Renewable Fuels Association Elects 2016 Leadership

rfalogo1The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) announced the election of officers for the 2016 Board of Directors at the organization’s annual membership meeting held this week in Omaha, Nebraska.

Randall Doyal, General Manager and CEO at Al-Corn Clean Fuel, has been re-elected to serve as Chairman of the Board of Directors for another year. Doyal’s ethanol facility, which is located in Claremont, Minnesota, produces 50 million gallons of ethanol annually. His experience in the ethanol industry began in 1982 at Mountain Development Company. In addition to Al-Corn Clean Fuel, Doyal serves as Chairman of the Board at Guardian Energy, LLC and the Renewable Products Marketing Group. He previously served as Vice-Chairman and Treasurer of the RFA.

rfa-doyal“I am truly humbled that my peers have, once again, selected me to head the Renewable Fuels Association. The RFA is a strong and vocal advocate for the ethanol industry, and its technical knowledge, political influence, and market acumen are unmatched,” said Doyal. “I look forward to another year of working side by side with RFA’s highly professional staff and other producers to protect the Renewable Fuel Standard and expand market access at home and abroad.”

The RFA membership also elected Mick Henderson, General Manager of Commonwealth Energy in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, as vice chairman. And Jim Seurer, CFO of Glacial Lakes Energy in Watertown, South Dakota was elected treasurer for the organization. Bob Dinneen was also re-elected as president of RFA.

Former MO Senator Chairs New Pro-RFS Group

aesiFormer U.S. Senator Jim Talent from Missouri today launched Americans for Energy Security and Innovation (AESI), a new organization aimed at expanding support for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

“It’s an organization supported by biofuels producers and investors around the country,” said Talent, who notes that the RFS was one of his priorities when he served in the Senate between 2002 and 2007. “I’ve been very pleased by how the policy has worked,” he said.

jim-talent“(The RFS) has helped spark a revolution in value-added agriculture,” said Talent. “It’s had the effect of strengthening family farms and done it without price supports from the federal government … and it’s sparked a lot of privately funded research in biotechnology.”

Talent likens the RFS to a “gigantic strategic petroleum reserve except it doesn’t cost the government anything to maintain, it’s better for the environment, it creates large numbers of jobs and it supports family farming and agriculture across the country.”

Questioned about how this group will differ from the many organizations and coalitions already promoting the RFS, Talent said they planned to work with the other groups but they wanted to have an independent platform and he believes the more voices the better. “If you look at the amount of money being spent by organizations that are not very friendly to the RFS, I think you’ll find it dwarfs what’s being spent in support of it,” Talent said.

Listen to Talent’s announcement here: Former MO Sen. Jim Talent announces new pro-RFS group

California LCFS Opens Opportunities for Biodiesel

nBBThe National Biodiesel Board (NBB) is very pleased with the decision last week by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to readopt the Low Carbon Fuels Standard and the increased role biodiesel will play in that standard.

The new standard finds that biodiesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent and often by as much as 81 percent versus petroleum, giving it the best carbon score among all liquid fuels.

“Biodiesel is the most sustainable fuel on the planet,” said Don Scott, National Biodiesel Board director of sustainability. “Low carbon alternatives can also be low cost alternatives when we use diverse supplies of renewable resources. This validates that California’s carbon reduction goals are obtainable.”

Scott took part in a conference call today with University of California-Davis Extension Agronomist Stephen Kaffka, who is director of the California Biomass Collaborative. “The production of low carbon intensity feedstocks from all sources is important,” said Kaffka. “The fuels that have the best carbon performance are the ones that should have a market in California.”

Kaffka adds that the standard allows for “innovation and competition” to create new fuels from new pathways. “These fuels can come from any number of sources, including agricultural crops, but also the conversion of forest residues, lumber harvesting and thinning, and the recycling and conversion of organic wastes from urban sources,” he said. “Diesel can be made from both crops and from residues of various sorts.”

Listen to the conference call here: National Biodiesel call on California LCFS

Cause of Ethanol Train Derailment Probed

train-derailFederal investigators are looking into why seven ethanol tanker cars derailed in South Dakota over the weekend. No one was injured in the derailment that occurred early Saturday morning, but at least one of the cars caught fire in the accident involving a 98-car Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad train.

