Novozymes Increases Ethanol Plant Sustainability

few15-novozymes-jackNovozymes sees a tremendous potential to increase performance at ethanol plants. Jack Rogers, biofuels global marketing manager for Novozymes highlighted several of these projects during the Fuel Ethanol Workshop. He said they have a number of products in the pipeline that target specific areas of the ethanol production process.

One area of focus is in improving ethanol conversion yields. Rogers said that several of their forthcoming projects will address this area and take Novozymes beyond where they are today. He also said they have products being developed that will reduce energy and chemical use. “So there are a lot of ways we see us being able to help add value to the ethanol plant.”

Novozymes is focused on helping the biofuels industry become even more sustainable. Rogers said they are committed to helping the industry reduce inputs and improve the carbon intensity of the industry. He said they feel really good about the contributions they can make to the industry and their efforts to keep improving biofuel production.

Interview with Jack Rogers, Novozymes

2015 Fuel Ethanol Workshop Photo Album

Coverage of the Fuel Ethanol Conference is sponsored by
Coverage of the Fuel Ethanol Conference is sponsored by Novozymes

Biodiesel Producers on Capitol Hill

nbb-dc-15Nearly 120 biodiesel industry leaders from California to Florida are in Washington DC this week calling on lawmakers to push for a strong Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) during the comment period for the recently released proposal from EPA.

“We want to show Congress that the RFS is working and that thousands of jobs are at stake in this pending EPA rule,” said Anne Steckel, National Biodiesel Board vice president of federal affairs. “We want lawmakers to see first-hand how these issues are playing out in their states and districts. The RFS is not some political football. It’s a successful policy that’s driving innovation, creating jobs and building competition in the fuels markets.”

The EPA recently released its draft RFS proposal that provides modest growth for biodiesel over several years. The proposal would increase the Biomass-based Diesel sector of the RFS by about 100 million gallons per year to 1.9 billion gallons in 2017.

“The proposal is a step in the right direction, and we appreciate the Administration’s efforts to strengthen and grow the RFS,” Steckel said. “However, there is plenty of room for improvement before it is finalized in November. We intend to make sure policy makers in Washington understand biodiesel’s full potential to help grow the economy and strengthen our energy security while sharply reducing pollution.”

Nebraska Governor Visits Novozymes

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts wrapped up his first agricultural trade mission this week with a visit to Novozymes world headquarters in Denmark, where a company tour showcased the production of unique enzymes and microbial products used in the animal nutrition, agriculture, and biofuels industries.

Novozymes CEO Peder Holk Nielsen welcomes Nebraska Gov. Ricketts

Novozymes CEO Peder Holk Nielsen welcomes Nebraska Gov. Ricketts

While at Novozymes, Gov. Ricketts and the United States Ambassador to Denmark hosted a roundtable on renewable fuels and bio-products where Nebraska delegates “showcased the dynamic interaction between the corn, cattle, and ethanol sectors and their important roles in Nebraska’s success in agriculture.”

Industry representatives presented U.S. market trends and regulations to the group, with a focus on co-products, revenue opportunities, and biorefinery developments. In addition to the governor, Nebraska roundtable participants included Department of Economic Development Director Brenda Hicks-Sorensen, KAAPA President and Nebraska Ethanol Board representative Paul Kenny, Green Plains Energy COO Jeff Briggs and Bret Wyant with American Laboratories. European company executives included representatives from Novozymes, Dong Energy, Leifmark, Renew Energy, DuPont, and the U.S. Embassy.

The Governor and mission members also met with Novozymes CEO Peder Holk Nielsen and Executive Vice Presidents of Business Development and Supply Operations Thomas Videbaek and Thomas Nagy to discuss business development and international expansion. Ricketts says the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was a concern as they discussed expansion plans in the United States. “With the EPA changing the rule, pulling the rug out from under our ethanol producers, by changing the RFS they’ve created uncertainty,” said Ricketts. “That uncertainty is impacting Novozymes as it’s impacting the rest of the industry.”

Novozymes opened its newest advanced manufacturing plant in Blair, Nebraska to make enzymes for biofuels production in 2012 in part because of strong policies like the RFS.

