House Hearing Attacks #RFS

The House Oversight Subcommittees on Interior and Healthcare, Benefits and Administrative Rules held a joint hearing Wednesday to ostensibly examine the Renewable Fuel Standard but was basically an attack on the law.

hearing-grundlerEPA Office of Transportation and Air Quality Director Chris Grundler provided testimony at the hearing and attempted to explain the purpose and intent of the RFS, including what the agency can and cannot do under the law, to obviously unfriendly lawmakers who used the forum to bring up every argument against renewable fuels, from food versus fuel to the blend wall. Grundler repeatedly noted that the job of the EPA was to implement the law as Congress intended. “Introducing new fuels into the marketplace, especially cellulosic biofuels, is not an easy task,” said Grundler. “But that is the challenge Congress took on with the RFS program and we are committed to implementing the program … as Congress intended.”

hearing-tynerPurdue economics professor Dr. Wally Tyner was the lone voice on the panel supporting the benefits of the RFS, calling it one of the “appropriate and effective ways to move our economy towards lower GHG emissions.”

No one from the U.S. biofuels industry was invited to testify, which was distressing to the ethanol industry. “Unfortunately, the committee has stacked the witness list with oil company apologists intent upon undermining public support for this important program,” said Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) president and CEO Bob Dinneen. “Why is the committee afraid to hear all sides of the debate?”

“Holding a hearing on the RFS without any biofuels stakeholders is unacceptable and defeats the very purpose of what this congressional committee is tasked to accomplish,” added Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis. “The lack of diversity of opinions on this panel exemplifies political theater designed to drive a false narrative and discredit the success of the RFS. Furthermore, one of the most vocal RFS critics on the witness list was a professor who has been funded by the American Petroleum Institute (API).” He was referring to John DeCicco, a research professor with the University of Michigan Energy Institute, who conducted an unfavorable study on the RFS last year funded by the American Petroleum Institute.

The subcommittees also heard anti-RFS testimony from ActionAid USA and The Heritage Foundation.

#Classic16 Panel on #Ethanol Future

(L-R): Jack Bernens, Syngenta; Delayne Johnson, Quad County Corn Processors; and Kelly Manning, Growth Energy

(L-R): Jack Bernens, Syngenta; Delayne Johnson, Quad County Corn Processors; and Kelly Manning, Growth Energy

The future of fuel was the topic of an educational session hosted by Syngenta at the recent Commodity Classic in New Orleans. The event brought together leaders representing industry, ethanol producer and agricultural perspectives to discuss opportunities to grow demand for American ethanol in the wake of the EPA’s 2015 ruling on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

Growth Energy vice president for development Kelly Manning told attendees that the EPA ruling makes retail partnerships, like the industry’s Prime the Pump fund, more important than ever to grow ethanol demand. “Prime the Pump is helping high-volume, progressive-minded and industry-leading fuel retailers, who will demonstrate the performance, cost savings and profit opportunity of marketing higher ethanol blends such as E15,” said Manning.

In addition to retail partnerships, new technologies are also critical to the future of fuel. Specifically, advances in cellulosic technology are helping to make biofuels more sustainable and produce more ethanol from the same bushel of corn.

Galva, Iowa-based Quad County Corn Processors (QCCP) achieved EPA certification in 2014 to generate D3 Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) for cellulosic ethanol using Cellerate™ process technology. Cellerate is a collaboration between Syngenta and Cellulosic Ethanol Technologies, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of QCCP.

According to Delayne Johnson, chief executive officer at QCCP, the generation of D3 RINs helps fulfill advanced and cellulosic requirements set forth by the RFS. Issuing D3 RINs has also enabled the company to expand sales into racing and advanced biofuels markets. “With Cellerate, the biofuels industry now has the technology available to create 2 billion gallons of additional cellulosic ethanol – all from the same kernel of corn,” Johnson said. “QCCP is proud to be one of the first companies to issue D3 RINs. We look forward to higher D3 RIN requirements as new production comes on.”

Jack Bernens, head of Enogen at Syngenta, noted that the company is helping in both the retail partnership and technology arenas. Last year, Syngenta announced that it will donate approximately $600,000 to the Prime the Pump Fund as part of a commitment initiated in 2013 to contribute $1 to the ethanol industry for every acre planted with Enogen corn enzyme technology.

“Ethanol is helping America reduce its dependence on foreign oil, lowering prices at the pump, improving the environment with lower emissions and growing the economy with jobs that can’t be outsourced,” said Bernens. “Syngenta recognizes the importance of retail partnerships to help grow demand for American ethanol and initiatives to help make cellulosic ethanol a reality. We believe both are key to the long-term success of the ethanol industry.

Trump and Cruz Rumble Over #Ethanol in Miami

debate-trump-cruzThe topic of ethanol came up in last week’s GOP debate in Miami, although it is unlikely to play a big role in the Florida primary this week.

