US Coachways Major Biodiesel Foundation Funder

us-coach-greenA major motorcoach company has topped $10,000 in donations to the National Biodiesel Foundation, making US Coachways the single largest donor outside the biodiesel industry to date.

“This donation total to date is a landmark amount, and we are exceedingly grateful for US Coachways’ continued commitment to biodiesel research and outreach,” said John Heisdorffer, Foundation president. “On behalf of the researchers, students, instructors, mechanics and others that benefit from the foundation, we thank this company for its continued generous support.”

Headquartered in Staten Island, New York, US Coachways is a family owned and operated bus and limousine charter company that has made regular monthly contributions to the foundation since 2012. “More people travel by bus than by any other mode of transportation,” said CEO Ed Telmany. “We contribute because we want to see the motorcoach industry become cleaner and more sustainable, and we’d also like to encourage other companies to put their commitment to sustainability into action by making donations to this foundation.”

Telmany said the contributions also show their customers that the company is motivated to help the transportation industry improve air quality.

Ethanol Report as Summer Begins

ethanol-report-adThe kickoff of summer this Memorial Day weekend finds beaches in Santa Barbara California closed as oil spreads off shore and workers try to clear up the mess left by the spill. Elsewhere, the oil industry continues to spread misinformation about ethanol, keeping RFA busy working to clear up misconceptions as fast as they happen.

In this Ethanol Report, Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen talks about a new report showing RIN credits have no impact on the price of gas, how E10 is safe for boaters, and when he expects to see the long overdue EPA proposal for volume obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Ethanol Report as Summer Begins

Ethanol Trade Missions to Expand Markets

Representatives of the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), and Growth Energy were in Tokyo this week for an industry market assessment of the potential to export U.S. ethanol to Japan.

growth-exports“The United States exported 900 million gallons of ethanol in 2014, supporting both U.S. farmers and the ethanol industry. We know that, going forward, ethanol exports have the potential to grow and become equally beneficial for our customers overseas,” said USGC president and CEO Tom Sleight. “USGC, Growth and RFA are committed to launching initiatives in 2015 and 2016 to build demand for U.S. ethanol and address barriers to ongoing imports.”

Over the next two years, the government of Japan will be undertaking a full review of its national energy policies, including biofuels, potentially opening up opportunities for additional ethanol exports there.

“The team came away with a much greater understanding of the current Japanese requirements and market conditions pertaining to ethanol and began the implementation of a strategy to help ensure that U.S. ethanol receives fair market access under the future energy policy that will be adopted when the current policy expires in 2017,” said Jim Miller, chief economist and vice president of Growth Energy.

“The team will continue examining the requirements of the Japanese sustainability standards, looking for ways to overcome infrastructure concerns, and compiling data responding to some of the misinformation government officials still hold regarding renewable fuels,” added RFA’s director of regulatory affairs, Kelly Davis.

Last week, the organizations were part of a mission with USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service in Mexico to explore potential in that market. One mission member, Greg Krissek, CEO of Kansas Corn, reflected on the trip in this video from the USGC.


Novozymes Part of Global Bioenergy Initiative

sustainableA new UN Sustainable Energy for All initiative was announced this week with the goal of “doubling the global use of renewable energy and ensuring universal energy access by 2030.”

Co-chaired by the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials, the initiative includes Novozymes, a global technology provider for the biofuels industry, as a partner in the project to scale up the development and deployment of sustainable bioenergy solutions.

novozymes“With this initiative, we help bring together a diverse range of global frontrunners to advance the development and use of sustainable bioenergy in countries where the environmental and socio-economic benefits are greatest,” said Thomas Videbæk, Executive Vice President for Business Development with Novozymes. “It is a unique chance to involve governments, industry, financial institutions, academia, and civil society to identify opportunities where action on sustainable bioenergy can be accelerated.”

Accounting for nearly half of the global enzyme market, Novozymes has been a major player in the commercial development of cellulosic ethanol. “We produce the enzymes that help break down starch and make sugar available for first generation ethanol and we are working on a number of projects to help breakdown cellulosic material,” said Videbæk in an interview today with DomesticFuel.

