Nebraska Ethanol Helps Fuel the Cure

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In the past two years, Nebraska fuel retailers and drivers have raised more than $13,000 for cancer research as part of Fuel the Cure, which has gone to fund efforts at centers in the state.

During October, when drivers chose higher blends of ethanol fuel like E15, E30 and E85 at participating retail locations, gas stations donated 3 cents for each gallon sold. The Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center in Omaha received $6,190.47 and the June E. Nylen Cancer Center received $500, thanks to a generous match from Siouxland Ethanol.

“Fuel retailers know that regular and premium gasoline is harmful to the air we breathe. By making higher ethanol blends available, they are empowering consumers to help make a difference. Supporting Fuel the Cure is a step beyond because the funds are directly impacting lives of patients at the Cancer Center,” said Roger Berry, administrator for the Nebraska Ethanol Board.

While 2019 Fuel the Cure has ended, the Nebraska Ethanol Board is already preparing for next year’s event and would encourage Nebraska fuel retailers who are interested in participating to reach out.

Ethanol, Ethanol News

Ethanol Industry Mourns Loss of Randy Ives

Cindy Zimmerman 1 Comment

Family and friends surround Randy Ives in August 2019

The ethanol industry lost a pioneer and a great friend this week as Randy Ives, 63, of Omaha, Nebraska has passed away after a courageous battle with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Ives was a U.S. Grains Council (USGC) delegate and a key figure in the development of distiller’s dried grain with solubles (DDGS) and ethanol market development programs. In the mid-90s, Ives became one of the co-founders of ICM with Dave Vandergriend, serving as vice president and then president of ICM Marketing. He went on to work with United Bio Energy, Hawkeye Gold, Gavilon, and Pellet Technology USA.

“Randy was a dear friend and mentor to many of us in the ethanol industry, and he will be remembered as a dedicated and passionate advocate for ethanol and value-added agriculture,” said Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “He was one of the first people I met in the industry more than 15 years ago and I learned a great deal from him over the years. Randy’s tireless efforts to promote the value and benefits of distillers grains and other co-products were instrumental in creating new markets and growth opportunities for the ethanol industry. He will be sorely missed.”

In August, Ives was honored by the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) for his work on behalf of the ethanol industry and he accepted the award with his wife and daughter by his side and many friends who shared his impact on their lives and the industry.

Randy is survived by his wife Denise of 39 years, daughter Gabriella, son-in-law Alex and grandson Micah; son Grant, daughter-in-law Sabraand and granddaughter Sadie. His celebration of life will be on Saturday, Dec. 21 at 1:00 pm at Citylight Church (3401 Oakview Drive, Omaha, NE).

Listen to an interview with Randy conducted in August 2019.
Interview with Randy Ives at 2019 ACE Conference

ACE, Audio, Distillers Grains, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA, USGC

Corn Growers Seek Action on Ethanol and USMCA

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Leaders of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and state corn organizations held a news conference Wednesday morning to urge the Trump Administration and members of Congress to finish the job on outstanding trade and ethanol issues important to corn farmers.

The past year has presented a perfect storm of challenges for America’s corn farmers. While there have been positive developments, such as the trade agreement with Japan and the long-awaited approval of year-round E15, there are still outstanding issues that, if adequately addressed, would provide some much-needed certainty to corn farmers.

Corn grower leaders called on President Trump to follow through on his commitment to farmers and the RFS, conclude China trade negotiations with a positive outcome for agriculture, and for Congressional leaders to reach an agreement with the Administration and pass USMCA.

Participating in the press conference were NCGA president Kevin Ross of Minden, Iowa; Patty Mann, Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association; and Jim Greif, Iowa Corn Growers.

NCGA press call
Audio, corn, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Exports, NCGA, Trade

Analyst Caps Ethanol Demand at 15 Billion Gallons

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The most popular session at the annual ASTA CSS & Seed Expo is always the agricultural economy update by Dan Basse, AgResource Company, and this year was no exception as he opened the general session for the seventh year.

Basse offered his insights on this year’s yields, impact of African Swine Fever in China, the ABU countries (Argentina, Brazil, Ukraine), and much more.

