Santorum Visits Quad County Cellulosic Ethanol Plant

qccp-santorumRepublican presidential candidate and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum visited the site of the first commercial cellulosic ethanol production in the state of Iowa at Quad County Corn Processors (QCCP) Friday.

“One of the things that’s helped rural small towns and farmers, particularly in Iowa, is the Renewable Fuel Standard,” said Santorum, who met with met with plant representatives, including QCCP CEO Delayne Johnson, who share how they recently passed the two-million gallon milestone for cellulosic ethanol production using Syngenta’s Cellerate™ process technology.

“We are excited to have achieved our goal of producing 2 million gallons per year of cellulosic ethanol, and are on target to continue, or increase, this production level going forward,” Johnson said. “We’re now focusing on growing alliances and relationships within the industry.”

During 2014, QCCP achieved EPA certification to generate D3 Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) for cellulosic ethanol. According to Johnson, the generation of D3 RINs helps fulfill advanced and cellulosic requirements set forth by the RFS. QCCP is among the first companies to issue D3 RINs, which has also enabled the company to expand sales into racing and advanced biofuels markets.

Santorum met with Johnson and others at the plant to discuss renewable fuels policy and see first-hand the innovative process technology that has enabled QCCP to become a leader in cellulosic ethanol production. Sen. Santorum also called for investment in flex fuel infrastructure to increase access to biofuels – which he believes would provide consumers with increased access to the fuel marketplace and allow greater market competition.

American Ethanol Helps Celebrate Higher Blends

protec-usda-citgoThe American Ethanol No. 3 NASCAR display provided the perfect backdrop last week in Florida for the Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership announcement that means 5,000 new higher blend ethanol pumps in 21 states.

Growth Energy co-chairman Tom Buis says the American Ethanol NASCAR racing sponsorship has proven the performance of 15 percent ethanol blends over the past five years. “Almost eight million miles have been put on the NASCAR race cars in that five year time frame and not a single problem,” said Buis as the race car revved up to be loaded back on the trailer.

Buis congratulated Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack for his vision in helping to coordinate public-private partnerships to increase higher ethanol blends in the market place. “That creates competition,” said Buis. “Let the consumer make the choice. No one’s forced to buy higher blends.”

Interview with Tom Buis, Growth Energy

USDA-Protec Fuel Biofuel Pump Funding Announcement photos

Ethanol Report on Latest Industry News

ethanol-report-adThere were some big ethanol industry announcements this week, most of them good, and I caught up with Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) president and CEO Bob Dinneen to get his comments on the latest news.

In this edition of the Ethanol Report, Dinneen comments on the DuPont cellulosic plant opening, how USDA and Protec Fuel are helping to increase higher ethanol blend pumps, attacks on the RFS by the oil industry and the new Fuels America campaign to fight back, and Dr. Ben Carson’s answer to an ethanol-related question during the GOP debate. Dinneen also talks about what he will be doing in the month ahead as the days countdown to the EPA’s scheduled release of volume obligations under the RFS.

Listen to this edition of the Ethanol Report here: Ethanol Report on current ethanol news

DuPont Celebrates Opening of Cellulosic Ethanol Plant

dupont-plantDuPont celebrated the opening of its cellulosic biofuel facility in Nevada, Iowa on Friday with a ceremony including industry representatives and many dignitaries. The biorefinery is now officially the world’s largest commercial cellulosic ethanol plant, with the capacity to produce 30 million gallons per year from corn stover – the stalks, leaves and cobs left in a field after harvest.

“Iowa has a rich history of innovation in agriculture,” said Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad. “Today we celebrate the next chapter in that story, using agricultural residue as a feedstock for fuel, which brings both tremendous environmental benefits to society and economic benefits to the state. The opening of DuPont’s biorefinery represents a great example of the innovation that is possible when rural communities, their government and private industry work together toward a common goal.”

“Today, we fulfill our promise to the global biofuels industry with the dedication of our Iowa facility,” said William F. Feehery, president of DuPont Industrial Biosciences. “And perhaps more significantly, we fulfill our promise to society to bring scientific innovation to the market that positively impacts people’s lives. Cellulosic biofuel is joining ranks with wind and solar as true alternatives to fossil fuels, reducing damaging environmental impacts and increasing our energy security.”