Videbæk says next generation biofuels are considered “sustainable bioenergy” under the initiative’s High Impact Opportunity (HIO) goals. “I look at the biofuel area, be it first or second generation, as very sustainable forms of energy,” said Videbæk. “We certainly hope to see that continues going forward.”

Which is one of the reasons Novozymes wanted to be part of this initiative that they hope will help get some regulatory clarity regarding sustainable bioenergy around the world, including the United States. “And we can get politicians to commit to mandates and targets for this type of energy, because we believe that is for the best of the planet’s future,” Videbæk said.

In this interview, Videbæk explains much more about the new initiative and Novozymes’ role in it. Interview with Thomas Videbæk, Novozymes

Ethanol Groups Promote Safe Boating on E10

With the Memorial Day weekend approaching fast, the ethanol industry is assuring boaters that 10% ethanol blended fuel is just fine for marine engines, despite what the American Petroleum Institute says.

In response to an API press call with the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) on Wednesday, Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis noted that “all major manufacturers of outboard and marine motors, as well as small engines, are approved for the use of gasoline blended with up to 10 percent ethanol.”

“What probably does concern boaters is the amount of time they spend dry docked as a result of oil spills, like the one that dumped 21,000 gallons of oil along four miles of coastline in Santa Barbara, California” this week,” said Buis.

rfa-nbra-3Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen adds that “E10 has been used successfully in marine engines for 30 years now” and that the higher octane in the fuel helps with summertime boating activities. “It’s gasoline on steroids, it doesn’t pollute, it’ll pull your jetskier, it’ll pull your tuber, it’ll get you to your favorite fishing hole, and you can know you’re supporting America’s farmers and clean water,” said Dinneen.

Dinneen’s simple advice to boaters concerned about using E10: “Take a look at your owner’s manual.” And check out RFA’s FAQs on ethanol and marine engines.

Listen to Dinneen’s comments about E10 and boating here: RFA CEO on E10 Safe for Boats

Study Shows No RINS Impact on Gas Prices

fuelsA new statistical analysis prepared for the Renewable Fuels Association shows that retail gas prices remain unaffected by the “RIN credit” system under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

According to the analysis, conducted by Informa Economics, Inc., prices for “RIN credits” (Renewable Identification Numbers) used to demonstrate compliance with the RFS had no impact on retail gasoline prices from 2013 through the first quarter of 2015.

Instead, the analysis shows that “…a majority of gasoline price movements can be explained by crude oil prices.” In fact, the study found that gas prices in recent years have been driven almost entirely by crude oil prices and vehicle miles traveled.

RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen says the study “disproves the faulty assertion by oil industry trade groups that RINs somehow negatively influence consumer gas prices.”

“The bottom line is that RINs are free for refiners who purchase and blend required volumes of ethanol with gasoline,” said Dinneen. “Only those refiners who stubbornly refuse to blend required ethanol volumes have a need to buy separated RINs on the open market; and in the highly competitive gasoline marketplace, there is no way they can pass those costs on to consumers and remain competitive with refiners and blenders who are blending more ethanol than required.”

The new Informa analysis also supports the findings of an April study by former White House economic advisor James Stock, who concluded that “…there is negligible estimated effect of RIN prices on pump E10 prices.” Dinneen notes that Stock is a former Office of Management and Budget official who was involved with the approval of EPA’s proposal in November 2013 that called for scaling back the RFS. “I wish he had that revelation when he was at OMB,” said Dinneen.

Dinneen comments on the new analysis in this interview: RFA CEO on RINs/Gas Price Analysis

RFA Honored with 3rd TRANSCAER Award

rfa-transcaerFor the third year in a row the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) was awarded the annual TRANSCAER® Achievement Award for its work training first responders for ethanol-related emergencies.

The award is given to “recognize the achievements of individuals, companies, and organizations which have gone beyond the normal call of duty to advocate, demonstrate and implement the principles of TRANSCAER®.” The volunteer coalition works to ensure the nation’s emergency responders are prepared and educated with the most up-to-date information to handle hazardous material disasters.

