climate initiatives, and the regulatory landscape for petroleum and gas extraction.

Always an interesting conversation when Bob Dinneen engages with sometimes competing stakeholders in the fuel production and marketing sectors. Listen here: #RFANEC Future of Fuels Policy Panel

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“State of U.S. #Ethanol Industry is Strong”

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Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Bob Dinneen gave his annual State of the Industry address at the National Ethanol Conference today, addressing more than 1,000 attendees in San Diego.

Last year was “a record year for production, a record year for net exports, a record year for domestic demand, and a record year for E15 sales and infrastructure build-out. It was, in short, a pretty darn good year,” said Dinneen. “Thus, I can once again say with great confidence and respect for what you have been able to accomplish that the state of the U.S. ethanol industry is strong, poised for continued growth, steeled for the challenges we know will persist, but resolute in our commitment to consumers seeking relief and choice at the pump, farmers in need of value-added markets for their commodities, and Americans all across the country concerned about the air we breathe and the national security threat posed by our stubborn dependence on imported energy.”

Read Dinneen’s remarks as prepared for delivery

Listen to the full state of the industry speech or watch the video below:
2017 State of the Ethanol Industry Address

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Global #Ethanol Production Stable

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The latest Global Ethanol Production Forecast from the Global Renewable Fuels Alliance (GRFA) and F.O. Licht predicts the global ethanol sector will remain strong in 2017, with total production peaking at 97.80 billion litres this year.

The forecast shows a stable global outlook for ethanol production as a whole, “with some fluctuations in major ethanol producing regions as a result of evolving government policies and varied domestic growing conditions,” according to GRFA president Bliss Baker.“Ethanol’s value as an immediately dispatchable transport fuel alternative to fossil fuels represents a key policy option with enormous growth potential,” said Baker.

The global transport sector has the lowest renewable energy share of any sector, while representing 25-30% of global emissions. Recent reports have concluded that current national policies aimed at reducing CO2 emissions from global transport activity will not achieve climate targets and that governments will have to redouble efforts to meet steeper targets in coming years.

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New Enzyme From Novozymes Can Boost Ethanol Yields

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Novozymes is launching a new line of advanced enzymes to increase ethanol yields by converting sugar that would otherwise be wasted.

The Spirizyme® T Portfolio is an advanced suite of glucoamylase enzymes with trehalase and other yield enhancing activities for increased sugar conversion in the industry. Trehalase is an enzyme that converts trehalose, a type of sugar that cannot be fermented to ethanol, to glucose, which is easily fermentable. Trehalose makes up a significant part of the so-called DP2 peak, a measure of residual sugar in an ethanol plant. The more DP2 an ethanol plant can convert; the more ethanol it will produce.

“Reducing residual sugar is key to raise profitability at an ethanol plant. Don’t leave your sugar behind,” says Peter Halling, Vice President – Biofuel, at Novozymes. “The Spirizyme T portfolio provides significant DP2 reduction across the board and offers our customers choice. There are options for plants with specific operating conditions, and plants looking to achieve particular goals, such as shorter fermentation or increasing total yield.”

Novozymes is at the National Ethanol Conference this week and will be sponsoring a presentation on “The Buzz on Big Data: Driving Plant Profitability through Better Data Management” today so stay tuned for our coverage from that event.

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Industry Comments on Pruitt Confirmation

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The biofuels industry welcomed Senate approval last week of Scott Pruitt to be the next administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

“As Mr. Pruitt said during his confirmation hearing last month, ‘To honor the intent and the expression of the Renewable Fuel Standard statute is very, very important.’ We could not agree more,” said Renewable Fuels Association president Bob Dinneen. “While the RFS remains our priority, we will also continue advocating for the removal of unnecessary volatility restrictions that have discouraged market acceptance of higher level ethanol blends like E15.”

“We look forward to working with Mr. Pruitt and the EPA as they continue to carry out the Renewable Fuel Standard as enacted by a bi-partisan Congress,” said National Biodiesel Board Vice President of Federal Affairs Anne Steckel. “The RFS is working as intended to deliver jobs and American made energy, a major point of emphasis of the Trump Administration. American-made biodiesel continues to be the fastest growing advanced biofuel in the country and a large portion of that success can be attributed to the success of the RFS.”

“We congratulate Mr. Pruitt on his confirmation and are eager to work with him to help EPA keep the promises that President Trump made about ethanol during the campaign,” said American Coalition for Ethanol Executive Vice President Brian Jennings. “It is imperative that Administrator Pruitt work to help ensure the successful implementation of the Renewable Fuel Standard to drive the use of higher ethanol blends, to maintain the RFS point-of-obligation with refiners and importers, and to lift unnecessary restrictions on ethanol use such as the Reid vapor pressure limit.”

Immediately after his approval, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and four other senators sent a letter to Pruitt asking him to address EPA’s volatility regulation that makes it more difficult to sell ethanol blends above 10% year round. The senators asked the administrator to extend the 1-psi RVP waiver to E15 and other higher ethanol blends, “to eliminate this needless obstacle to consumer choice.”

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