When it comes to demand drivers for U.S. corn and soybeans, Basse says they are mostly flat at this point, including ethanol, which he calls now “mature” and sees little or no growth going forward.

“When I get to 2022, I still believe we’re going to be looking at 14 and a half or 15 billion gallons of ethanol, no matter what politicians do,” said Basse, in response to a question after his remarks.

Listen to the question and answer here:
ASTACSS19 Dan Basse, AgResource, ethanol comments

Listen to Basse’s full presentation and interview with highlights below:
ASTACSS19 Remarks by Dan Basse, AgResource

ASTACSS19 Interview with Dan Basse, AgResource

2019 ASTA CSS & Seed Expo photos

Audio, corn, Ethanol, Ethanol News

Trade Groups Push Congress on Biodiesel Tax Extension

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Executives from nearly a dozen national trade associations sent a letter to Congressional leaders last week highlighting the urgent need for Congress to extend the expired biodiesel tax incentive before the end of the year.

The groups included the National Biodiesel Board, American Soybean Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, National Farmers Union, Advanced Biofuels Association, among others.

The association executives state in the letter, “There is broad bipartisan support for the biodiesel tax credit, and we believe that Congress can, and must, pass an immediate extension before returning home at the end of the year.”

“America’s farmers and rural communities are facing overwhelming economic uncertainty right now due to policy instability. They are waiting for Washington to complete work on trade deals and stabilize markets for U.S. agricultural output in China, Canada and Mexico. The economic hardships are spreading throughout the economy,” the executives write.

“One thing Congress can do before the end of the year to help rural economies and provide some policy stability is extend the expired biodiesel and renewable diesel tax incentive.”

Kurt Kovarik, NBB’s VP of Federal Affairs, adds, “Biodiesel producers simply can’t wait any longer. Ten facilities have been shuttered this year, and more are on the verge of making that painful decision. More than 250 million gallons of production is now offline, idling hundreds of workers and impacting thousands of jobs. Our industry needs Congress to act before the end of the year to stop more shutdowns and job losses.”

advance biofuels, Biodiesel, biofuels, NBB

RFA Stresses Ethanol Benefits at COP25

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The Renewable Fuels Association told world leaders meeting this week in Madrid that low-carbon ethanol is an economical and proven solution for fighting global climate change.

RFA Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Kelly Davis is attending the U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP25) with a small delegation of U.S. farm and biofuel industry leaders to promote the environmental benefits of ethanol for the world. “Renewable fuels like ethanol hold tremendous promise for helping individual countries meet their GHG reduction commitments, while also stimulating rural and farm economies and reducing oil dependence,” Davis said. “We have established new relationships and strengthened existing bonds this week, and I look forward to continuing our work together to expand the global market for low-carbon renewable fuels.”

RFA is highlighting a recent study by Life Cycle Associates that found biofuel consumption under the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) has already resulted in greenhouse gas emissions reductions of nearly 600 million metric tons, far exceeding the Environmental Protection Agency’s original expectations. In addition, Davis is sharing recent USDA research that shows today’s corn ethanol reduces GHG emissions by 43% compared to gasoline, with the potential reduction reaching up to 70% in the next three years.

Finally, RFA is also sharing information showing that ethanol has played an important role in achieving California’s GHG reduction goals under the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). Ethanol is responsible for reducing California GHG emissions by 21 million metric tons—or nearly 40% of the total emissions reductions achieved to date under the LCFS.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, Exports, International

Iowa Governor Moves State Vehicles to B20

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During an appearance at the Iowa Farm Bureau annual meeting in Des Moines Tuesday, Governor Kim Reynolds signed an executive order requiring that all new state vehicles with diesel engines must be approved to run on B20 biodiesel (a blend of 20% biodiesel and 80% petroleum-based diesel) or more

“Biodiesel is a growing and vital industry in Iowa, and I will always work tirelessly for the continued expansion of the biofuels market,” said Gov. Reynolds. “Ethanol and biodiesel remain essential to the health of the agricultural economy, sustainable environmental commitments and employ thousands of Iowans. I am proud to stand alongside Iowa Farm Bureau and key stakeholders in the renewable fuels industry to secure the continued demand for biofuels.”

