On-Farm Biodiesel

Biodiesel ExtruderFarmers on the panhandle of Florida can now make their own biodiesel on the farm with the help of the Three Rivers Resource Conservation and Development Council (RC&D) in Milton through USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The council recently invested in a portable biodiesel extruder that can be taken out to local farms to make biodiesel from plants and used cooking oil, according to Coordinator John Harper.

John Harper“We relied on the knowledge of one of our county commissioners who is an expert in biodiesel processes. We work with our farmers and show them how to get into biodiesel production for themselves,” Harper said. The washing machine-sized processor can produce 100 gallons of biodiesel in ten hours and can easily transported to a farm.

The extruder has been out for demonstrations around the panhandle area in recent months, including a bioenergy workshop held September 19 at the first annual Northwest Florida Bioenergy Conference and Expo.

Randall Weiseman of Southeast Agnet interviewed John Harper at that event. Listen to that interview here:

Seed Summit Held to Meet Needs of Industries

A summit was held last week in Chicago to address the role of seed technology in meeting the growing demand for food, feed, fiber and fuel.

American SeedThe goal of the American Seed Research Summit was to bring together research leaders from industry, academia and government to identify major seed research challenges and to develop a national strategy and action plan to solve those challenges.

Sponsored by the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA), the American Seed Research Foundation and the National Council of Commercial Plant Breeders, over 40 representatives were in attendance at the two-day summit. Keynote speakers included representatives of USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, the University of Wisconsin, Pioneer Hi-bred International and Monsanto.

POET to Open Two More Ethanol Plants

The largest ethanol producer in the world just keeps getting bigger.

POETPOET is scheduled to open two more ethanol plants in the next four weeks – both in Ohio. That will bring the total number of POET plants to 26 as of October 24, with a total capacity of 1.54 billion gallons per year.

The grand opening for POET Biorefining – Fostoria will be held September 30 featuring Buckeye Renewable Fuels Association Executive Director Mike Wagner, Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Robert Boggs, Ohio Congressman Bob Latta, and Team Ethanol Indy car driver Ryan Hunter-Reay.

POET Biorefining – Marion will open on October 24 with special guests U.S. Senators George Voinovich (R-OH) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH). This will be POET’s third plant in Ohio.

Bill Would Promote Biofuels Cooperation With Brazil

While most of Congress was working on a bailout for the financial crisis last week, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed a bill that would strengthen energy cooperation between the United States and Brazil to promote the production and use of sustainable biofuels throughout Latin America.

Richard LugarThe legislation, authored by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Dick Lugar, would promote accelerated development of sustainable biofuels and other renewable energy production, help establish voluntary carbon trading markets, leverage private investment in new energy, promote research, and further integrate the Hemisphere’s energy infrastructure.

“The United States and Brazil are the region’s biofuels leaders, but more countries in the region can and should get into the business of producing domestic biofuels to increase employment, boost rural incomes, improve trade balances, as well as gain protection from the whims of the international oil market whose gyrations have wiped out many nations’ recent gains in poverty reduction,” Lugar said.

Sections of the bill would expand and codify a Memorandum of Understanding signed in March of 2007 by Presidents George W. Bush of the United States and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil.

Canada Growing Beyond Oil

“Growing Beyond Oil” is the theme of this year’s Canadian Renewable Fuels Summit scheduled for December 1-3 in Quebec.

Canadian Renewable Fuels SummitSessions at the summit will include Sustainability, Low Carbon Fuel Standards, Environment and Economy, Advanced Biofuel Technologies.

The two major ethanol and biodiesel organizations from the United States will be featured at the summit in Canada on the first day. Renewable Fuels Association president Bob Dinneen and National Biodiesel Board CEO Joe Jobe will be the presenters on a US Biofuels Industry panel. Dr. Robert Zubrin, author of Energy Victory: Winning the War on Terror by Breaking Free of Oil, will be the keynote luncheon speaker.

Ethanol Produces Tons of Livestock Feed

America’s ethanol plants produced enough livestock feed last year to provide for all the cattle in the nation’s four largest feedlot states.

That is one of the findings in a new report from the Renewable Fuels Association on the role of the U.S. ethanol industry in food and feed production. According to their analysis, America’s ethanol producers delivered 23 million metric tons of livestock and poultry feed to the world last year, or nearly three times the amount of wheat, sorghum, barley and oats fed to U.S. livestock in the 2007/08 marketing year. That is roughly equivalent to the combined total amount of feed consumed by cattle on feed last year in Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, and Colorado – the nation’s four largest feedlot states.

