MN Biofuels Releases Mid Year Report

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

MN Biofuels executive director Tim Rudnicki and president Brian Kletscher

The Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association (MN Biofuels) released its 2019 First Half Report last week, giving an overview of Minnesota’s ethanol industry in the first six months of 2019 and what they have been doing to help increase ethanol consumption in the state.

MN Biofuels executive director Tim Rudnicki says the report highlights projects in the fields of advocacy, communications and fuel supply in the first half of 2019.

During that period, Rudnicki said MN Biofuels directly engaged with over 58 state and federal lawmakers and agency officials, delivered more than 1.5 million monthly ad impressions promoting E15 in the Twin Cities metro and continued market development initiatives with many of the 352 fuel retailers offering E15 in Minnesota.

Additionally, he said the lifting of the summertime Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) ban on E15 had presented new opportunities.

“This year, as of May 31, E15 sales in Minnesota have hit 29.26 million gallons and with E15 now available throughout the summer, we have launched several promotional campaigns aimed at further increasing E15 consumption this year. Moreover, with E15 now available year-round, there will be new opportunities to increase the number of fuel retailers who offer E15 in Minnesota,” Rudnicki said.

Read the MN Biofuels 2019 First Half Report.

Ethanol, Ethanol News

REG Opens Retail Station in Illinois

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Renewable Energy Group, Inc. this week celebrated the grand opening of the company’s first diesel fueling station in Seneca, Illinois.

“This diesel fueling station is another example of how REG is moving fuel forward by expanding our capabilities,” said Cynthia J. Warner, REG President & CEO. “It gives us another avenue of getting our high quality, clean fuel to new and existing customers.”

REG Seneca, a 60 million gallon-per-year biorefinery located adjacent to the fueling station, will provide the low carbon biodiesel used in the diesel blends between B11 and above.

“More than 17,000 trucks go through REG Seneca each year,” said Gary Haer, Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “We are thrilled that those who help support our industry and the local community can fuel their vehicles right here at this station.”

REG Seneca has been producing biodiesel for over a decade and currently operates with 53 employees in addition to the hundreds of other jobs indirectly supported in agriculture, transportation and energy sectors. The Seneca plant also adds approximately $75 million into the Illinois economy through the purchasing of feedstocks. Last year, biodiesel produced at REG Seneca reduced approximately 556,000 metric tons of CO2 compared to emissions from petroleum diesel.

Biodiesel, REG, Retailers

Japan Receives First Shipment of ETBE from U.S. Ethanol

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The U.S. Grains Council reports a new milestone in the effort to develop new export markets for U.S. ethanol with the first shipment of ethyl tert-butyl ether (ETBE) made with U.S. corn-based ethanol arriving in Japan.

The sale of ETBE, a gasoline component, was made following a policy change by the Japanese government recognizing the positive greenhouse gas (GHG) benefits. The shift allows for U.S. corn-based ethanol to be eligible for production of ETBE brought into Japan, in addition to sugarcane-based ethanol.

Japan will now allow U.S. ethanol to meet up to 44 percent of a total estimated demand of 217 million gallons of ethanol used to make ETBE, or potentially 95.5 million gallons of U.S.-produced ethanol annually. Japan imports nearly all ETBE from ethanol it uses.

The first ETBE shipment from the United States, purchased by Japan Biofuels Supply LLP, unloaded at Chiba port near Tokyo and then Wakayama port near Osaka. The shipment of 13.5 million gallons represents 2 million bushels of corn demand.

The USGC has been working with ethanol organizations and corn growers to demonstrate the benefits of U.S. ethanol to Japanese officials and members of the Japanese fuel industry, providing detailed scientific information about U.S. ethanol’s production processes and the improvements in carbon intensity. Japan approved use of U.S. ethanol as an oxygenate in April 2018.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, Exports, RFA, USGC

ZimmCast 621 – Ag Media Summit/IFAJ Congress Preview

chuck zimmerman Leave a Comment

This week we have a preview of the upcoming 2019 Ag Media Summit and International Federation of Agricultural Journalists Congress in Minneapolis/Bloomington, Minnesota. This is the largest gathering of agriculture’s top writers, editors, photographers, publishers and communication specialists in the U.S. This year’s dates are July 26-31 for the Congress with AMS overlapping on July 27-31. The last time the two programs were held together was in 2009 in Fort Worth, Texas.

The annual Ag Media Summit includes AAEA The Agricultural Communicators Network, the Livestock Publications Council and the Connectiv Agri-Media Committee. With the addition of IFAJ, more than 700 media and communications professionals are expected to attend.

To help me preview the events I spoke with Carey Brown, Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association and co-chair of the coordinating committee for the events.