The executive order is intended to encourage increased production of engines expressly approved for B20, and Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) President Derek Winkel says it sends a strong market signal to diesel engine manufacturers. “If we are serious about reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector and boosting Iowa’s rural economy, we should be looking for new ways to increase biodiesel use. This proclamation by Governor Reynolds sets the state of Iowa on a course to do exactly that by ensuring all new diesel vehicles can use higher biodiesel blends.”

Iowa is the country’s number one producer of biodiesel, producing 365 million gallons in 2018. The state’s 11 plants have the capacity to produce 400 million gallons annually.

Biodiesel, Iowa RFA

Researching Ways to Turn Biorefinery Waste into New Products

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A research team at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology is beginning work on new methods to turn biorefinery waste into valuable industrial products.

A pilot scale testing facility for one of the processes set to be established at SD Mines. Pilot scale processing of corn stover will be performed at Idaho National Lab, SD Mines and Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) to make products such as carbon nanofibers, lactic acid, phenol, and battery grade biocarbon. These valuable products have wide ranging use in industry, from disinfectants to carbon fiber materials to batteries and fuel. The products that can be created with these processes include clean-burning oils, “This can be blended with commercial bio-diesel and used in diesel generators,” says Vinod Amar, Ph.D., a SD Mines research scientist working on the project.

Some of the partnering institutions on this project will also have processing facilities including, Old Dominion University (ODU), Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), Idaho National Laboratory (INL) and Southwest Research Institute (SwRI).

Ethanol, Ethanol News

NBB Asks EPA To Properly Account for SREs

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The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) comments on EPA’s supplemental proposal for 2020 renewable volume obligations urge the agency “to properly account for small refinery exemptions, address the remand of the 2016 standards, and increase the 2021 biomass-based diesel volume.”

NBB is encouraging EPA to use a three-year average of the gallons EPA actually exempted. “Unfortunately, the proposal uses an average of past exemptions recommended by the Department of Energy (DOE) rather than an average of actual volumes waived,” NBB writes. “Because EPA has ignored DOE’s recommendations in each of the past three years, that methodology would only account for about half of the annual impact of recent small refinery exemptions.”

NBB also points out that EPA does not propose to do anything about small refinery exemptions before 2020. “Over 4 billion gallons of demand for biofuels has been lost due to retroactive small refinery exemptions for compliance years 2015 through 2018. This impact has been particularly significant for biomass-based diesel producers because biomass-based diesel RINs can be used to satisfy multiple obligations under the RFS,” NBB writes. “Despite having the means to do so, EPA has not proposed to do anything in the Supplemental Notice to address this massive loss of renewable fuel demand.”

Biodiesel, EPA, NBB

RFA Urges EPA to “Just Follow the Law”

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The comment period on EPA’s supplemental proposal for 2020 renewable volume obligations ended on Friday, and the Renewable Fuels Association’s message in comments submitted was simple when it comes to implementing blending obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard: Just follow the law

RFA’s comments highlight the fact that the Clean Air Act requires EPA to “ensure” that the RFS volumes specified by Congress are fully enforced. By issuing dozens of small refinery exemptions and refusing to reallocate the lost volume, EPA has failed to comply with this legal obligation in recent years.

“The congressional intent is indisputable and unambiguous, and the law is clear,” according to RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “Unfortunately, the EPA has forsaken the law in recent years by failing to ensure the congressionally directed renewable fuel volume requirements are enforced. EPA issued 85 retroactive small refinery exemptions for the 2016-2018 compliance years, undercutting the statutory renewable fuel volumes by a total of 4.04 billion gallons.”

While EPA’s supplemental proposal takes a step in the right direction, it doesn’t go far enough in ensuring that the congressional RFS volumes are fully enforced. “If past is prologue, EPA’s proposal could result in the 15-billion-gallon requirement sliding backward to a requirement for just 14.4 billion gallons in 2020,” according to the comments.

RFA said the agency can get the RFS back on track and uphold President Trump’s commitment to farmers by fully redistributing renewable fuel blending requirements that are waived due to small refinery exemptions.

Cooper talked about RFA’s opinion of the supplemental rule in this interview from the recent NAFB convention.
NAFB19 Interview Geoff Cooper, Renewable Fuels Association (11:10)

Audio, EPA, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Renewable Fuels Association, RFA