Listen to the governor’s summary of the trade trip here:Neb. Gov Pete Ricketts on trade trip wrap up

USDA Taking Apps for Biofuels Infrastructure Funding

USDA logoUSDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) is now accepting applications in 50 states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. for up to $100 million in grants under the Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership (BIP). The funding is to support the infrastructure needed to make more renewable fuel options available to American consumers. The Farm Service Agency will administer BIP.

Through BIP, USDA will award competitive grants, matched by states, to expand the infrastructure for distribution of higher blends of renewable fuel. These competitive grants are available to assist states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. with infrastructure funding. States that offer funding equal to or greater than that provided by the federal government will receive higher consideration for grant funds. States may work with private entities to enhance their offer.

CCC funds must be used to pay a portion of the costs related to the installation of fuel pumps and related infrastructure dedicated to the distribution of higher ethanol blends, for example E15 and E85, at vehicle fueling locations. The matching contributions may be used for these items or for related costs such as additional infrastructure to support pumps, marketing, education, data collection, program evaluation and administrative costs.

This new investment seeks to double the number of fuel pumps capable of supplying higher blends of renewable fuel to consumers. This will expand markets for farmers, support rural economic growth and the jobs that come with it, and ultimately give consumers more choices at the pump.

Nebraska Governor Talks Biofuels in Europe

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts and ag delegation meet with officials in Brussels

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts and ag delegation meet with officials in Brussels

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts is on an agricultural trade mission trip to the European Union with stops in Italy, Belgium, and Denmark. The trade mission, being coordinated jointly by the Nebraska Departments of Agriculture and Economic Development, includes a number of representatives from the state’s agriculture and biofuels industry.

“As the number two ethanol producer in the country, we have a big interest in seeing what we can do with ethanol and one of the concerns in the industry is being able to export,” said Ricketts during a conference call with reporters on Friday from Brussels. “We’re just starting the conversion with regard to how we can expand that and export our ethanol into the European Union.”

In Brussels, the trade team met with executives from Ghent Port Company, TOTCO, Sygenta Brussels, and a consultant for Belgian Biodiesel Board to promote Nebraska’s biofuels industry and build relations between firms in Europe and the U.S.

Neb. Gov Pete Ricketts discusses biofuels in Europe

What Food Safety Act Means for Ethanol Plants

few15-fsma-kellyThe Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law in 2011 and this summer the rulemaking for the new act might finally be complete. Because it includes safety of animal food as well as human food, ethanol plants that produce the co-product distillers grains for livestock feed are impacted.

Renewable Fuels Association Director of Regulatory Affairs Kelly Davis talked about what plants will need to do when FSMA becomes final during the 2015 Fuel Ethanol Workshop. “One of the first things in the rule is Current Good Manufacturing Practices,” said Davis, who says that most plants are already ahead of the game in that area. “We have really nice manufacturing facilities, good housekeeping, good quality assurance … a lot of us were gifted what we would call a good manufacturing practice plant.”

The main impact that FSMA will have on ethanol plants is another layer of bureaucracy. “It’s going to be a written plan with constant updating, supervision of the plan, verification of the plan,” said Davis. “It’s going to be similar to other programs like air quality and process safety management – you’re going to write down what you’re going to do, you’re going to do what you wrote down, and you’re going to verify you did it.”

Davis says there were some changes already made in the rule as it has been developed and assuming it is finalized in its current form she thinks ethanol plants will be able to comply within the two year time frame given by the law. “This is an important program and we’re going to provide some guidance to help people comply,” said Davis.

Find out more about FSMA and ethanol plants in this interview. Interview with Kelly Davis, RFA

2015 Fuel Ethanol Workshop Photo Album

Coverage of the Fuel Ethanol Conference is sponsored by
Coverage of the Fuel Ethanol Conference is sponsored by Novozymes

Ethanol Groups Note EPA Memo on RINS

fuels-americaThe ethanol industry is drawing attention to an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) memo “buried deep” in the recent proposal for volume requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) about the impact of Renewable Identification Numbers (RINS) and gas prices.

“The memo that came out in the rule package that was made public in the docket by EPA confirm(s) something we’d all confirmed before – that RIN prices didn’t and don’t have an impact on retail gas prices,” said Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis during a Fuels America press call on Thursday with the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).