RFA established an “Ethanol Safety Seminar” program — in conjunction with TRANSCAER® — to educate emergency responders on the make-up and properties of ethanol as well as proper emergency techniques when responding to potentially harmful scenarios. The curriculum is centered on Ethanol Emergency Response Coalition’s (EERC) “Training Guide to Ethanol Emergency Response,” which has been used over the past five years to educate 4,600 first responders all across the country.

Missy Ruff, RFA’s technical services manager, was on hand to receive the award Tuesday at the AAR/BOE Hazardous Materials Seminar in Addison, Texas.

BIO to EPA: Issue RFS Rule Consistent with Statute

biologoThe Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) today issued comments on the proposed consent decree to resolve oil industry lawsuits against the Environmental Protection Agency over delays in promulgating final rules for annual biofuel volume obligations.

“BIO is supportive of EPA’s commitments contained in the proposed consent decree, which would establish definitive deadlines this year for EPA to take final action on the 2014 RFS rule and proposed and final action on the 2015 RFS rule,” Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section, wrote in the official comments. “EPA should withdraw its proposed 2014 RFS rule and reissue it by June 1, 2015, to include advanced and total renewable biofuel volumes that are consistent with the RFS statute.”

BIO recently released an analysis showing that instability in EPA’s administration of the RFS is responsible for chilling as much as $13.7 billion in investments that the advanced biofuel industry needed to build capacity to meet the RFS goals. The delays in rulemaking have also undercut the industry’s ability to create new employment opportunities, resulting in the loss of more than 80,000 direct jobs.

Corn Ethanol Yields Improve

corn-ethanol-3A new brief from the U.S. Energy Information (EIA) illustrates just how dramatically corn ethanol efficiency has increased in a very short time.

Today in Energy notes that last year fuel ethanol production in the United States reached an all-time high of 14.3 billion gallons of ethanol fuel. “The growth in U.S. fuel ethanol production has outpaced growth in corn consumed as feedstock—as the industry has grown, it has become more efficient, using fewer bushels of corn to produce a gallon of ethanol.”

If ethanol plant yields per bushel of corn in 2014 had remained at 1997 levels (when ethanol made up just 1% of the total U.S. motor gasoline supply), the ethanol industry would have needed to grind an additional 343 million bushels, or 7% more corn, to produce the same volume of fuel. To supply this incremental quantity of corn without withdrawing bushels from other uses would have required 2.2 million additional acres of corn to be cultivated, an area roughly equivalent to half the land area of New Jersey.

The article credits the yield increases to several factors including increased plant scale which has allowed producers to incorporate better process technology, such as finer grinding of corn to increase starch conversion and improved temperature control of fermentation to optimize yeast productivity. Additionally, the development of better enzymes and yeast strains has led to improved output per bushel of corn.

Ethanol Industry Launches RFS Campaign

fuels-rfs-adThe ethanol industry through Fuels America is launching a major advertising campaign in the nation’s capitol this week urging support for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) president and CEO Bob Dinneen says the campaign asks the EPA to choose whether to reward the oil industry for refusing to fulfill its obligations under the law, or to get the RFS back on track by proposing adequate Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) levels. “We intend to make sure that the (EPA) administrator, members of Congress, and the president himself understand the very clear choice that will be made with this impending RVO decision,” said Dinneen during a morning press conference announcing the new campaign.

The campaign includes television advertising during morning news, Sunday morning talk shows, and cable television, as well as a digital campaign that includes a Politico homepage takeover, a Real Clear Politics Energy takeover, and banner ads on Roll Call’s Energy page.

“The question is, is EPA going to – for the first time – waive the RFS if the oil industry refuses to distribute renewable fuels?” said Advanced Ethanol Council executive director Brooke Coleman.

The campaign is in response to a letter from oil industry organizations to the EPA, and a responsive letter from biofuels industry leaders to the EPA last week. The letters agree on one thing: the EPA has a choice to make. Either choose to reward the oil industry for refusing to fulfill its obligations under the law, or choose to get the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) back on track by proposing Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) levels that comport with the spirit and intent of the law.

Fuels America Campaign Launch