The majority of the fuel produced at the Nevada, Iowa, facility will be bound for California to fulfill the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard where the state has adopted a policy to reduce carbon intensity in transportation fuels. The plant also will serve as a commercial-scale demonstration of the cellulosic technology where investors from all over the world can see firsthand how to replicate this model in their home regions.

#Ethanol Blends Help Consumers and Retailers

protec-citgo-signThe price sign at the Citgo station in Kissimmee Wednesday told the real story of how higher ethanol blends can save consumers money at the pump and it helps the retailers as well.

“It’s been a great thing for us,” said Paul Przychocki of Mid-State Energy, which owns the Kissimmee station and several others. “This store is considerably up over last year, in the last 4-5 months since we put the E85/E15 combination in.”

Przychocki partnered with Protec Fuel to install the new pumps at the Kissimmee station with the help of USDA Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership funding. “This is the third site that we’ve done with Protec and every time we’ve done a site it’s taken off,” he said.

Listen to an interview with Przychocki here: Interview with Paul Przychocki, Mid-State Energy

Protec Fuel's Steve Walk, Citgo station owner Paul Przychocki, and Protec CEO Todd Garner

Protec Fuel’s Steve Walk, Citgo station owner Paul Przychocki, and Protec CEO Todd Garner

Protec Fuel CEO Todd Garner says they are happy to help retailers like Przychocki bring higher ethanol blends to consumers. “We’ve been doing this since 2006, since the original RFS, and trying to get higher blend ethanol out to our customer base,” he said. That’s why they are so pleased with the USDA grant funding announced this week in Kissimmee. “It costs the stations a lot of money and we’re fortunate that the government and USDA have taken the initiative to allow consumers to participate in lower cost, higher blend fuels,” said Garner.

Garner says continued support for the Renewable Fuel Standard is crucial to increase market penetration for renewable fuels. “It’s really important because it’s going to allow us to beat that blend wall,” he said. “I think we just need to come to a middle ground and make both sides fairly happy because ultimately the consumer is going to benefit.”

Listen to my interview with Todd here: Interview with Protec Fuel CEO Todd Garner

USDA-Protec Fuel Biofuel Pump Funding Announcement photos

Fuels America Launches New Ad Campaign

Fuels America is launching a new seven-figure TV and digital ad campaign today urging President Obama to make a choice between the oils industry and renewable fuels for the future.

fuels-americaThe campaign depicts President Obama’s choice of who to listen to when it comes to the Renewable Fuel Standard: his own experts who have repeatedly shown that ethanol and renewable fuel is dramatically reducing carbon emissions, or the oil industry, which has spent decades covering up the science and facts on both renewable fuel and climate science.

“President Obama’s choice on the Renewable Fuel Standard is clear. He can choose to listen to Big Oil’s distortions and lies, or he can listen to his own scientists who have shown that the RFS significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions,” said Brent Erickson, Executive Vice President at BIO.

“The truth is that slashing the amount of clean, domestic renewable fuel in our motor fuel supply would dramatically increase pollution and carbon emissions, while strengthening the RFS and building on the progress of the past 10 years would help in our efforts to combat climate change,” said National Corn Growers Association president Chip Bowling, a Maryland farmer.

The 30-second TV spot and digital ads are both airing in the Beltway. The campaign follows aggressive attempts by oil industry-funded special interest groups API and Smarter Fuel Future to discredit the climate benefits of renewable fuel—and as usual, their claims are false and wholly unsupported.

Listen to Erickson and Bowling announce the new campaign here: New Fuels America campaign

Funds Help @ProtecFuel Expand Ethanol Pumps

vilsack-steveWednesday was a big day for Protec Fuel as Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced funding to increase retail pumps for higher ethanol blends in 21 states through the Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership.

“Now it’s finally official,” said Protec Fuel VP of Operations and Business Development Steve Walk. “The funds will be dispersed to the respective states, projects can start and they’re going to be done by the end of next year. The fuel industry is really going to change in the next 12 months.”

In Florida, where Protec is based, that means an additional 150 retail pumps offering E15 and/or E85 for motorists. Nationwide, it amounts to some 5,000 additional stations in 21 states.