Senate Transportation Committee chairman John Thune (R-SD) is watching the investigation closely and says they believe the derailment was caused by a broken rail or structural failure in the small bridge where the incident occurred. “Safety has got to be the highest priority,” said Thune. “These were some of the older model cars that actually derailed and started a fire there.” The Department of Transportation has required updates to fuel transportation cars, including the unjacketed DOT-111 cars which commonly carry ethanol.

“Ethanol should have some different treatment with respect to these cars compared to oil tank cars,” Thune said. “Most of the seven cars that derailed were older models that will require upgrades under these new safety standards.” Five of the seven cars were the DOT-111 models and two were newer jacketed models that will still be required to have some upgrades under the new standards.

New Holland Focus on Clean Energy at Expo Milano

cnh-expo-tractorThe centerpiece outside the New Holland Agriculture Sustainable Farm Pavilion at Expo Milano is a prototype methane-powered tractor that the company is developing to help farmers run their equipment on self-generated energy.

“We are a clean energy leader company,” said New Holland Agriculture Brand president Carlo Lambro. “Methane is really close to zero emission.”

cnh-carlo-welcomeIn addition, Lambro says methane is very economical. “Methane is one of the cheapest fuels that can be found,” he told a group of agricultural bloggers from around the globe during an event at Expo Milano last week.

The prototype tractor on display at Expo is based on a New Holland T6.175 standard tractor and has a total capacity of 300 litres (52kg) compressed methane, enough to operate the tractor for half a day. The biomethane powered tractor can result in fuel savings of 20-40% and has 80% lower emissions than a standard diesel tractor.

Lambro says New Holland is also looking at other alternative fuels. “In North America, we’re working more on the ethanol side as a potential fuel,” Lambro told a group of agricultural bloggers from around the globe during an event at Expo Milano last week. “Methane in Europe, ethanol in the U.S., ethanol from sugarcane in Brazil.”

Listen to Carlo’s discussion with the bloggers here: Carlo Lambro, New Holland Brand President

2015 New Holland Heroes & Bloggers Days

UN Data Shows No Food Price Rise from Ethanol

The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (UN FAO) has released new data showing that global food prices in August experienced the steepest monthly drop since 2008, which casts doubt upon concerns about the impact of ethanol production in food price increases.

global-rfaAccording the the Global Renewable Fuels Alliance (GRFA), the recent decline in food prices coincided with a period of record ethanol production expansion, reaching a high of 94 billion litres in 2014 from 83.5 billion litres in 2012, a 10% increase over this period.

The UN FAO Food Price Index averaged 155.7 points in August, down 5.2% from July, representing the steepest monthly drop since December 2008 with virtually all major food commodities registering marked dips. This drop coincides with a fall in crude oil prices in July of 19%, closing at $48.25USD per barrel on July 31.

The Global Renewable Fuels Alliance (GRFA) has for several years argued that the price of oil and energy inputs are the single most influential drivers of food and commodity prices. A number of international institutions including the World Bank, International Energy Agency (IEA) and United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN FAO) have also recognised the strong relationship between oil prices and food prices.

Read more from GRFA.

Ethanol Report on Growing Biofuels Infrastructure

ethanol-report-adUSDA has announced new funding for biofuels infrastructure at fueling stations and Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) president and CEO Bob Dinneen thinks EPA should pay attention to that message. In this Ethanol Report, Dinneen also comments on what Congress may or may not do the rest of this session, and how another big corn crop makes keeping the RFS on track more important than ever.

Listen to this edition of the Ethanol Report here: Ethanol Report on Growing Biofuels Infrastructure

American Ethanol “Top Gun” at Lake Ozark Shootout

Photo credit - george denny, Lake of the Ozarks Shootout

Photo credit – george denny, Lake of the Ozarks Shootout

American Ethanol made a big splash at the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout held in central Missouri recently.

