Corn Progress Lagging

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About seven percent of the nation’s corn crop has been harvested so far, but maturity of the crop is running behind average.

Less corn acres have reached the dented or mature stage than the five-year average according to the latest USDA crop progress report. With 86 percent of total corn acres dented by September 17 and mature acres at only 34 percent, corn progress trails the five-year average by four and 13 percentage points respectively.

The number of corn acres harvested also is running about four percent behind last year, given maturity delays. Crop condition remained the same as last week, with 61 percent in good or excellent condition, but that is 13 percent lower than last year at this time.

AgWired Energy, corn, USDA

ACE Webinar Focuses on Market Development

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The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) last week hosted a webinar on market development for higher ethanol blends, including an update on the organization’s market development work and legislative and policy priorities.

ACE Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty also discussed assistance for retailers to start offering higher ethanol blends and a tour of resources on ACE’s FlexFuelForward.com website and Retailer Roadmap resource.

“The strategy behind our FlexFuelForward.com website is that fuel marketers trust information they get from other marketers like themselves,” Lamberty said. “This matches what we have seen on our site; three of the most viewed pages are our featured retailers addressing common questions and concerns of other retailers.”

Lamberty added that the retailers he’s spoken with want others to start selling E15 so consumers become more comfortable with it. Retailers also want a variety of barriers to offering higher blends addressed, including regulatory burdens, the cost and availability of funds, available RIN-less E85, consistent identification of fuel blends, and RVP relief.

ACE, E15, E85, Ethanol

Most Iowans Support Biodiesel and the RFS

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New research released by the Iowa Biodiesel Board finds a strong majority of Iowans support biodiesel and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

About 72 percent of Iowa voters have a positive opinion on biodiesel, according to the research, while 71 percent support the RFS. IBB executive director Grant Kimberly said only three percent had a negative opinion.

“That means the majority of Iowans are interested in using biodiesel, which we hope will encourage more petroleum marketers to incorporate biodiesel into their marketing signage,” said Kimberley.

Of survey respondents who said they use diesel fuel, 96% said they would choose a biodiesel blend over petroleum diesel. In addition, when asked, “Assuming you had a diesel vehicle that could use biodiesel, would you choose a biodiesel blend over petroleum diesel?” About 86 percent of Iowans said “yes: or “probably yes.”

IBB commissioned the public opinion research with Moore Information, which conducted online interviews with 460 registered voters statewide in August.

Biodiesel

Clariant Announces 1st License for Cellulosic Ethanol Technology

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Clariant has signed its first license agreement for sunliquid® cellulosic ethanol technology with Enviral, the largest producer of bioethanol in Slovakia.

Enviral has acquired a license to use Clariant’s sunliquid technology as part of its goal to realize a full scale commercial cellulosic ethanol plant for the commercial production of cellulosic ethanol from agricultural residues. This new plant will be owned and operated by Enviral and is planned to be integrated into the existing facilities at Enviral’s Leopoldov site in Slovakia with an annual production capacity of 50,000 tons. It will use Clariant’s sunliquid technology as well as starter cultures from its proprietary enzyme and yeast platforms to process Enviral feedstock into cellulosic ethanol.

Clariant has also announced a new Business Line Biofuels, as a further step in the commercialization of sunliquid and developing the biofuels business across the board. The sunliquid technology offers a completely integrated process design with integrated production of feedstock, process specific enzymes and simultaneous C5 and C6 fermentation ensure best commercial performance.

Cellulosic, Ethanol, Ethanol News, technology

Iowa Makes $2.8B Grain Deal with Taiwan

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A trade team from Taiwan visited Iowa last week and signed letters of intent to purchase $2.8 billion worth of U.S. grains over the next two years. The deal includes corn, soybeans, wheat, and the ethanol co-product distillers dried grain with solubles (DDGS).

Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB) Director Mark Heckman signed the letter of intent between ICPB and the Taiwan Feed Industry Association, outlining the intention by the Taiwanese to purchase 5.0 million metric tons (197 million bushels) of corn and 0.5 million metric tons of DDGS between 2018 and 2019, at an estimated value of $1.05 billion.

“Taiwan is an important buyer of U.S. corn and co-products,” said Heckman. “Trade matters to our economy and to U.S. farmers who need access to global markets to maintain and expand exports of corn in all forms.”

Congressman Steve King (R-IA) was among those who joined Heckman at the signing in Des Moines. Last month, King met with top Taiwanese officials to discuss agreements to purchase more agricultural goods from Iowa and the rest of the country. “Taiwan’s decision to purchase approximately $2.8 billion of U.S. grains is good news, particularly for Iowa’s corn and soybean producers,” said King.

AgWired Energy, corn, Distillers Grains, Ethanol, Feed, Trade, Wheat

Ethanol Report on E15 Hurricane Help

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Fuel disruptions due to Hurricane Harvey were mitigated somewhat, thanks to an early end to the summer restriction on sales of E15 (15% ethanol fuel) that helped offset gasoline supply shortfalls and limit fuel price spikes.

In this edition of the Ethanol Report podcast, Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen talks about how this should make the EPA rethink the outdated summer volatility regulation that shuts down E15 pumps across the country in the summer months. He also discusses his recent testimony to the EPA that high-octane ethanol blends in optimized engines can help the country meet 2022-2025 fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards, as well as comments on the latest proposed volume obligations under the RFS, and the hypocrisy of Brazil’s tariff on ethanol imports.