Listen to my interview with Steve here: Interview with Steve Walk, Protec Fuel

USDA-Protec Fuel Biofuel Pump Funding Announcement photos

What Ben Carson Said About Ethanol in Debate

carson-debateDuring Wednesday night’s CNBC Republican presidential candidates debate, Dr. Ben Carson was asked about a comment he made to the Des Moines Register earlier this year that he would “probably be in favor” of using oil subsidies to increase pumps for ethanol blends.

The question posed by the CNBC moderator was “Isn’t that just swapping one subsidy for another?”

Carson responded by saying he was “wrong about taking the oil subsidies” and that “the best policy is to get rid of all government subsidies and get the government out of our lives.”

“All this too big to fail stuff and picking winners or losers, this is a bunch of crap,” said Carson.

Listen to Carson’s answer here: Ben Carson answers oil subsidies question

Carson said nothing about ethanol in his answer but America’s Renewable Future State Director, Eric Branstad issued a statement to clarify that ethanol does not receive government subsidies, “while the oil industry does and has for the past 102 years.”

“Iowans want a candidate who will take the time to learn about the issue, not just repeat the oil industry’s talking points,” said Branstad. “We hope that next time he comes to Iowa, Dr. Carson will actually meet with farmers so he can get a better understanding of the full issue and that he will choose to side with Iowa farmers instead of Big Oil.”

USDA Announces Biofuels Infrastructure Funds

vilsack-protecAgriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was at a Citgo station in Kissimmee, Florida today to announce a USDA partnership to increase fueling pumps for biofuels in 21 states through the Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership (BIP).

The investment will nearly double the number of fueling pumps nationwide that supply renewable fuels to American motorists. “The Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership is one more example of how federal funds can be leveraged by state and private partners to deliver better and farther reaching outcomes for taxpayers,” said Vilsack.

The 21 states participating in the BIP include Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. The final awards being announced today are estimated to expand infrastructure by nearly 5,000 pumps at over 1,400 fueling stations.

Vilsack was joined by representatives from Growth Energy and Florida-based Protec Fuel to make the announcement. “We’re very excited about this USDA program because we’re going to be opening up sites in other parts of Florida, as well as across the country,” said Protec Fuel VP of Operations and Business Development Steve Walk. “What this program is going to help us do is help speed up the growth” of stations offering higher ethanol blends.

Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis congratulated Protec Fuel and thanked Secretary Vilsack for his support of renewable fuels. “The Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership is helping us to further leverage industry funds to gain measurable market access in a far timelier manner than we could accomplish otherwise,” said Buis.”

Listen to remarks from Walk, Buis and Vilsack here: Secretary Vilsack announces biofuels infrastructure funding

Vilsack remarks to the media: Secretary Vilsack comments on Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership

USDA-Protec Fuel Biofuel Pump Funding Announcement photos

White Paper Released on Farm Income and the RFS

Leaders of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and the National Farmers Union (NFU) jointly released a new white paper Thursday on how the EPA’s proposed rule for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is threatening farm income and rural economies across the United States.

ncga-smallerThe paper cites the latest USDA data on net cash income for American farmers and ranchers, which is forecast to decline by 26 percent in 2015 from peak levels in 2013, as proof that the EPA proposal is impacting the farm economy. “That devastating forecast is worse than originally projected, and it represents the lowest farm income levels in nearly a decade, and it could get worse,” says the paper.

“There are factors other than the RFS,” said NCGA president Chip Bowling of Maryland. “(But) it has changed the basis, the price received for our corn, it has changed the way we’re buying equipment … most of that is due to the uncertainty in the Renewable Fuel Standard.”

nfu_logo2EPA is expected to release the final rule at the end of November and NFU president Roger Johnson says they have heard nothing to indicate they will change that time line. “They agreed to that in the court order,” said Johnson. “It’s hard to say what to expect from them.”

Johnson stressed that the so-called blend wall should not be included in any determination for volume requirements under the RFS. “When the RFS was put in place it was never intended that it would stop at ten percent,” he said. “It was always the intent that it would go way beyond ten percent.”

Bowling says corn growers have responded to the demand for more corn to produce ethanol and another record crop is expected this year. “We’re still expecting yields of 162 bushels per acre at minimum,” said Bowling. “We have carry over that’s growing and without a strong Renewable Fuel Standard demand for corn is going to decrease.”

Listen to the announcement from NCGA and NFU here: Press call on RFS/farm income white paper