Listen in to our conversation. I hope you enjoy it and hope to see you there in a week or so!

Listen to the ZimmCast here: Preview of Ag Media Summit & IFAJ Congress

AAEA, Ag Media Summit, AgWired Animal, AgWired Energy, AgWired Precision, Audio, LPC, Media, ZimmCast

New Studies Show Ethanol GHG Benefits

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Two new studies released this week provide further evidence that grain-based ethanol is significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions and call into question the reliability of recent “land use change” analyses based on flawed satellite imagery-based methodologies, according to the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).

The first new study, conducted by the Laboratory for Applied Spatial Analysis at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE-LASA), exposes fundamental flaws in satellite imagery-based research regarding land use change that was quoted in the EPA’s Second Triennial Report, released in 2018. SIUE-LASA’s review of the data sets and methodologies that were used in the prior research revealed some remarkable errors.

In one example, a body of water was misclassified as deciduous forest and grass pasture, underscoring why the research based on this data should not be used for regulatory decision-making.

The second new study, a worldwide meta-analysis funded in part by the Department of Energy and USDA, determined that corn residue (“stover”) retained on fields—which is the common practice—results in the sequestration of approximately 0.41 metric ton of carbon per hectare per year in the soil. This implies not only that the carbon intensity of corn-based ethanol is significantly below current estimates by EPA, the California Air Resources Board, and others, but also that leaving more residue on the field can have a larger carbon benefit than significant removal and conversion of the residue into ethanol.

Based on this research, properly accounting for the soil carbon sequestration benefits of corn production would reduce the existing lifecycle “carbon intensity score” of corn ethanol by some 20-25 percent, meaning most dry mill corn ethanol produced today would result in a 50-65 percent GHG savings compared to gasoline.

“As the Environmental Protection Agency considers the GHG impacts of expanded ethanol consumption under the Renewable Fuel Standard, we urge them to strongly consider the latest science and data regarding ethanol’s tremendous carbon benefits,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “At the same time, we implore EPA to exercise great caution and prudence when considering the results of flawed land use change studies reliant on data from satellites that, frankly, can’t tell the difference between a pasture and a parking lot.”

View the SIUE report
View the DOE study

corn, EPA, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA, RFS

EPA Schedules Hearing on Proposed RFS Volumes

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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will hold a public hearing in Ypsilanti, MI on July 31, regarding the proposed rule “Renewable Fuel Standard Program: Standards for 2020 and Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2021.

On July 5, EPA proposed a total renewable fuel volume of 20.04 billion gallons, of which 5.04 billion gallons are advanced biofuel, including 540 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel. “Conventional” renewable fuel volumes, primarily met by corn ethanol, would be maintained at the implied 15-billion gallon target set by Congress. EPA proposes to maintain the biomass-based diesel (BBD) volume for 2021 at 2.43 billion gallons.

The proposal was met with harsh criticism by biofuel industry organizations because it fails to reallocate small refinery exemptions and ignores a court order to restore improperly waived gallons.

The hearing will be held at the Ann Arbor Marriott Ypsilanti in Ypsilanti, MI and will begin at 9:00 a.m. and end when all parties present who wish to speak have had an opportunity to do so.

EPA, Ethanol, Ethanol News

Corn Growers Continue Call for #NoMoreWaivers

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The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) is continuing to call on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to follow President Trump’s commitment to farmers and stop giving Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) waivers to big oil companies.

NCGA is re-running a television ad that first aired last month after President Trump visited an Iowa ethanol plant and heard from NCGA first vice president Kevin Ross. During the event, Ross thanked the President for delivering on his promise to farmers but told him that “The EPA’s oil refinery waivers threaten to undo your good works.”

NCGA members are in Washington, D.C. this week for Corn Congress and meetings with lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Farmers will be urging policymakers to support legislation in the House, H.R. 3006, and Senate, S. 1840, that would seek to stop waiver abuse and address the harm these waivers are causing.

Since early 2018, EPA has granted 53 RFS small refinery exemptions (SREs), or waivers, totaling 2.61 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons of renewable fuel. There are currently 39 refinery exemption petitions pending for the 2018 compliance year. NCGA has highlighted 39 reasons why the EPA should not grant additional waivers.

Watch the ad below.

AgWired Energy, corn, EPA, Ethanol, NCGA

Mexican Fuel Marketers Learn From Iowa Ethanol Tour

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Mexican fuel marketers who took part in an ethanol industry tour last week in Iowa are excited about incorporating what they learned to offer ethanol blends in their businesses back home.

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) and Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) organized the tour in conjunction with the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) to show nine decision-makers from key Mexican retail and supplier groups how ethanol blends have been successfully and profitably incorporated across Iowa.

