The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) recently hosted the 10th Annual Biofuels: Science and Sustainability Tour, taking nearly 40 participants representing members of Congress from around the country on a biofuels journey through the state, including visits to an ethanol plant, biodiesel plant, family farm, soybean crush facility, and an Iowa fuel retailer.
The tour began at the Iowa State Fair with an address from Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig on the importance of renewable fuels and agriculture to the state.
Tour attendees visited Renewable Energy Group’s (REG) newly-expanded biodiesel plant in Ralston and toured the LANDUS Cooperative soybean crush facility next door which supplies the soybean oil REG uses to make biodiesel at the Ralston plant.
The group also heard from National Biodiesel Board Director of Public Affairs and Federal Communications Paul Winters, who discussed federal policies relating to the biodiesel industry – including the biodiesel blenders tax credit and the RFS.
Renewable Fuels Association Executive Vice President Geoff Cooper gave a presentation on how ethanol as a source of fuel octane during a visit to Little Sioux Corn Processors, a 165 million-gallon-a-year ethanol plant in Marcus. Attendees learned about how conventional ethanol is made from corn starch as well as how the plant produces cellulosic ethanol from corn kernel fiber. The tour also included information about ethanol co-products dried distillers grains (DDGs) – a high-protein animal feed – and corn oil, which can be used to produce biodiesel.
IRFA Executive Director Monte Shaw concluded the tour with a presentation on the importance of ethanol to rural economies in the state and the need for a stable Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) as well as year-round sales of E15.