Listen to the podcast here: Ethanol Report on E15 Hurricane Help

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AgWired Energy, Audio, Ethanol, Podcasting, RFA

E15 Waiver Helped Ease Gas Supply Issues

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This was the year that summer vacation ended early for E15 (15% ethanol fuel) to help offset gasoline supply shortfalls and limit hurricane-related fuel price spikes.

Normally, it would have been this weekend before EPA’s summer restriction on selling E15 in 38 states was lifted, but right after Hurricane Harvey hit, the agency issued emergency fuel waivers allowing the fuel to be sold early, thanks in part to a request by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA). Since Hurricane Harvey made landfall on Aug. 25, ethanol prices have averaged a 14% discount to gasoline prices (25 cents per gallon).

“Being able to offer E15 to my customers throughout the South, Southeast and Mid-Atlantic these past two weeks has been incredibly helpful as retailers scramble to fulfill demand,” said Steve Walk, vice president of Business Development for Florida-based Protec Fuel, which supplies ethanol blends to more than 200 retailers. “The Gulf Coast region experienced major damage, with refineries that were knocked out slowly coming back online. There continues to be a shortfall of supply, but thanks to EPA’s actions, I have been able to provide E15 to retailers before Sept. 16. That has made a difference in preventing further price increases and ensuring plentiful supply for consumers.”

Beginning Saturday, Sept. 16, consumers in states not covered by the waivers will have unfettered access to E15, thanks to the end of EPA’s summer volatility control season. “While we are glad EPA responded to the requests of RFA to allow early sales of E15, the summer RVP restriction remains as an unnecessary and irrational impediment to rapid expansion of E15 in the marketplace,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “RFA’s top priority continues to be RVP parity, whether that’s through legislative or administrative action…our regulations must be modernized to allow greater access to that asset when it is most needed.”

E15, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA

Bioheat Approved for Downstate New York

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation this week that requires downstate New York counties of Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester to follow New York City’s lead by blending at least five percent biodiesel (B5) Bioheat® fuel into all home heating oil sold by July 1, 2018. Assemblyman Steve Englebright and Senator Phil Boyle sponsored the legislation, which is supported by a broad range of industry and environmental advocates due to its environmental and public health benefits.

“New York has long been a leader in recognizing the environmental, public health and economic benefits of biodiesel, not only in transportation applications but in the heating oil market as well,” said National Biodiesel Board CEO Donnell Rehagen. “We commend Governor Cuomo for signing this important bill that will provide cleaner air for more New Yorkers by improving emissions from heating oil. Increasing the use of Bioheat® in the nation’s largest heating oil market also supports local jobs in the clean energy sector.”

New York City, the largest municipal consumer of heating oil in the country, instituted a citywide 2 percent biodiesel requirement in 2012 that increases to 5 percent on October 1, 2017. Now the entire New York City Metropolitan Area, representing approximately 70 percent of the state’s heating oil market, will have a 5 percent biodiesel blending requirement.

Biodiesel, Bioheat, NBB

Latest USDA Reports Increase Corn Forecast

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The September Crop Production report increased both corn and soybean production by about one percent compared to August, but two hurricanes in the past two weeks mean that data is already dated.

Rainfall from Hurricane Harvey caused flooding in parts of southeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana, impacting data collection activities for the September report, so NASS will collect harvested acreage information in both states for a number of crops in preparation for the October report. Harvested acreage information will be collected from all producers surveyed in Louisiana for corn, Upland cotton, rice, sorghum, soybeans, and sugarcane; and in Texas for corn, Upland cotton, alfalfa hay, other hay, rice, sorghum, and soybeans. Hurricane Irma will impact next month’s reports in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina for Upland cotton, peanuts, and soybeans.

The September World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimate is forecasting increased corn production, greater feed and residual use, higher ending stocks, and lower prices between $2.80 and $3.60 per bushel. National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) president Wesley Spurlock says this just shows the importance of growing markets for corn “whether it be by protecting the Renewable Fuel Standard in Washington or building demand for higher blends around the country.”

Corn used for ethanol for 2017/18 is projected down 25 million bushels at 5.475 billion, based on observed usage during 2016/17 and expectations of lower exports.

corn, Ethanol, Ethanol News, NCGA, RFS, USDA

10 More E15 Locations in Iowa

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With the addition of 10 new locations in the past month, 15% ethanol blended fuel is now available at 135 stations across Iowa.

Kwik Star, a retailer based out of Wisconsin, added E15 to seven Iowa stations. Over the course of the next few years, Kwik Trip – which operates in Iowa under the name “Kwik Star” – intends to add E15 to almost all of its 550 locations in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa.

Iowa-based Kum & Go added E15 to a location in Ames. Kum & Go is actively adding the fuel to all new locations. Motorists can now purchase E15 from 58 Kum & Go stores across Iowa.

The last two locations – Super Mart in Oelwein and Best Food Mart in Des Moines – are independently owned. In addition to E15, Super Mart offers E10 and Best Food Mart offers E85.

“More and more retailers are recognizing that E15 is a lower-cost, higher-performing option that customers want,” said Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Executive Director Monte Shaw. “The fuel is now available in more locations than ever before. It is only a matter of time before it is the number one fuel choice for all motorists across the state.”

Click here for list of all new Iowa E15 locations from IRFA.

E15, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Iowa RFA