More than 100,000 spectators gathered to watch nearly 100 boats race along the one-mile course, and the boat crowned as the “Top Gun” was the American Ethanol 51-foot Mystic Powerboats catamaran. The boat, named after its fuel, logged a top speed of 208 mph.

“The American Ethanol catamaran definitively proved that ethanol and marine engines are more than compatible,” said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy. “The team chose to run on ethanol because the fuel performs better and burns cooler than regular gasoline. Unsurprisingly, the second place boat was also powered by homegrown American ethanol,” Buis said.

The driver of the boat, Myrick Coil, said, “This boat accelerated harder than any boat I have ever been in. It was also the biggest boat I have ever driven. Those two things usually don’t go together!”

John Cosker, owner of Mystic Powerboats, added, “All of our hard work leading up to the event paid off when the boat came alive off of the start line and rocketed to a clocked speed of 208 mph. It showed America the power behind American Ethanol.”

The owner of the boat, Don Onken, echoed these sentiments and noted that, “We showcased the potential of American Ethanol at this event, and I’m proud of what we were able to accomplish together. There’s only one thing left to do—figure out how to go faster next year.”

USDA Announces Funding for Biofuel Infrastructure

USDA logoAgriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that 21 states will receive grants through the Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership (BIP) to help provide access to more renewable fuels for America’s drivers.

“The Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership is one approach USDA is using to aggressively pursue investments in American-grown renewable energy to create new markets for U.S. farmers and ranchers, help Americans save money on their energy bills, support America’s clean energy economy, cut carbon pollution and reduce dependence on foreign oil and costly fossil fuels,” said Vilsack.

USDA estimates that the BIP grants will support nearly 5,000 pumps at over 1,400 fueling stations across the country. “Our investment will nearly double the number of pumping systems available across the U.S.,” Vilsack said. According to the list of estimated numbers of pumps that could be installed per state, Florida and Texas will be the biggest beneficiaries with 892 in Florida and 763 in Texas. Minnesota at 620 and Illinois at 428 are the largest recipients in the Midwest.

Secretary Vilsack also challenged conclusions in the American Petroleum Institute report out yesterday that he called “preposterous.”

Listen to Vilsack’s announcement here: USDA Secretary Vilsack biofuels investment

Q and A with reporters: Vilsack answers BIP questions

Ethanol Groups Attack API Report

Ethanol organizations responded Wednesday to what they say is a “flawed study” released by the American Petroleum Institute (API) that concludes “statutory biofuel mandates under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) are infeasible to achieve in 2015 and beyond and could cause severe harm to consumers and the U.S. economy.”

rfalogo1Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Bob Dinneen says the talking points in the study commissioned by NERA Economic Consulting (NERA) are nothing new from the oil industry.

“It’s déjà vu all over again,” said Dinneen. “This study is virtually identical to a study that NERA published for API in 2012. The conclusions of both analyses are completely divorced from reality… API was wrong in 2012, and it’s wrong in 2015.”

“This newest API study contains many of the same fatal flaws that plagued the 2012 study. This study claims that gas prices will rise by $90 a gallon and diesel will rise by $100 per gallon. It foolishly assumes EPA will not ever utilize its cellulosic waiver authority to partially reduce the advanced and total RFS volume requirements. And it also assumes obligated parties would purchase a RIN credit at any price rather than making modest infrastructure investments to expand renewable fuel distribution.”

growth-energy-logo1Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis says that API is “repackaging stale, false talking points” about the RFS. “(D)espite what API claims, over 84 percent of cars on the road today are approved to use E15,” said Buis. “Regardless of what API claims, the bottom line is that ethanol blends help clean the environment, are higher performing, less expensive and directly benefit the consumer by providing a choice and savings.”

Fuels America stressed that API doesn’t speak for fuel retailers who tell a story about the benefits of higher blend fuels. “When consumers have a choice, there is no blend wall,” said Dave Sovereign, owner and operator of the Cresco Fast Stop.

“We need to be supporting homegrown renewables. We need to be blending more ethanol into our fuel supply, not less,” said Cheryl Near, owner of Jump Start gas station in Wichita, Kansas. “We need blender pumps, we need to buy direct from the ethanol plants, and then we can pass our savings on to the consumers.”