Iowa-based Summit Agricultural Group recently broke ground on the first large-scale corn ethanol production facility in Brazil.
The $115 million plant is an international collaboration between Iowa-based Summit Agricultural group and Brazilian agribusiness Fiagril which will utilize process technologies from ICM, Inc. of Colwich, Kansas. The facility is being built near Lucas do Rio Verde in Mato Grosso, a preeminent agricultural state in west central Brazil and the country’s largest producer of corn and soybeans.
Summit CEO Bruce Rastetter speaks at groundbreaking
“This is a significant day for renewable fuels, Brazil and Summit Agricultural Group,” said Summit CEO Bruce Rastetter at the March 29 groundbreaking. “Through Summit’s expertise in sustainable agriculture, investment and renewable energy, we will further realize the enormous corn growing potential of a region that is poised to become a global leader in corn ethanol production.”
Rastetter says the plant will provide value to Brazil by helping to offset the country’s increasing demand for domestic ethanol, which can’t be met by the existing sugarcane ethanol production. In addition, the new corn ethanol production facility will introduce the use of distillers grains for livestock feed to the region.
The plant is expected to be complete by mid-2017.
The latest ethanol and distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) export numbers show Brazil is importing more U.S. ethanol as exports of DDGS continue to decline.
According to Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) analyst Ann Lewis, exports of U.S. ethanol totaled 67.0 million gallons in February, down 23% from January’s 14-month high. “Brazil overtook recent leaders Canada and China as the top destination for U.S. product in February,” Lewis reports. Brazil imported over 22 million gallons of U.S. ethanol in February while exports to Canada were 14.5 mg, up 6% over January volumes and exports to China totaled 8.9 mg, down from 29.4 mg in January. On the import side, only marginal volumes of foreign-produced fuel ethanol have entered the United States so far this year.
Exports of DDGS continued to fall in February, to 785,383 metric tons with China remaining the top destination. Exports of U.S. DDGS to Mexico were down 26%. Other top customers were Vietnam, Thailand, Canada, and South Korea.
The 8th annual American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) legislative fly-in is coming up next week, April 13-14, and some 70 members of the organization from about 15 states are planning to attend this year.
“It’s really important that we show the human face of ethanol and renewable fuels,” said ACE Executive Vice President Brian Jennings. “We spend a lot of time with our participants to get them to think about the personal side of ethanol and what it has meant to them and we ask them to convey that when they sit in these meetings.”
Jennings says they have meetings set up with over 100 members of Congress or staff during the two days of the event. “We try to seek as many meetings out with so-called opponents of renewable fuels as we can (because) we want our folks to have an opportunity to change hearts and minds, and we know that’s not always easy…we think it’s really important to not just preach to the choir.”
The 2016 election year will definitely play a part in what ethanol supporters will be discussing next week on Capitol Hill. “Not only are we electing a president, but every member of Congress is up for re-election and about one-third of the U.S. Senate,” said Jennings. “The message we want to convey to members of Congress is that it’s in your best interest to continue to support renewable fuels if you have, or give renewable fuels another look if you haven’t been a supporter.”
In addition to meeting with Congressional representatives, fly-in participants will also hear from administration officials and there will be a briefing for Senate staffers by fuel retailers who sell higher blends. “We continue to get attacked on the so-called blend wall…and this is our attempt to have the most effective, persuasive messengers when it comes to the blend wall, retailers who are actually selling E-15 and flex fuels to consumers,” Jennings said.
Fly-in registration information is available at this link on the ACE website. And if you can’t be there in person, stay tuned here for photos and interviews from the event.
Learn all about the ACE Fly-in here: Interview with ACE Executive Vice President Brian Jennings
The Global Renewable Fuels Alliance (GRFA) is commending the leadership of 13 countries that highlighted biofuels as part of their Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) plans at the recent Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris.
GRFA president Bliss Baker sent letters to leaders of the 13 nations thanking them for recognizing the significant contributions that ethanol-supportive policies have made, and continue to make, in reducing CO2 emissions in the transport sector. “If the enormous potential of biofuels as the only commercially viable technology available to significantly offset emissions in the transport sector is to be achieved, strong policies must be put in place to increase global production, innovation and consumption of ethanol,” said Baker.
In the letters, Baker offered the expertise of GRFA members to work with government leaders in the development of policies that “maximize the advantages of biofuel technologies that are demonstrated to be effective, affordable and immediately available.”