During the debate, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) boasted that he campaigned against ethanol in Iowa because he wants to cut the size of government programs. “When I went to Iowa and campaigned against ethanol mandates, everyone said that was political suicide,” said Cruz. “If we’re going to stop bankrupting our kids and grandkids you’ve got to be willing to take on the lobbyists…specifying these are the programs I will eliminate.”

Donald Trump responded that Cruz did a flip flop on ethanol in Iowa. “Ted did change his view and his stance on ethanol quite a bit at the end,” said Trump. “He did change his view in the hopes of doing well.”

Listen to the exchange here: Cruz and Trump debate ethanol in Miami

Cruz outlined his stand regarding ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard in a January 6 Des Moines Register editorial. He does advocate a “phase out the Renewable Fuel Standard” but at the same time Cruz says he will “vigorously enforce our antitrust laws to ensure that the oil-and-gas industry cannot block access to the market for ethanol producers.”

#FlexMyChoice Fighting for FFV Future

flexmychoiceThe Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) launched a new campaign at the 2016 National Ethanol Conference (NEC) designed to help the industry voice support for flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs).

The “Flex My Choice” effort is aimed directly at automakers, auto dealerships, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) due to the fact that automakers have begun to limit FFV models as the government phases out CAFE credits for producing FFVs.

ethanol-report-adIn this edition of the Ethanol Report, we hear from RFA CEO Bob Dinneen, Vice President of Industry Relations Robert White, and RFA Chairman Randall Doyal with Al-Corn Clean Fuel in Minnesota about #FlexMyChoice and why it is important to make a difference.

Listen to it here: Ethanol Report on Flex My Choice campaign

#FlexMyChoice Massages at #Classic16

classic16-rfaVisitors to the 2016 Commodity Classic had the opportunity to voice their support for Flex Fuel Vehicles (FFVs) and relax their aching muscles at the same time at the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) booth.

It was the first opportunity for RFA to get their recently launched “Flex My Choice” campaign in front of the agriculture industry and Vice President of Industry Relations Robert White says many of the people they spoke to at Classic had no idea that auto makers were cutting their production of FFVs. “It doesn’t matter what part of agriculture you’re coming from, the phasing out or elimination of flex fuel vehicles will be devastating to the advancement and growth of our industry,” said White.

Beginning this year, the fuel economy credits given to auto makers for building flex fuel vehicles were phased out. “Ironically, now we have incentives for natural gas vehicles, so we’re encouraging fossil fuel usage over an alternative like E85,” White said.

Classic attendees who visited the RFA booth were able to fill out post cards to be sent to the main three automobile manufacturers, as well as EPA. While doing that, they were also able to get a nice chair massage, which was welcome relief for many who spent the day walking through the huge trade show catering to corn, soybean, wheat and sorghum farmers.

Listen to Robert explain more about Flex My Choice in this interview: Interview with Robert White, RFA, at Commodity Classic

2016 Commodity Classic Photo Album

Minnesota Biofuels Promotes E15 to Drivers

mn-bio-e15The Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association (MBA) spent an hour Tuesday at a retail station in St. Paul rewarding drivers who fueled up with E15.

The association joined with a local radio station at St Paul’s Tobasi Stop Minnoco to educate drivers and present those who switched to E15 with prizes such as $25 in cash, passes to the Minnesota Zoo and Wild Mountain. The retail station is one of the newest in the Twin Cities to offer E15. There are currently 17 stations in the metro that offer E15.

MBA executive director Tim Rudnicki says the event is the third time MBA has partnered with KS95 FM to educate and increase awareness of the benefits of using E15. “This is the third consecutive month where we have gone to a station with KS95 to directly engage with drivers and educate them on the benefits of using E15. Drivers are interested in using a fuel that has a high octane, is cheaper than regular unleaded gas, better for the environment and beneficial to Minnesota’s economy,” said Rudnicki.

In 2015, a record 3.09 million gallons of E15 was sold in Minnesota, nearly 12 times the amount sold in 2014. The volume recorded in December last was 527,574 gallons, a new monthly record and represented the second straight month in 2015 when E15 monthly sales breached 500,000 gallons.

Auto Industry Veteran Joins RFA

A veteran auto industry specialist has joined the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) as the organization’s new Technical Director.

rfa-kingTracey King, who spent 17 years as a technical specialist with Chrysler, will serve as the RFA’s top liaison to the automakers and will focus on forging the path to future high octane fuels and optimized spark ignition engines.

Previously, King worked in research and development at both Nissan and General Motors and most recently she was with Haltermann Solutions, a manufacturer of test and reference fuels. She also has extensive experience with ASTM and other standards developing organizations.