Only two-thirds of every bushel of grain processed by an ethanol plant is actually used for fuel production. The remaining one-third of the bushel is enhanced and returned to the animal feed market, most often in the form of distillers grains, corn gluten feed and corn gluten meal.

“The livestock feed co-products of ethanol production are the best kept secret of this industry,” said RFA President Bob Dinneen. “The focus of the public has been on the industry’s production of fuel ethanol as a renewable alternative to imported oil. But the production of a high quality livestock feed is equally important. Our industry is truly in the business of producing both feed and fuel.”

The report backs up RFA’s new television spots that highlight ethanol production in Hereford, Texas – the beef capital of the world.

Read the report here.

Ethanol-Producing Sugar Beet Wins Award

SyngentaSyngenta has received the 2008 World Business and Development Award (WBDA) for the development and successful introduction of a new sugar beet that can be grown under tropical climate conditions and brings significant advantages to farmers, the environment, the sugar and ethanol industries and the economy.

SyngentaThe WBDA, presented by the United Nations Development Program, the International Chamber of Commerce and the International Business Leaders Forum, acknowledge the contribution of the private sector to help achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals. The award recognized Syngenta’s tropical sugar beet as “an example of technological innovation that helps increase sustainable agricultural productivity to meet the world’s growing demand for food, feed and fuel.”

It took Syngenta 11 years to develop the tropical sugar beet. In 2007, the beet was successfully introduced in India, where it is shown here being offloaded in a Syngenta press photo. In the State of Maharashtra, Syngenta helped a cooperative of more than 12,000 small farmers to build and operate plant that produces ethanol from Syngenta tropical beets. In Colombia, construction has started on two beet-to-ethanol plants, which are expected to start operations in 2009.

Iogen Ships Cellulosic Ethanol to Shell

ShellIogen Energy has shipped its first 100,000 litres of cellulosic ethanol to Royal Dutch Shell. Iogen announced the 26,417 gallons shipment on Thursday, part of 180,000 litre – or 47,550 gallons – order from Shell.

IogenThe fuel, produced from wheat straw at Iogen’s Ottawa demonstration facility, is being purchased by Shell for use in upcoming fuel applications. Iogen officials say the current purchase is the first of many opportunities for the companies to jointly showcase the technical and commercial viability of cellulosic ethanol.

In July, Shell announced a significant investment in technology development with Iogen Energy Corporation, a jointly owned development company of Shell and Iogen’s that is dedicated to advancing cellulosic ethanol.

Food and Fuel Campaign Launch

The American Ag and Energy Council (AAEC) has launched a national radio campaign featuring a “Food and Fuel Update.”

The ads will be running on nationally syndicated shows including Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, in addition to local radio stations throughout the United States.

The “Food and Fuel Update” features Mark Pearson, a nationally respected agriculture and economic expert and host of Public Television’s “Market to Market.”

In the first 30 second radio spot, Pearson says, “We’re sending $500 billion a year to hostile nations like Iran. But America doesn’t need to be dependent on foreign energy. We have a clean, renewable energy source right here — ethanol.”

The American Ag & Energy Council was formed last month as a coalition of agriculture, renewable energy, academia and others for the promotion of modern agriculture and renewable energy. Members include Big River Resources, Hawkeye Energy Holdings and Golden Grain Energy, with co-chairpersons from Iowa State University and the University of Illinois.

Ethanol at the United Nations

A United Nations forum on Millennium Development Goals this week featured a discussion on energy and biofuels that allowed the CEO of world’s largest ethanol producing company a chance to share ideas on how ethanol can help address both poverty and energy dependence in developing nations.

As one of two presenters at the private sector forum roundtable on energy and biofuels at the UN on Wednesday, Jeff Broin of POET shared his vision of what he believes is one of the greatest opportunities our world has seen in decades.

“With a billion acres of idled cropland across the globe and the price of agricultural commodities above the cost of production for the first time in decades there is an unbelievable opportunity for underdeveloped countries to simultaneously lift people out of poverty and solve their crippling addiction to energy imports,” Broin said.

He stressed that with new technology and better seed varieties, agriculture is able to meet the growing demand for food and fuel without harming the environment. “By combining science with nature, the 21st century ethanol industry continues to make great strides in efficiency and innovation,” Broin added.

Read Broin’s entire address to the UN forum on Rhapsody in Green.