The 13 countries are Angola, Argentina, Brazil, China, Fiji, India, Malawi, Malaysia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Philippines, Uruguay, and Zimbabwe.
DuPont Industrial Biosciences has been recognized by the Biorenewable Deployment Consortium (BDC) with the organization’s 2016 Outstanding Achievement Award for the company’s continuous contributions to the deployment of biochemical and advanced cellulosic biofuels.
“The Biorenewable Deployment Consortium is proud to honor DuPont with its 2016 Outstanding Achievement Award,” said BDC President and Co-Founder Masood Akhtar. “DuPont sets a strong example for others around the world who are working to expedite the transition from a petroleum-based to a biobased economy.”
“DuPont Industrial Biosciences is proud to be recognized by the Biorenewable Deployment Consortium for our work in the ever-growing bioeconomy sector. We accept this award on behalf of a global team of innovators who are focused on providing market-driven, biobased solutions to meet the needs of a growing population, while protecting our environment for future generations,” said DuPont Business Director for Cellulosic Ethanol Steve Mirshak, who received the award on DuPont’s behalf.
DuPont established the world’s largest cellulosic ethanol facility in Nevada, Iowa and with its
partner Tate & Lyle, is the leading producer of Bio-PDO®, a petroleum-free propanediol. BDC has worked toward the deployment of bio-processes since 2006 and holds two annual symposiums a year for its members.
The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) was part of a recent trade mission to Peru led by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack which included discussions about increasing cooperation with that country when it comes to ethanol production and exports. The March 13-15 trip went to Lima and the Piura region, where cane-based ethanol is produced, and featured meetings with ministry of energy officials and a biofuels roundtable with ethanol producers and fuel distributors.
RFA General Counsel Ed Hubbard was among nearly 40 industry and government representatives on the trip. In this edition of the Ethanol Report, Hubbard talks about the mission and opportunities with Peru to expand ethanol
Listen to it here: Ethanol Report on Trade Mission to Peru
The 2016 Prospective Plantings report out today from USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) shows farmers expect to plant more corn than expected this year.
U.S. corn growers expect to plant 93.6 million acres to corn this year, the first increase in corn planted acreage since 2012 and, if realized, will be the third largest corn acreage since 1944. Farmers in 41 out of the 48 states expect to either maintain or increase the number of acres they plant to corn. Growers in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, and North Dakota expect to increase their corn acreage by 400,000 or more acres in 2016. Assuming the five-year average 91.3 percent harvest rate and the projected 25-year trend yield of 165.4 bushels per acre is achieved, farmers will harvest 14.13 billion bushels, nearing the production record of 14.2 billion bushels set in 2014, according to the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA).
In addition, the new grain stocks report increases corn stocks in all positions as of March 1 by one percent compared to this time last year. Stocks totaled 7.81 billion bushels and of the that, 4.34 billion bushels were stored on farms, down 1 percent from a year earlier. Off-farm stocks, at 3.47 billion bushels, are up 3 percent from a year ago.
“U.S. farmers produced an abundant crop in 2015. Given the strong carryover entering this growing season, we may see quite a large corn supply at harvest should weather prove favorable in 2016,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling. “While many factors may change the reality on the ground as planting progresses, American corn supplies should remain ample for the year to come. Given the impact this continues to have on prices, the work being done at NCGA to grow demand will prove even more important as we work to find markets for our product and remain profitable into the future.”
Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) president and CEO Bob Dinneen says the planting intentions show that American farmers are continuing to hold up their end of the deal when it comes to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). “They’ve made the investments and planting decisions necessary to provide adequate supplies of grain to meet all demands, including the feedstock needed to produce the 15 billion gallons of ethanol required in 2016 under the RFS statute,” commented Dinneen. “But by slashing the RFS requirements for 2016 below statutory levels, the Administration isn’t honoring its commitment to our nation’s farmers and is contributing to great economic uncertainty in the agriculture sector.”
Dinneen adds that the report underscores the importance of getting the RFS back on track and growing corn demand.
NCGA’s Paul Bertels and Nigerian Corn Growers Association’s Edwin Uche in front of the NCGA office.
The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) staffers welcomed
the director of the Nigerian Corn Growers Association for a series of meetings this week on how farmers in the two nations can work together to increase corn demand.
Edwin Uche, director of the Nigerian Corn Growers Association, reached out for a meeting during the recent Maize Genetics Conference in Florida and expressed his excitement for NCGA’s work and enthusiasm for doing similar for farmers in Nigeria. During his visit to the NCGA office, Uche met with Vice President of Production and Stewardship Paul Bertels, Director of Communications Ken Colombini and Director of Development Joe Hodes.