“Tracey brings an unrivaled wealth of knowledge and experience to the RFA,” said Bob Dinneen, RFA President and CEO. “Tracey’s background in the automotive industry and experience in developing certification fuels position her well to help chart the course toward an ethanol-based high octane fuel that will improve engine efficiency and reduce emissions.”

King will be based in Detroit and will be part of RFA’s research and technical team. “I am excited to join the RFA staff and look forward to working closely with the membership, automakers, regulators, and other stakeholders to help define the future for ethanol and optimized engines,” King said. “RFA has always been viewed as an effective science-based advocate for ethanol, and I am eager to contribute to the advancement of the organization’s technical objectives.”

Growth Energy Holds 7th Leadership Conference

growth-throttleEthanol industry organization Growth Energy is holding its seventh annual Executive Leadership Conference in Orlando this week.

After a weekend at the Daytona 500 to highlight American Ethanol, the meeting kicked off Monday morning with the Chairman’s Report from Jeff Broin, co-chair of Growth Energy’s Board of Directors. Broin noted that the industry had a record year producing a product that represents a growing share of the gasoline market.

growth-broin1“This is a long-term game, and we will not give up,” said Broin. “Our industry is poised to succeed, because we are doing the right thing for our nation and generations to come. We will continue to go full throttle to produce a biofuel that reduces toxic air emissions while improving performance for future vehicles.”

The growth of E15 in the marketplace was a big focus of the meeting on Monday, after revving up with the NASCAR Daytona weekend. “We’ve seen tremendous increases in consumer acceptance among NASCAR fans … Once they see that it’s a higher performance fuel, a higher octane fuel, people use it,” said Broin during an interview at the meeting. “NASCAR’s been very successful at showing ethanol is a great fuel.”

The American Ethanol partnership between NASCAR, Growth Energy, New Holland, and the National Corn Growers Association is now in its sixth year and will hit the 10 million mile mark this year running on running on 15% ethanol blended Sunoco Green E15.

Listen to Broin’s interview here: Interview with Jeff Broin, Growth Energy co-chair

#Ethanol Export Trends from #RFANEC

nec16-hubbardExpansion of ethanol exports is critical to allow U.S. industry to grow in face of domestic infrastructure challenges, which is why exports were such a big focus at the 21st National Ethanol Conference last week.

“We are firmly committed to help grow and expand export markets for our members and for the industry,” said Renewable Fuels Association General Counsel Ed Hubbard, who moderated two panels at the NEC discussing export trends and opportunities. RFA was selected to partner with the Department of Commerce’s International Buyer Program at the conference which focused on five main target markets – Brazil, China, Philippines, India, Mexico. “The markets were part of the top markets report prepared by the Department of Commerce, which was the result of careful analysis on export markets to look at where the opportunities for our industry lie,” Hubbard added.

nec16-exports-panelThe first panel on exports featured Ricardo Dornelles with the Ministry of Mines and Energy of Brazil; Stephan Zepeda of Grupo Báltico in Mexico; and Amit Sachdev, Consultant in South Asia, U.S. Grains Council.

Links to presentations from each are found below:
Ricardo Dornelles presentation
Stephen Zepeda presentation
Amit Sachdev presentation

Listen to the panel here: Ethanol Exports Panel 1

The second panel on exports featured Max Thomasson, CHS Inc. Director for Global Trading; U.S. Grains Council Chief Economist Mike Dwyer; Eco-Energy International Director Alexandre Zebulun Ades; and Scott Richman, Senior Vice President at Informa Economics.

Listen to that panel here and presentations via links below: Listen to the panel here: Ethanol Exports Panel 2

Scott Richman presentation
Alexandre Ades presentation

2016 National Ethanol Conference Photo Album

Ethanol Co-product Exports Set Record in 2015

ddgsExports of the ethanol co-product and livestock feed distillers grains set a new record of 12.56 million metric tons last year, according to a new summary of ethanol co-product trade statistics released by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA). U.S. exports of distillers grains were 11 percent higher than 2014, and more than double the amount exported in 2009.

“This report shows the global reach of American-made distillers grains,” said RFA president and CEO Bob Dinneen. “In 2015, an estimated 34 percent of U.S. distillers grains production was exported, meaning one out of every three tons produced was shipped to foreign markets. These data make it crystal clear that the U.S. ethanol industry is both fueling and feeding the world. It is also worth noting that DG exports were worth almost $3 billion in 2015, providing a critical source of revenue to ethanol producers.”

The report finds that U.S. DG exports were shipped to 45 countries on five continents in 2015. RFA’s summary shows exports of distillers grains were shipped to 45 countries on five continents in 2015 with China, Mexico, Vietnam, South Korea, and Canada representing the top five markets. Half of the exports went to China, Mexico received 13 percent, and both Vietnam and South Korea received five percent.