RFA Senior Vice President Geoff Cooper explained that EPA openly acknowledges that fact and others in the memo that the ethanol industry has been claiming for some time. “They spend a lot of time in this memo talking about how RIN prices can transform the gasoline market place,” said Cooper, since a higher RIN price results in a “significant decrease in the price for E85.”

Growth Energy Chief Economist Jim Miller adds that the memo shows the RFS is working as intended and the volume obligations under the law should reflect that. “We hope EPA will consider the memo they drafted and revise their proposed rule to reflect the positive elements that the RFS provides to everyone in America,” said Miller.

“By failing to implement the statute, EPA is systematically destructing the RIN credit market and discouraging investment in new technology and infrastructure that would break the blend wall,” concluded RFA president and CEO Bob Dinneen. “We strongly believe that EPA needs to scrap this proposal and get the RFS back on track.”

Fuels America press conference

USDA Lowers Corn for Ethanol Forecast

usda-logoIn the June World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimate, USDA raised corn beginning stocks for 2015/16 with a 25 million bushel reduction in 2014/15 forecast corn use in ethanol production. The revision, the result of a reduction of the forecast corn use in ethanol reduction for 2014/2015, is based on data reported in the Grain Crushings and Co-Products Production report through April.

Forecasts continue to show farmers planting 89.2 million acres and harvesting 81.7 million acres, with an average yield of 166.8 bushels per acre and production of 13.6 billion bushels, down from 2014 corn production of 14.2 billion bushels.

Despite total supply and ending stocks revisions, USDA continues to estimate the average farm price for the current market year at $3.55 to $3.75 per bushel, and a broader range of $3.20 to $3.80 for the next market year, which begins Sept. 1.

Novozymes Tech Service Adds Profitability

One of the themes that Novozymes wanted to drive home to ethanol producers at the Fuel Ethanol Workshop last week was that they deliver more than enzymes when they partner with plants.

few15-novo-billy-kevinA big part of the Novozymes philosophy in helping ethanol plants is technical service. “We have a team of over 40 scientists deployed across the U.S. supporting the biofuels industry,” said Kevin Cox, Novozymes director of technical service for biofuels. “It’s a unique part of our company in that we provide a different value proposition through technical service.”

Novozymes technical service offerings include customer training, process optimization, data analysis, and laboratory support. “Our overarching goal is to be a trusted adviser and a partner to our customers and help them succeed in their business,” Cox said. Interview with Kevin Cox, Novozymes

Billy Whitlock, plant support tech services manager for Novozymes, says they work with plants on trials to make sure new products are right for them. “We’re there working with them whether it’s products that improve yield, to products that try to streamline the production process to increase output,” said Whitlock. “Our arm of the tech services division is really tasked with bringing the knowledge and the information from our headquarters to our customers.”

Interview with Billy Whitlock, Novozymes

2015 Fuel Ethanol Workshop Photo Album

Coverage of the Fuel Ethanol Conference is sponsored by
Coverage of the Fuel Ethanol Conference is sponsored by Novozymes

America’s Renewable Future Announces Partners

ARF-LogoAmerica’s Renewable Future (ARF) today announced its diverse coalition of partners that includes state and national ethanol and biofuels associations and companies committed to educating presidential candidates in both parties about the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

The partners include organizations such as the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA), Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA), Iowa Biodiesel Board, Iowa Ethanol Producers Association, Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Biotechnology Association, Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealer Association, Growth Energy, Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and companies such as POET, DuPont, Stine Seed Company, Archer Daniels Midland, and Novozymes.

“We’re involved because over a third of our corn crop goes directly into the ethanol industry,” said ICGA CEO Craig Floss, during a conference call today with representatives of several partners. The corn growers were one of the coalition’s founding partners, along with Iowa RFA. “We are very excited to see support (for ARF) grow and I think we’ll see more in the future,” said IRFA executive director Monte Shaw. “It really shows this is not just about farmers, or ethanol and biodiesel plants, it’s something that really affects every one of us.”

During the call, representatives of ARF discussed reaction to the EPA’s new proposed volume obligations under the RFS. Others on the call included former Iowa Lt. Gov. and ARF Co-Chair Patty Judge, Lincolnway Energy Director and ARF Co-Chair Bill Couser, and Iowa farmer Mark Recker. America's Renewable Future partners press conference