Through a series of in-depth discussions, Uche explored ways in which he could increase corn demand in Nigeria while fostering acceptance of biotechnology and growing the country’s ethanol industry. A proponent of biotechnology in agriculture, Uche also hopes to move more farmers toward this productive technology and away from an ongoing reliance upon open pollinated varieties currently hampering yield in Nigeria.
Discussions yielded insights for NCGA as well. Uche shared his confusion as to how the idea of food versus fuel took hold in the United States, expressing that he sees how corn clearly provides an excellent way to meet both demands simultaneously. Additionally, his pro-biotechnology and pro-ethanol stances fostered hope for potential market growth in Nigeria which could lead to growth in American corn exports to the region.
According to a new 2016 Fleet Purchasing Outlook study conducted by the According to a new 2016 Fleet Purchasing Outlook study conducted by the NTEA – The Association for the Work Truck Industry – biodiesel is now the most commonly used alternative fuel option on the market.
Each December, NTEA conducts a comprehensive Fleet Purchasing Outlook Survey to better understand the commercial vehicle landscape, including interest levels for advanced truck technologies and alternative fuels. The new survey results for 2016 show 18 percent of fleets use biodiesel now – up from 15 percent in 2015 – with more fleets planning to acquire or continue using biodiesel than any other alternative fuel option.
“The evolution of alternative fuel technologies is still triggering change for vocational truck specifications,” says Doyle Sumrall, Managing Director of NTEA. “However, general interest has dropped in recent years due to persistently low oil costs and will likely remain muted until prices rebound. Despite current challenges facing the alternative fuels movement, fleet interest in biodiesel has remained strong, actually increasing in 2016 as compared to the previous year.”
The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) notes that the City of Moline in Illinois has operated its full fleet of over 102 diesel vehicles and equipment on B20, a 20 percent blend of biodiesel with ultra-low sulfur diesel, since 2006 which has helped the city enhance the performance and minimize the maintenance of its vehicles’ fuel systems at a lower cost than diesel fuel.
J.D. Schulte, Fleet Manager for the City of Moline, stated, “Here in Moline, air quality is paramount to our quality of life. We made the switch to clean, domestically produced plant-based biodiesel ten years ago, not only because it was a good choice for our fleet, but also because it was a good choice for our community. My advice to other fleet managers is, if you are conscious of and serious about air quality and looking for an easy and cost-effective solution to make a positive difference in your community, biodiesel is a natural choice.”
Biodiesel is the first and only commercial-scale fuel to meet the EPA’s definition as an Advanced Biofuel – meaning the EPA has determined that biodiesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50 percent when compared with petroleum diesel. In the Gross Vehicle Weight Class 5-8 vehicles that account for 92 percent of on-road diesel / biodiesel fuel use, nearly 90 percent of the medium- and heavy-duty truck OEMs support the use of B20 biodiesel blends.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers sent a letter to U.S. Trade Ambassador Michael Froman this week urging him to examine opportunities to reduce any tariffs on U.S. produced energy, including ethanol, during the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-Tip) negotiations.
“The U.S. ethanol industry has been unfairly targeted by the EU for increased duties (on ethanol) which have subsequently eliminated U.S. share in the European market,” reads the letter from nine members of Congress. “Currently Europe cannot adequately produce enough ethanol for their own market without importing ethanol from foreign sources, such as the U.S.”
“As T-TIP negotiations progress toward completion,” they continued, “we are confident you can leverage access to all domestic energy sources, such as U.S. natural gas, crude, and ethanol in order to achieve a favorable outcome for these industries and the reduction or elimination of trade obstacles to market access in Europe.”
The European Commission imposed a 9.6 percent duty on U.S. ethanol over three years ago in response to an anti-dumping complaint lodged by European ethanol trade group ePURE. In May 2013, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and Growth Energy filed a complaint with the General Court in Luxembourg which is still being litigated challenging the Commission’s decision.
“The duties imposed were unjustified and blatantly protectionist,” says RFA CEO Bob Dinneen. “Sadly, the real losers in this are European consumers that have to pay more for motor fuel because the lowest-cost liquid fuel in the world — U.S. ethanol — has been targeted by their protectionist policy. Since Europe cannot produce sufficient domestic ethanol supply, and must import the fuel from foreign sources, including the U.S., it is time to see the duties removed.”