Tour leaders Ron Lamberty, ACE Senior Vice President, and Lucy Norton, IRFA Managing Director, said participants were engaged and enthusiastic about the prospect of adding ethanol blends.

“The week’s events exceeded our expectations,” Lamberty said. “We wanted this tour to end any lingering doubt these marketers might have about implementing ethanol blends in Mexico. After seeing stations and equipment just like theirs being used to sell E10, and hearing station operators say they’ve sold ethanol profitably for decades without any issues, some who attended plan to do tests in the next several months, and when those tests go well, we’ll encourage those marketers to share their success stories with peers in Mexico, as ACE has done to develop markets in the U.S.”

“We see this trip as just the beginning of a long relationship that leads to a new ethanol market in Mexico,” Norton said. “We were fortunate to have such an influential group participate that represented about 500 million gallons of fuel sales and distribution. IRFA was proud to showcase Iowa’s 40 years of success in marketing ethanol-blended fuels.”

Several tour attendees said they are ready for the many benefits ethanol can bring to Mexico, including lower-fuel costs, improved air quality, and quality fuel.

Click to read some comments about the tour from participants.

ACE, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Iowa RFA, Retailers

Phibro Ethanol Performance Group Offers New Yeast Products

Carrie Muehling Leave a Comment

New yeast products from Phibro Animal Health Corporation‘s Ethanol Performance Group feature improved technology.

“Ethanol production is a very efficient industry. The technology keeps improving and lately yeast has been driving those improvements,” said Michael Giambalvo, President, Phibro Ethanol Performance Group. “We understand fermentation, preventing and managing plant infections and the key role of yeast in biofuel production. Yeast has been at the core of Phibro’s businesses for decades.”

A longtime industry leader in antimicrobials, Phibro Ethanol Performance Group provides solutions for ethanol producers based on its core competencies of fermentation, infection management and co-products for animal feed. Products include processing aids, cleaning aids, corn oil recovery and now its proprietary yeast products. PhibroADY™ and FortiPhi™ yeast products represent the latest product offerings by Phibro Ethanol Performance Group.

PhibroADY was developed for ethanol production, using a specially selected Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain. PhibroADY demonstrates robust performance across a wide range of operating conditions. With high temperature tolerance, organic acid tolerance, and high gravity substrate tolerance, this yeast has an efficient performance characteristic allowing for higher ethanol production. PhibroADY has a fast fermentation kinetic and also demonstrates superior longevity, remaining viable late in fermentation.

FortiPhi, a specialized nutritional supplement for industrial yeast, is specifically designed for grain mash fermentations producing ethanol. FortiPhi contains premium organic and inorganic compounds intentionally chosen to help improve the fermentability of standard grain mashes. The inclusion of inactivated yeast culture, vitamins and essential minerals provide a balanced supplement to help support yeast growth and metabolism.

“In recent years, the market has shifted. Ethanol producers are more interested in GMO technologies because of the multiple benefits they provide. Producers have recognized the value in yeast that will express enzymes and contribute to higher yields,” said Jenny Forbes, Vice President, Products and Services, Phibro Ethanol Performance Group. Phibro is responding to this market need with an entirely new higher performance yeast due out later this year. Initial tests have proven promising for Phibro’s next generation genetically engineered yeast product that is under development. This next-gen yeast will enhance yeast robustness and performance, while reducing processing costs such as enzymes.

“We have been a leader in the ethanol production industry for many years, and we’ve been very fortunate to be able to grow with our customers,” said Giambalvo. “This is just the natural progression in providing more solutions to meet the needs of our customers. Phibro’s innovations in yeast will help the industry achieve higher productivity, higher efficiency and process optimization. If you’re not innovating, you fall behind.”

biofuels, Ethanol, phibro, Renewable Energy

Mexican Retailers Touring Iowa Ethanol Supply Chain

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Representatives from the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) and Iowa Renewable Fuels Association are leading Mexican retailers on a tour across Iowa this week to see how U.S. ethanol is made, distributed, and sold. The groups are working with the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) in an effort to show Mexican retailers the opportunities for sourcing, marketing, and retailing ethanol-blended gasoline as Mexico’s transportation sector evolves and they implement blends up to E10.

The trade mission group will visit a farm, ethanol plant, fuel terminal, bulk fuel storage facility and terminal, and a handful of retail and convenience store stations. In addition to tours of these locations, Mexican marketers will get the opportunity to sit down with key representatives of the businesses and gain information they can use in their own operations in Mexico. The tour will also include meetings with a design, construction and equipment installation company for retail stations and bulk storage facilities, as well as meetings with several ethanol marketers from across the region.

The tour is happening in Iowa this week as the 2019 BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology is being held in Des Moines.

ACE, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Iowa RFA